BLACKER YARNS SPECIFICATIONS AND GAUGES: “How much yarn do I need?”
- There is no formal standard for yarn gauge, in that each manufacturer specifies their own patterns to be knitted when buying their yarn.For each Blacker knitting pattern we provide a tension/gauge setting on specified needles, to enable a knitter to knit up a sample to measure against the numbers of stitches and rows set in the pattern. The tension/gauge, or needle size, or number of stitches and rows can be adjusted by the knitter to achieve the garment dimensions set in the pattern.
- All natural fibre yarns may vary by up to 15% in diameter over every 100 yards or so.This is in the nature of the fibres and the spinning process, hence the variations between the lengths given in the tables below. Woollen yarns vary more than worsted yarns due to the way they are made.
- Natural fibres absorb water. After washing and drying, there is a process called “regain” when the yarn will re-absorb a certain amount of moisture.This will vary from fibre to fibre according to breed type, the type of yarn, etc.This means that the weight of a yarn is not necessarily constant and will depend on its storage conditions. Wool can in fact absorb up to 30% moisture before feeling wet, which is why it is such an excellent outdoor clothing material. However, the length in a package will remain constant, which is why we also provide yardage information on our labels.
- The UK weights and measures laws allow for up to a 4.5% variation on a 50g ball, so that each ball will only be approximately 50g in weight, within the legal variation. Because we weigh in grams, our ball lengths will be shorter than those for a 2 oz ball by about 12%.
- All breeds will differ in yarn style: lustre and hill sheep tend to produce less elastic, leaner yarns while downland and merino sheep produce bulkier yarns. Alpaca and mohair are lean. Also the lustre yarns are more dense, so can weigh more per unit length, so yardage may be less in a ball/skein of the same weight of Blue-faced Leicester than of Shetland.
- Alpaca and mohair make considerably less elastic yarns, so may result in higher yarn usage for a given pattern –it is always advisable to buy (more!) extra for these yarns.
- Blacker Yarns are made to a given weight, so they should work to the same gauge/tension on the same needles, no matter whether they are lean or bulky BUT the resulting fabrics will differ considerably. Also worsted spun yarns make fewer rows than woollen spun yarns, so are less economic, weight for weight and length for length. Please check by looking at the photographs of tension swatches for each yarn at www.blackeryarns.co.uk
At Blacker Yarns, the ball-winding and skein-winding machines are set to run for a specific period by adjusting gears, so that the eventual ball/skein weighs close to 50g/100g on average.The machines make up to 12-20balls/skeins at a time, from 12-20cones of wool, and each will vary slightly.The setting is designed to approximate the length to the weight, and we check by weighingeach oneindividually, due to the legal requirements. We also measureor calculatelengths per ball/skein, but these arealso not exact for each ball/skein for the reasons explained above.
The only way you can be absolutely sure is to measure each ball and each will vary! This is the joy of working with natural fibres!
The tables below give yarn specifications, with yardage for 50g balls and the gauge/tension is stated assuming stocking stitch on a 10cm/4 inch square. Needle sizes are nearest equivalent (Blacker patterns are working on metric needles normally). Please note that our 2-ply is very individual to the specific yarn and this is more indicative than the other gauges.
Metric: 50 gram ball (=1.76 ounces)