Break out of your yarn comfort zone!
Are you stuck in DK? Safe with super chunky? Why not break out and try a new yarn weight! Merion is here to show you how!
Everyone has a favourite yarn weight. It might be that you love 4ply and anything else feels gigantic – or that you’re used to chunky and super chunky and anything less than aran seems tiny – but it’s actually very liberating to try a new yarn weight!
If you’re a laceweight or 4ply knitter …
Anything larger than DK might feel like knitting for the giants! Larger needles may feel very uncomfortable at first, but you can make this easier by trying wooden or bamboo needles that are easier to hold or short circulars, so that the needles are shorter and stubbier.
With larger yarns, there’s the possibility of splitting if you’re used to something finer, especially whilst you get used to where to put your needle – so choose a yarn with a good firm twist to minimise splitting. Katia Peru is a great first chunky weight yarn, it’s a wool/alpaca/acrylic blend that has a slight halo, and is soft on the hands as you knit. The twist is firm, and it’s great value for money for 100g. The shades range from neutrals and every day jewel colours to bright, zesty statement shades!
Debbie Bliss Paloma is a gorgeous super chunky and has a chainette construction that won’t split. It knits on 10mm needles and the merino/alpaca blend is super soft, perfect for a hat, scarf or cowl as a first super chunky knit.
Begin with a pattern that doesn’t need too much yarn so that your outlay is not too large, in case you don’t like it. Urchin is a free pattern download by designer Ysolda Teague – it’s a short row garter stitch hat that works up super fast in chunky yarn, and is a good pattern for an intermediate knitter exploring a new weight yarn.
If you’re a knitter that loves chunky and super chunky yarn…
Working with 4ply or even DK weight yarn will feel very small indeed after super chunky needles! You might want to go down the needle sizes in stages to get used to a smaller diameter, so begin with an aran or worsted weight yarn and some 5mm needles.
This sweet little waistcoat is an ideal first project – it’s not too big, but it’s enough knitting to get you used to a substantially smaller needle. Once you’ve mastered aran on a 5mm needle, then you’re ready to move down to something smaller…
This gorgeous little hat from MotherOfPurlPatterns comes in sizes from baby to adult, and is knitted flat and seamed. It’s a great project for DK yarn – choose your favourite shade, or try a variegated yarn like the beautiful Noro Silk Garden Lite – it’s a treat to knit, and will make a fabulous statement hat!
It’s time for 4ply! One of the challenges for knitters trying different weight yarns is to get used to to needle sizes in your hands. For knitters coming down from a big needle to a small needle, it may feel as though you are ‘over holding’ the needle, but this will pass as soon as your hands become accustomed to the new dimensions. For knitters going the other way, from a small needle to bigger, it can feel as if you can’t possibly get your fingers around larger needles, but the same is true – your muscle memory will adapt as you work!
Knitting with smaller needles can feel disheartening for knitters used to super chunky yarn because your knitting will not grow as fast as you are used to – so choose a yarn that is exciting to knit – something that changes colour or is super soft – or just a shade that you absolutely adore, to keep you motivated as you work.
Hitchhiker by Martina Behm is a sacred pattern for 4ply knitters! It’s a fantastically portable, and it’s something you can knit that isn’t too taxing but the resulting shawl is a joy to wear. Worked in garter stitch, it has 42 points (for those of you unfamiliar with Douglas Adams’ book The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, which is the inspiration for this shawl, 42 is the answer to the question “What is the answer to to the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe, and Everything?”, hence 42 points on the Hitchhiker shawl!)
You’ll need 200g of 4ply yarn for this fabulous knit – I’ve seen it knitted up in the most exalted of yarns to the most affordable, and it looks great in everything. Rico Superba Poems is a great choice, or Cascade Heritage Wave, or you might want to stick with a solid shade with some added silk, for drape, like the fabulous BC Garn Silkbloom Fino, which comes in a glorious range of jewel colours!
Take the leap! Try a different yarn weight and test your knitting skills!
Last updated: January 20th, 2017.