Tutorial: Triple-Stranding from One Yarn Ball

This is a very easy technique I’ve used oh-so-many times over the years, being a lover of heavier yarn weights. It’s perfect for using lace weight yarn to make anything that isn’t lace, or using sock yarn in place of an aran or bulky weight. I’ve even used this technique with worsted and aran weight yarn to get super-bulky weights!

Of course, always swatch first before subbing a triple-stranded yarn in a pattern, to check your gauge and make sure you like the fabric you’re getting, but you can just hold a yarn triple stranded and twist it a bit to get an approximation of your new yarn weight. Okay let’s learn how it works!

Make a slip knot

gif animation of triple-stranding step 1: make a slip knot

Start by making a slip knot at the end of your yarn, with a loop large enough to stick your fingers through it.

Pull yarn through slip knot

gif animation of triple-stranding step 2: pull yarn through slip knot

Now reach through the loop and grab the yarn, pulling it through to make a much bigger loop…

Slip knot becomes end of yarn

gif animation of triple-stranding step 3: slip knot becomes end of yarn

And then hold the slip knot (it may have tightened up, or not, it doesn’t matter) as the end of your new yarn. At this point, if you hold up the slip know and let gravity work, you’ll have three strands of yarn hanging down from the small loop: the large loop, and the third strand which is attached to the ball of yarn.

Pull yarn through end loop

That’s your triple-stranded yarn! To make more, at the end of the large loop, reach through and pull the yarn through again, creating another new large loop. Once you do this a couple of times, you’ll see how it works, just pulling yarn through loops (you’re basically making a GIANT crochet chain; or if you’re a spinner you’ll recognize it as chain plying or navajo plying, minus the twisting).

a skein of yarn with the strand looped into triple strands, leading to another smaller ball of tripled yarn

You can pull the yarn through more, to make much longer loops, and/or you can pull loop-after-loop a bunch of times at once to prep a length of yarn before you knit with it. I usually will pull a very long loop and have it in a pile of yarn next to me while I knit, so it’s many yards of triple-stranded yarn between the actual loops. Try it out and see what works for you!

I originally learned this technique from Alex Tinsley many years ago; she says in her video that she saw the technique online somewhere but couldn’t find where. I’ve used the technique in tons of projects: this squishy cowl was knit with triple-stranded Hawthorne and Capretta stripes, this cabled hat was made with triple-stranded Wool of the Andes Worsted to make a super-bulky weight, and same with this matching cabled cowl, to name a few projects.

Now grab some Shadow or Shimmer lace weight, or Palette or Stroll fingering weight, and triple it up! Time to whip up a quick, chunky sweater before fall arrives!