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Jun 14, 2015

Yarn | Weights & Conversions

I've been doing a lot of swatching to experiment with specific stitches in different yarn weights. I've also been mixing and matching assorted weights to test varied approaches to multi-stranding and assess the effect on color, stitch and fabric.

There's no mystery or magic involved, I'm simply striving to see my stash with fresh eyes and find creative ways to transform lurkers and lingerers into something pretty, practical and appealing.

      Lace + Sock

For several years, I've ruthlessly culled and donated yarns that no longer suit my preferences, are too fiddly to fathom or don't perform well in real life. Technically, I'm not cold-sheeping but I'm so committed to stash depletion, I've focused on designing patterns and prioritizing projects that help make the most of the yarn on hand.

The results have been satisfying, but many lovely yarns still reside in their cozy cupboards. (Yes, plural.) From afghans and accessories to cardis and cloths, it's time to employ innovative combinations that continue to whittle the hoard to a manageable size.

      Sock + Fingering

To make this ongoing effort easier, I created the yarn weight chart (below). Most of the information is familiar and readily available in various forms and countless locations. What's not so easy to find are quick conversions for multi-stranding.

After many frustrating results and false starts, I bit the bullet and pulled together the information I needed most. This chart has become my constant companion, and while I plan to continue adding to it, I thought you might find it helpful now for your own knitting adventures.

YARN WEIGHTS & CONVERSIONS
WEIGHT
TYPE
PLY
NEEDLE SIZES (US)
NEEDLE SIZES (mm)
GAUGE
STS/IN
(Stock.)
TYPICAL YARDS
(50 gr)
2 STRANDS
APPROX.
3 STRANDS
APPROX.
0
Lace
Lace
Light Fingering
2-ply
000 to 1
1.5 to 2.25
8.25 to
10 sts
440
Sport
DK
1
Super Fine
Sock
Fingering
Baby
3-ply
4-ply
1 to 3
2.25 to 3.25
6.75 to
8 sts
230
DK
Worsted
2
Fine
Sport
Baby
4-ply
5-ply
6-ply
3 to 5
3.25 to 3.75
5.75 to
6.5 sts
180
Worsted
Aran
3
Light
DK
Light Worsted
8-ply
5 to 7
3.75 to 4.5
5.25 to
6 sts
150
Aran
Chunky
4
Medium
Worsted
Afghan
Aran
10-ply
7 to 9
4.5 to 5.5
4 to
5 sts
110
Chunky
Bulky /
Super Bulky
5
Bulky
Chunky
Craft
Rug
12-ply
9 to 11
5.5 to 8
3 to
3.75 sts
50
Bulky /
Super Bulky

6
Super Bulky
Bulky
Roving

11 and up
8 and up
1.5 to
2.75 sts
40



If you plan to carry two strands, double the yardage requirements stated in the pattern (100 yards x 2 = 200 yards). If you plan to carry three strands, triple it (100 yards x 3 = 300 yards). Yes, it seems obvious, but most knitters I know have forgotten this simple rule at least once.

Keep in mind the conversions are approximate, since every yarn is so very different. Also remember working with multiple strands is not the same as knitting with plied yarn. In general, the combined strands work up in a slightly more substantial (aka heavier) manner than you might expect, so plan accordingly.

Be prepared to swatch. A lot. The shifting and unpredictable variables mean swatching is the only way to see how a specific yarn or mix of yarns will look and behave in a given stitch.

      Sport

As you can see, there are swatches calling my name, so I’d better get back to my knitting.

For more tips, tricks and tools, click here.

10 comments:

  1. Brilliant, thank you for posting. I know yarns vary but some guidance is gratefully received!

    ReplyDelete
  2. What a great chart - I love the combination values to make a sport or DK out of lighter yarns, that really does open up possibilities doesn't it!

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  3. I am so new at knitting this is a great tool for me, thank you.

    ReplyDelete
  4. thank you! love that colorway too!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Ooo! Wonderful chart and advice! Thank you for sharing. :)

    ReplyDelete
  6. This is really helpful information. As a crocheter all of it does not translate directly to how I use yarn, but there is some great help in terms of yarn size you've provided. Especially since I've recently discovered multi-stranding. Thank you!

    ReplyDelete
  7. I tend to knit with lace weight, fingering weight most of the time. Sometimes I go for worsted or double when making mitts or hats. Great chart!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Brilliant chart, will be saving that. I've been wanting something like that for ages, thank you for sharing it and for presenting it in such a readable way

    ReplyDelete

Thanks for sharing your comments and insights, I enjoy each and every one. If you have questions, share those too, and I'll do my best to respond.
-b

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