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Gradiente Chain-Ply Tutorial to Knit with 3 Strands of Manos del Uruguay Marina

Gradiente is one of our most popular patterns. It’s got everything going for it: easy to wear, endless possibilities for color play, and simple, relaxing knitting.

This scarf is knit in Marina, our laceweight yarn, but it works up quickly using US9 and US10 needles. That’s because it’s done holding 3 strands of yarn together. Changing out one strand at a time is also what produces the beautiful gradient effect.

The scarf takes one skein each of 3 colors, which might make you wonder: with only one skein of each color, how do you get 2 or 3 strands of the same color?

Two strands is easy: simply wind the skein into a center-pull ball, and take one strand from inside and one from outside:

So what about three strands of working yarn? Well, you could wind off a small ball, and use that with the other two strands like so:

Or, you could take a page from handspinners, and use a technique called Navajo plying or chain-plying. This allows you to turn one strand into three as you go

How to chain-ply to knit with three strands at once

You can see in the above photo, we’ve just finished Stripe 6, with 2 strands of Vesuvio and 1 strand of Appalachian. Cut the strand of Appalachian and one of the strands of Vesuvio. Then, Step 1: insert the right-hand needle into the first stitch, and pull through a loop of the remaining working strand of Appalachian.

Don’t let the old stitch off the needle. Instead, Step 2, enlarge the new stitch, remove it from the needle, and enlarge it more with your fingers:

Keep going! Enlarge it quite a bit:

If you hold the loop near the strand that’s coming from the ball, an idea may form:

Looks like three strands, doesn’t it? You could knit with that! Step 3: knit with your tripled yarn until you notice it’s going to run out.

When your loop is down to an inch or two, Step 4: reach through it and pull a new loop through.

Repeat steps 2 through 4 as necessary.

Easy, right? Once you’ve seen how it works, you’ll probably want to make your loops much longer, so you don’t have to stop as often. Good practice results in making the loop a few yards long, but it depends on whether the yarn wants to tangle or the cat is feeling playful, etc.

A word about casting on:

1. Start with a slip knot on the left needle.

2.  Reach into the stitch, either with the other needle or with your fingers, and pull a loop through.

3.  As before, enlarge that loop.

4.  Make it long enough to create some 3-ply yarn.

5.  Go into the slip-knot again, and use the new yarn to make another stitch.

Work your favorite knitted-on cast-on.

When you get near the end of your loop, make another one.

Make as many stitches as you need. Afterward, slip the original slip-knot off the needle and snug it up.

There you go! 

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1 comment

  • Lisa Myers taught a 1 hour class at StitchesWest on this. I really enjoyed her class and she was a wonderful teacher. Thank you for sending her to us.

    Martha Maldonado

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