Tuesday, August 09, 2016

My world of knitting yarn

Long wool comes in, and often gets spun  worsted with a firm twist at about 5,600 ypp ( 10s, 11.3 m/g).  Such singles were commonly used for weaving and everybody was accustomed to spinning them. Then, there was loom waste, which could be plied up into various grists of knitting yarn. Standard "10s" were a standard base for knitting yarns.

(These are not the standard names for these grists)

2-ply is knitting yarn at ~ 2,500 ypp ( 5. m/g) .
3-ply is fingering yarn at ~ 1,700 ypp (3.4 m/g)
4-ply is double knitting yarn at ~ 1260 ypp or ( 2.2 m/g)
5-ply is sport weight at ~1,000 ypp  (e.g., (gansey weight")
6-ply is worsted weight  or triple knitting yarn at ~ 840 ypp  or 1.7 g/m  (heavier than what is normally sold as "Aran" weight yarn.)
8-ply is "8-ply" at ~ 630 ypp or 1.3 m/g
10-ply is Traditional Aran  or 10-ply at ~ 500 ypp or 1 m/gram!

And, I ply heavier yarns as needed. However, my 6-ply yarn is warmer than any commercial knitting yarn on the market today.  That is why I have the kind of lazy kate that I do, and why I learned to use it.   If you want to knit objects as warm or warmer than I do, you will have to spin your own multi-ply yarns.

Medium fine wools 50 -60 count ( 25 micron) are spun worsted, sometimes at 11,200 ypp (25 m/g)

3-ply makes a quicky lace yarn at 3,360 ypp

Then a 6-ply yarn from those singles is the preferred sock yarn at ~ 1,700 ypp or 3.4 m/g

Medium fine wools 40 -60 count ( 25 micron) are spun worsted, sometimes at 30,000 ypp or ~60 m/g
3-ply from this makes a nice lace yarn at ~ 8,000 ypp
6-ply makes a better sock yarn at ~ 4,000 ypp

Fine wools (finer than 60 count) may get spun at their spin count ~ 40,000 ypp or 100 m/g, which can be plied as needed. Or, they may be prepared into woolen spun versions of any of the above.

Note, The post above covers grists that vary by a factor of  8.   In truth, I have no problem spinning thicker yarns, because like a musician, I do my scales on a regular basis and practice spinning different grists of yarn.   On the other hand, I rarely do spin  singles thicker than 1-cut woolen (1,640 ypp).  As 2-ply that yields a yarn about the same grist as my worsted weight, and the worsted weight is much warmer and more durable.  Why waste my knitting time on yarn that produces an inferior product?  I certainly have in the past, and I do not regret any part of it.  However, improvements in my tools and skills over the last few years, allow me to make better yarns at a reasonable investment of resources, so I do.  

Use of AA's spinning oil is highly recommended.I suggest the addition of a few drops of lavender oil.  Also, many olive oils are adulterated with soybean oil.  These will get sticky in storage, and MUST be avoided.  The US and Italy have good, enforced rules on olive oil.  I suggest buying an oil from one of these countries.  You do not need EV or cold pressed. You just need pure olive oil.

Note: After spinning all singles are measured for length, blocked with steam, and weighed.  They may also be dyed. For dying, they must be washed to remove the spinning oil.

All plied yarns must be blocked again.

None of this is any more difficult than turning bobbins from green wood. People tell you it cannot be done, but it is simply a matter of learning the skills and having the tools.

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