A Revolutionary Idea

Posted: July 13, 2012 in Ramblings

Wouldn’t it be nice if every yarn manufacturer offered their skeins in 200-yard and 1000-yard put-ups, regardless of weight?  Sure it would.  It’s a pain in the a–ahem, neck, to have to sit and work out how many grams equal how many yards, etc., when you’re substituting yarns.  I don’t know a single person who uses the recommended yarn for a pattern.  So substitutions would be easier.  And it would be FABULOUS to be able to buy superbulky yarns in a 1000-yard put-up (whether cone or skein).  I just finished knitting a cape with superbulky wool, and had to use six 120-yard skeins, so there were a lot of ends to weave in, even though it was knit all in one piece.  And I’m now working on a shawl with skeins that are only 54 yards each!  Every hour I have to get up and wind a skein into a ball.  Grr.

I know there was some revolution in yarn put-ups right around the time I started knitting (in 1999), where the “standard” became a 50g skein, regardless of yardage (and also, regardless of where in the world you live, because nobody in the US uses grams).  But…seriously, who ever needs to know the gram weight of a project?  Nobody.  You just need to know how many yards are required.  Ack, I’m getting all frenetic just thinking about this.  I hate the current yarn measuring system and wish it could change, but that’s unlikely.

Comments
  1. Christy says:

    then you’d get the complaints of ‘it’s not 200 yards, it’s 198.6 yards’ or other similar complaints. The reason they do this by weight is that it’s easy for the giant mill machines to measure by weight, and then you’re not getting a skein that’s 200 yds stretched vs 200 yds relaxed. Measuring yarn by length is a difficult endeavor, and not one that most mills prefer to do.

    Many, many knitters use the number of grams in a ball to estimate a repeat of their lace or other pattern to figure out if they can finish with this ball of yarn, or will need to break into the next one. A lot of knitters go by the yards/gram for substituting yarns, and I know I measure my finished scrap balls of yarn by weight, instead of trying to vaguely figure yardage.

    Really, you want coned yarns for everything. Especially if you’re looking for bulky in that kind of size skein. Even so, the last cone I received of bulky yarn was about 400 yd, as it was a pound of yarn on the cone. Weaving stores generally have yarn by the pound, and there are a couple of yarn stores that custom make you a cone out of multiple strands of laceweight twisted together to add up to the weight of yarn you want to use.

    • Well, this is certainly likely (that there would be people complaining about a few missing yards). I hadn’t thought of that. But the kinds of yarns I like to use do not come on cones. I occasionally dye large (8-ounce) skeins for my own use or for resale.

      I will soldier on, using what is available to me, and probably just stop using yarns heavier than worsted!

      Thanks for the reply.

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