Crochet with 3 Strands

March 28, 2018

Working with 3 strands at once is fast and gives you a different and softer look than a bulkier yarn does - and you might save yarn too.

Crochet with 3 strands of yarn

See here how to do it without getting into a big mess and get some tips about yarn usage, hook size etc.

Working with 3 strands doesn't necessarily mean working with 3 yarn balls and ending up in a big mess :) You can work with just one yarn ball at a time.

And it isn't actually difficult to work with 3 strands at the same time, but it is best, if you know your stitches well, so you don't get too confused about all the extra strands.

Comparing

Below, I have a regular wool yarn and a 3 stranded wool yarn. The 3 strands have the same weight per length as the regular yarn and the single crochet stitch rows are made with the same hook.

Comparing regular yarn with 3 strand yarn

Notice how the fluffiness from the 3 strands takes up a little more space than a regular yarn.

Guide

You can get 3 strands from one skein or ball. It saves you the mess from 3 balls getting entangled. Fold the yarn to triple it as shown in the photo. Make the tripled yarn long. I like to make it at least 1m (40in).

Triple the yarn

Make your slip knot as usual and start your project*. At a point you will run out of 3 strands.
Running out of 3 strands

Pull  your single working yarn end, so it kind of folds out of the loop.
Pull up more strands

Pull, till you have a new long 3-stranded working yarn.

If you need a video for how to pull out the yarn, Ira Rot has a good one and there are more videos out there.

*Avoid a Knot at the Beginning

Some use a clever way of starting a 3-stranded project, that starts with a single stranded loop. I like to have a 3-stranded yarn for sewing too, so I never thought it necessary. If you want to hide your first knot better, I would rather recommend the blog post: Avoid an Ugly Slip Knot.

TIPS

A few tips are really worth sharing.

1) Hiding Folding Points

Mostly, the points where you fold the yarn, don't show in the final project. If you are very keen about a specific project, then it is possible to hide the folding points at purpose just by making minor adjustments in tension, if you can see one will be placed in a bad spot.

2) Avoid Twisted Strands

Avoid twisting the strands. In order to stay airy and take up space, they need as much room as possible. If they twist, you will get a less fluffiness. Straighten them every time you see they start twisting. You will be happy about that.

3) Hook Size and 4) Yarn Usage

If you compare 3 strands with a same-weight regular yarn, my rule of thumb says you can use the same size of hook as the regular yarn, but you will benefit from going up 1-2 sizes (1-2mm), because of the 3-stranded yarn's ability to take up more space. It means you will need a little less yarn for your project. Not bad, right?

Superb for...

I find the 3 stranded yarn superb for more loose and open stitches and stitch patterns. There, you really see the difference from a regular yarn. I would suggest something like the Moss Stitch for regular crochet (and to my Danish readers: 'vævehækling') or the Tunisian Full Stitch. But, don't limit yourself. Try it out with any stitch pattern.

Regular crochet moss stitch and Tunisian full stitch
Left: Moss Stitch for regular crochet. Right: Tunisian Full Stitch

I'm currently working on several projects using the Tunisian Reverse Stitch and I really love the look and feel of it, when using 3 strands. See what 3 strands look like with the Tunisian Reverse Stitch.

I'm guessing felting might also work very well with the 3-stranded method. I need to try that one day.

Enjoy

Enjoy this whole new world of looks you can make from this.

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