Sunday, February 11, 2007

How much is enough?

Pretend you're at step four. You have lovingly prepared your fibre (or perhaps cheated by buying prepared roving), spun it into a few bobbins of singles and carefully plied it and wound skeins.

Yay, I get to knit/crochet/weave something now!

How does one determine whether the spun yarn will be sufficient for the project? You can take the knit-till-I-run-out option, this works well for triangular shawls and blankets of little squares sewn together. However, if you actually have a specific pattern in mind it is worth getting an accurate measurement of the yardage in your skein.

There are many ways to do this.

The Painstaking
For a perfectly accurate reading, if you have a few hours to spare.
1. Measure the length of your skein
2. Count every thread in the skein and multiply by the measured length
What? Yeah, me neither.

The Clever
NB this works better on non-fuzzy skeins.
1. Measure the length of the skein
2. Spread the threads out into a single layer
3. Measure across and multiply by your wpi

Btw, I picked up this great little wpi-measuring-device (actually it's a pencil) at Paperchase for 50p. Next time I go back I'm getting a whole stack more and, if you spin, I'll send you one :-)

The Ball-Park
Okay, this is actually not very accurate, but quick if you're feeling lazy.
1. Weigh your skein, or even better, guess based on how much fibre you originally bought and how much fluff you left behind stuck to your flatmates' socks
2. Find a ball in your yarn stash with similar wpi
3. Calculate yardage per gram of your stash ball and multiply by the weight of your skein
I did say it wasn't rocket-science

The 'I Married a Millionnaire'
Not strictly economical, but if you sell some skeins maybe you can write it off against your tax :-D
1. Buy one of these:

2. Run your yarn through it

I have to admit to a certain inclination towards method three, with the added safety-net of 'spin an extra 25g or so'. I have also been known to be Painstaking on occasion. Generally, I go for the Clever (well of course!). I am very open to submissions of 'Cleverer' and 'More Cleverer' if you know of any :-)

Happy spinning!

Ciao, Diane



At 11:14 am, Blogger Lothlorian said...

*goes cross eyed* wow umm maths so how much is a machine ;)

At 6:41 pm, Anonymous Super Monkey said...

How about the 'I know a monkey with too much Lego' method?

The Professor reckons he can build me an auto measurer deely out of Lego Mindstorms.

At 7:15 am, Blogger Heather said...

Winding skeins on a reel with a counter attached is an accurate way - especially if you have a reel that measures exactly 2m around. Okay, so I don't have a counter, but I can count myself as I turn the reel.
Method 2 I like. More accurate if you wound the skein figure-eight wise so the threads lie in a cross.
You could come unstuck in the ball-park method if you forget that wpi doesn't necessarily equal lb's/yard.
Try for a pattern that allows you to add "features" of contrast yarn when you run out.
And what's wrong with toe-up socks?


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