Yarn Weights and the Lying Liars who Label Them

This is what I get for ordering my yarn online. . . how often have you checked a yarn’s weight on its ball band, said “no way” and knit it up at a very different gauge? I get that we all knit at a different tension, but some yarns just shouldn’t be knit at their recommended gauge if you’re trying to get a fabric of typical density and drape.

I ordered Berroco Modern Cotton DK to make Xmas stockings. It’s closer to sport weight than DK. I ordered cheapo DY Choice DK with Wool to make a hat for the girl next door. It’s closer to worsted than DK.

Here’s what the labels claim: Modern Cotton (the thin cotton yarn) says 23 sts per 4" on US 5 needles. DK with Wool (the thick acrylic yarn) says 22 stitches over 4" on US 6 needles.

I do not believe you . . .

Yes, you can force both yarns to meet that gauge if you really want to, but you shouldn’t–not only is the cotton literally 1/2 the diameter of the acrylic, but the cotton is smooth and dense and the acrylic is springy and fuzzy. I knit up a quick swatch of each on the same size needles. I got 21 st per inch in the cotton–very gappy and unattractive. I got 16 st per inch in the acrylic, which is a good gauge for the yarn.

It’s not like it matters; I can see a cat hair already embedded in the yarn in the photo, so by the time these projects are done, enough hair will have twisted into the yarn to make them both aran weight.

1 Like

That is an impressive difference!
If you look at the yarns on Ravelry and check the projects there are several people who either comment about problems getting gauge or list a very different gauge from DK.

1 Like

Yeah, I’m checking yarn on Ravelry before ordering it from now on. Wish there were a good LYS here in town. There’s a great one up in Knoxville, but while we do actually have an LYS here, the staff is–get ready for this–rude.

The rudest of any clerks at any store I’ve been to in town. And I visited three times over two years, each time thinking Surely that was a fluke. Surely this store isn’t actually run by jerks. Doesn’t being a knitter make you a friendly, helpful person?

Shows what I know. Another prejudice became apparent to me last week, when a sports car sped into the grocery store parking lot with music pounding out the windows, skidded to a park across SIX spaces, and the driver got out. “He’s such a jerk,” I was thinking, and yes, yes she was. :neutral_face:

You can’t determine yarn weight by comparing two different yarns side by side and eyeing them up. Yarn weight is determined by WPI-wraps per inch. There can be a variance in each category of weight because there is a variance, for example worsted weight yarn can be 9-11wpi, so even though a yarn may look slightly heavier to the naked eye they can fall into the same weight category based on WPI. The other thing that one needs to be aware of is where the yarn is produced because even though wpi uses the imperial system there are 2 imperial systems on the planet and they differ slightly in their weights and measures.