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Using Wraps Per Inch to Determine Yarn Weight

Often, when we are working with a customer to build a custom yarn to their specifications, we’ll use a method called “wraps per inch” to determine the weight of the yarn as we build it.  This is more reliable than referring to “yards per pound,” because it will yield the same results, no matter what sort of fiber combination we’ve come up with.

To help us out, we have this little cheat sheet on our side of the desk.

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What does this mean?  Well, let’s say we have a yarn, and we want to find out the yarn weight.  Let’s use this house blend, Mum, as an example.

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You start by taking the tail end of the yarn, and holding it in place on a ruler with your thumb.

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Then, start wrapping the yarn around the ruler, not worrying about the tension too much here.

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Counting as you go, keep wrapping the yarn around the ruler, now tightening it up and pushing the wraps together, making sure the first one rests right at the edge of one of the inch markings, like this.

We’re getting close to the next inch marker, so now we’re going to pay attention to how many more wraps we can fit in before we fill up that entire 1-inch space, still counting the wraps as we go.

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Bingo!

This yarn can fit 19 wraps in a 1-inch space, which puts it in the sock/fingering weight category.

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Now what about this next yarn, Coromell?

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According to the label, it’s a worsted weight yarn, which should put us at about 8 or 9 wraps per inch.

We begin wrapping…

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And there we go!  Eight wraps per inch, just as expected.

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That means this yarn should give us a nice, comfortable gauge on a Size 8 needle, like this one.

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You don’t need any special ruler to do this — anything with a 1″ marker will work.

(There is probably even a ruler app for your phone that you can use, simply wrapping the yarn around your phone as you go!)

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