Tuesday, November 25, 2008

It's all about the numbers

This week has been all about numbers.

How many days till Thanksgiving (i.e. - how many days to get the house cleaned)
How long till I get out of work each day - so get working on the house cleaning.
How many pounds should the turkey be to feed everyone and have some leftovers.
How many pages can I get read during lunchtime to get the book I'm reading done before it's due back at the library.
How much yarn will the current project take.

One set of numbers I miss because I haven't been machine knitting for the past couple years is the numbering system for yarn. I really wish hand knitting would embrace this system. There's a couple systems - cotton vs. "worsted" type yarn. I'll explain the basics behind the "regular" yarn system. See if you don't agree that this would be great to have with hand knit yarns. All yarn is given a 2 digit number, a fraction. The most common I'd use was 3/15 weight yarn. Other frequently seen numbers were 2/15, 2/24, 2/8.

The way this system works is - the first number is the number of plys. The second number is the weight number of 1 ply. The bigger the number the thinner the ply and the more the yardage. I won't go into exactly what the numbers mean but the way most machine knitters used these numbers was to figure yarn size.

The number you get when you divide the numbers of ply and the yarn size tell you the "size" of the yarn. The closer to zero the fatter the yarn and the less the yardage.

For example: a 3/15 yarn is 3 plys of a 15 weight yarn. It's "number" is 5.
A 2/15 is 2 plys of the 15 weight yarn and its number is 7.5
So the 3/15 yarn would be bigger and have less yardage than the 2/15 yarn because its number (5) is closer to zero than the 7.5.

Not only does this give you the yarn size but it lets you substitute yarns with confidence.
Say your pattern calls for a 3/15 yarn but you have one that you absolutely love but it's a 2/24 yarn.
OK - the 3/15 yarn is a 5. The 2/24 yarn is a 12- too thin. If you take 2 strands of the 2/24 yarn you now have 4 plys and when you do the math you get 6. That's pretty close to 5 so if you double up your really pretty 2/24 yarn you can very probably make your pattern and get gauge.

Wouldn't it be nice to have our hand knit yarns have a system that gives us the most accurate sizing as possible. Right now a DK may really be an aran weight because the person who decided it's weight decided it looked thicker or thinner. I don't know how many times I seen a yarn that's marked dk weight but was really sport weight once I figured out gauge.

That's enough about numbers for now. The last number I'll mention is 1. Have a number 1 great day Thanksgiving with whoever you get to spend it with.

Thank you for taking time to read my blog the past few years. Thank you for your comments and friendship you've provided through the comments. Thank you for helping me get through the family problems this past year. Finally - Chief & Bert want to thank all of you for putting up with the billions of pictures I force upon you of them.

The boys first meal together - 4 years ago.

Bert joined the family 11-14-04


Guinifer said...

Happy Thanksgiving Jill.

Toni said...

Aw, he's so tiny!

Happy Thanksgiving!

CeeJay said...

I wish you a Happy Thanksgiving and sincerely hope you will cherish the family you will have coming over.
The family you have is what made you so unique. Thanks for your blog, I have had many chuckles over it, and some days have not been so good for me, so your words have made my day easier to get through.