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The Magic of Yarn Combining

A new perspective on our old favourites.

Our new collection Better Together was the result of a process, rather than a flash of inspiration. The idea of working with more than one yarn in a sweater or accessory is one of the most traditional knitting techniques—there is evidence of stranded colourwork on the oldest pieces of knitting yet discovered (11th century socks from Egypt if you are curious!), and knitters have found an enormous number of ways to work with different colours of yarn in a single project over the years.

And while there is nothing new under the sun after centuries of knitting, every combination of new colours or types of yarn reveal something unique to a knitter and is a source of inspiration.

In the last two years, we have been exploring the yarns in our collection, and thinking about how to use them in new and interesting ways.

Each yarn created by The Fibre Co. is a labour of love, and every yarn is appreciated in its own right, but we wondered how each yarn would work with the others… and there was only one way to find out!

We began by making swatch after swatch, each one adding to our understanding of how the yarns work together. We wanted to share some of these experiments with you and hope that you will be inspired to try new combinations as well.

Meadow and Luma

Meadow in shade Bedstraw and Luma in shade Ancient Stone.

We began with explorations of texture and the weight of yarns were held together for the main swatch in this example, and then stitches picked up alongside the swatch and knit in Meadow alone. Meadow is a heavy lace-weight yarn, and when combined with the DK-weight yarn Luma, it knits up to an Aran-weight gauge, as did many of our combinations.

Meadow in shade Hydrangea and Luma in shade Chambray

Working a small amount of stocking stitch in Meadow by itself really shows up the difference in the combined yarn swatch, both in terms of weight, and colour.

Meadow and Luma

Meadow combined with Acadia

Our yarn combining experiments took in the full range  of yarns. In this swatch, we began with a strand of Meadow held together with a strand of Acadia yarn. The Acadia was cut and a few rows of Meadow knit alone. Without casting off the stitches, a new shade of Acadia and Meadow were knit together, and the pattern repeated. These swatches are not in service of any particular project, but were really an exploration of the yarns we have and how they could work together.

Meadow and Cirro

With the introduction of Cirro to the range of The Fibre Co. yarns, we started to think about adding that fluffy halo to yarns that we already know and love.

While we started off particularly interested in the texture and weight of the fabric made with combined yarns, it soon became evident that the marled appearance of the fabric had an interest and appeal all of its own.

Examples of Meadow combined with Cirro.
Meadow in shade Lavender and Cirro in shade Graceful

It made sense to combine our two lightest yarns—the heavy lace-weight Meadow, which has incredible drape and shine on its own, with our sport weight Cirro yarn, which is incredibly light and superbly fluffy. Cirro can be knit at different gauges—the baby alpaca and fine merino fluff really fills out stitches made with larger needles, but it can also be knit at a tighter gauge making it a very versatile yarn. Knitting Cirro and Meadow yarn together with a 4.5 mm (US 7) needle gave us a fabric that was light and drape-y while working to a traditional ‘aran’ tension/gauge. 

Luma and Cirro

Matching the shades of the two yarns to be combined really focuses attention on the texture of the fabric—in this case the fuzzy halo of Cirro that softens and fills out the Luma fabric, replacing the sharp stitch definition with something more velvety.

Cumbria Fingering and Cirro

Combining contrasting shades, on the other hand, draws attention to the colour work, creating an almost camouflage-like effect in this combination, with tiny irregular clusters of one colour or the other contributing to the overall pattern.  

The effect of colour can be dramatic, or, as in this example, relatively subtle, with shades that are near enough to give an almost solid appearance from a distance, but reveal complex colour patterns when viewed closely. 

Arranmore Light and Cirro

Arranmore Light combined with Cirro

We worked the rich texture of Arranmore Light yarn together with the light and fluffy Cirro for a lofty yarn that, when knit on 4.5 mm (US 7) needles, creates a fabric with structure.

As our experiments with yarn combining progressed, The first design we really tested it out on was an addition to the classic One Series; the One Sweater V-neck. We were so pleased with the first sample of the pullover knit holding Cirro together with Arranmore Light, that we immediately made up another sample made by holding Cirro and Meadow together. These two yarn combinations really show off the range that can be achieved with yarn combining—the same gauge creates a light-weight, super soft fabric with Cirro and Meadow and a structural, richly textured fabric with Arranmore Light and Cirro.

While this is only a small selection of the yarn combining swatches we made, we hope that it gives you a flavour of the experiment and inspires you with a bit of the joy we have at working with our favourite yarns, bringing them together to make something new and adding the best qualities of each yarn into a new, beautiful fabric. 

And another happy result of our yarn combining experiments is our newest collection: Better Together. Click the Better Together photo collage to see more about the designs. 

 

If you have been knitting or crocheting with combined yarns, we would love to hear about it!

 Please use the #MadeWithTheFibreCo when you post about it on social media and tag us with @thefibrecompany on Instagram and @TheFibreCo on Facebook when you post so we can admire your beautiful projects!

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