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Knitting with (Different) Yarns Held Together

February 11, 2019LBHandknits

Last year I wrote a post about knitting with yarn held double, explaining how to calculate the weight of such ‘doubled up’ yarn. This proved to be a popular topic of discussion, and in the aftermath a couple of you have asked the logical follow-up question:

What about knitting with two different yarns held together? If the yarns differ in meterage, how do you then calculate their combined meterage?

Admittedly, I was rather dreading trying to address this one. At first, because while I could usually intuit the answer when trying to make this determination in my own knitting, I did not know how to approach it mathematically. Then, even after I did figure it out (okay - so I actually had to ask my mother, who is a trained mathematician!), I was unsure about my ability to communicate the explanation. But you know what? Deep breath, and I am going to give this a go. Just beware, that you might want to have a pencil and paper ready. And a calculator!

{Edited to add: The fabulous Kathryn aka BackStageKatKnits has now created the Yarn Weight Calculator. So keep reading if you’d like to know how it’s done, but you no longer have to do the work!)

So first, let’s start with a review on calculating meterage for yarn held double. Do you remember how to do it? You simply divide the meterage of the yarn by 2.

So:
You are knitting with a 400m/100g yarn held double. This creates a yarn with a meterage of 200m/100g.
You are knitting with a 300m/100g yarn held double. This creates a yarn with a meterage of 150m/100g.

Now, knitting with two different yarns held together is a little more involved.

Let’s say you are holding the following two yarns together:
Yarn A, with a meterage of 400m/100g
Yarn B, with a meterage of 200m/100g

What is the meterage of the combined yarn? To get the answer, follow these steps:

Step 1. calculate the weight per meter of each yarn
Yarn A: 100g divided by 400m = .25g per meter.
Yarn B: 100g divided by 200m = .5g per meter.

Step 2: add these weights together
.25g per meter for Yarn A + .5g per meter for Yarn B = .75g per meter for the two held together

Step 3: Solve the following equation -
If 1 meter = .75g, then how many meters are in 100g?
.75X = 100
X = 100/ .75
X = 133.33

And there is your answer: If you hold a yarn that is 200m/100g together with a yarn that is 400m/100g, the combined yarn will have a meterage of 133m/100g. It will be somewhere between Aran-weight and Chunky.

Want to try it again? Let’s hold together some sportweight with some laceweight mohair! And so -

Yarn A, with a meterage of 350m/100g
Yarn B, with a meterage of 800m/100g

Step 1. calculate the weight per meter of each yarn
Yarn A: 100g divided by 350m = .286g per meter.
Yarn B: 100g divided by 800m = .125g per meter.

Step 2: add these weights together
.286g per meter for Yarn A + .125g per meter for Yarn B = .411g per meter for the two held together

Step 3: Solve the following equation -
If 1 meter = .41g, then how many meters are in 100g?
.41X = 100
X = 100/ .41
X = 243.31

And there is your answer: The combined yarn will have a meterage of 243m/100g, which is in the DK/ light-DK territory.

Now… You are either mathematically-minded, in which case you have just experienced a major ‘A-ha!’ moment and can now calculate the meterage of any yarns held together, with reckless abandon.

Or, you are not mathematically minded and are reaching for the migraine meds. If the latter is the case, do not despair! You can simply plug in your own numbers, follow the 3 Steps, and you will get the answer.

This may not be as easy as calculating the meterage of yarn held double, but I hope it proves useful to a few of you. Moreover, I hope that someone with the relevant skills might read this and feel inspired to create an online calculator tool which makes this post unnecessary! If you manage it, please drop me a line and I’ll be happy to link it up.