Monday, 4 January 2010

Checking the thickness of your newly frogged thrifted sweater yarn…

I had a question from Annette about how to check the weight of your newly unravelled yarn. Well, here’s how I do it, but by no means is this a definitive way of finding your yarn thickness!

Here is the grey/blue merino I got from that vile jumper, all newly de-kinked and wound into lots of little balls (isn’t it lovely?):


Now I’m going to wrap it around a ruler. Starting one inch in, wrap your yarn around the ruler – making sure the wraps are touching, but not overlapping until you have covered a whole inch. Mine comes out at 18 wraps per inch (wpi).


Different books, websites, championship knitters often have slightly different ranges for weights of yarn, but generally speaking less than 5 wpi is super bulky, 6-7 is bulky, 8-9 is worsted/aran, 11-12 is dk/sport, 14 is 4-ply/fingering and 16-18 is baby/3-ply.

So, my lovely merino at 18 wpi is 3-ply :)

3-ply is usually knit using 3.25mm (US size 3) needles, so I could knit a tension square, write the gauge on a tag (it should be something like 32 stitches over 40 rows), and attach it to one of the balls so I don’t need to do it later. But I’m lazy. I’ll do it later.

Hope this helps!


*Update* Ok, I caved and did a gauge swatch and it comes out at 30 stitches over 36 rows on 3.25mm. Aha, not so lazy as you thought!


  1. Beccy, you are crazy wonderful. =) Thank you so much for posting this - it shall be my guide. I have to be in Charlottesville tomorrow and plan to visit some Good Wills and, if I can find them, a Thrift Store or two.

  2. thanks, great post - I'm bookmarking this one. How do you dekink the yarn?

  3. Hi Maggie, and thanks!
    To dekink the yarn you need to wrap it around something hard - like a length of wood - then tie a length of yarn tightly around the middle to make a hank. Take it off the wood and wash it gently in soap. Rinse thoroughly, gently wring, and hang somewhere warmish to dry.

    It will dekink easily if you tie something heavy to the hank (I use mugs!) When it is dry wrap it into a ball and you're done!

  4. Anette, you're welcome! Good luck on your thrifty hunting :)