Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Why 5,600 ypp?

The old knitting yarns were constructed of many fine plies.  Lace was 2 or 3-ply. Sport weight was 5-ply.  Worsted weight was 6-ply.  Aran weight was 10-ply.

Why?  Why not just go 2 or 3-ply as in the modern mill spun?

Because at about 5,600 ypp, vegetable matter (VM) drops out.

Latter, mills learned to take out VM with acid.  Then they did not need to drop out the VM, and went to 2-ply for everything, because acid treatment and 2-ply was cheaper than spinning fine plies.

If you are spinning acid treated fiber, you can spin any grist at 2-ply because you do not have to deal with VM.  The 2-ply will not be as elastic, but that is a different issue.  (Do you like the texture of mill prepared fiber?  Some do, some do not!!)

However, if you are prepping your own fiber, then spinning fine singles is a part of the easy way to deal with VM -- if you can spin fine and fast.

And, there is the rub.  This approach is only useful if you can spin fine and fast.

The bottom line here is that I come to this as a knitter seeking better yarn at a reasonable price. By and large, I think the mill treated fibers are not as good as the less treated fibers that I prepare myself, so I buy fleece and scour it myself.  I card it myself, and if necessary, I comb it myself.

From prepared fiber to high quality yarn, the easy path is to spin a lot of fine singles and then ply up the grist yarn that I need.  And, I like these yarn better than 2 or 3-ply yarns.

I spin what I like.


Anonymous said...

Someone is wondering how you made the hiking socks in your projects so tight and even:

Aaron said...

The first (good) hiking socks were from MacAusland's yarn. They were knit using long DPN and a knitting sheath.

For details, see earlier posts in the blog.