All of us have “mystery” yarn. The label is gone and you don’t even remember why you bought it!

Put those partial cones to use!

Stripes or fairisle are great ways to use smaller cones, but you probably want to put yarns of similar weight together.  Just looking at a strand doesn’t tell you enough.

Here are 3 methods for judging if 2 yarns will work together.

  • Take 2 strand(s) of the same yarn and fold them over each other.  Run your fingers over the join. Close your eyes and focus on how the join feels.
  • Use the same yarn and fold a different yarn over it.  Run your fingers over the join. Does it feel similar to the first experiment?  In our example, I have 1 strand of the red color and 3 strands of the brown.  It feels like they will be a good match.


  • Knit a swatch in your stitch pattern using both yarns. Unless you are using 2 extremely different yarns for a design element, you’ll want the yarns to knit up in a similar weight.  Again, using touch is the best way to determine this.

 circles3 You can also use a yarn balance and some math.

Red yarn = approx 2,000 yards per pound (1 strand)

Brown yarn = approx 5,600 yards per pound (1 strand)

5600/3 = 1866
3 strands of the brown yarn would be close to the YPP of the red yarn and confirms my fingertip test!yarn_balance_main

Subscribers: Here are 2 tutorials that can help with “mystery” yarn.

 Yarn Estimator

McMorran Yarn Balance