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How much is a pound of yarn?
Well, a pound of yarn is a lot. If you're working with a worsted or DK weight yarn for example, a pound of yarn will be about 1,000 yards. If you're using a very bulky weight yarn it could be only about 400 yards, whereas if you're a sock knitter, a pound will probably yield about 2,000 yards because the yarn is so much lighter.
While a pound may be in the range you're going for if you're embarking on a sweater or a shawl, a pound is usually far more than you'll need for any small or medium-sized project.
To put it in perspective, you're probably used to seeing yarn in either small round balls, or more oblong skeins. These smaller balls are typically 50 grams (which is about a tenth of a pound) and the skeins are usually 100 grams (a little under a quarter-pound).
As a baseline, if you're just shopping for yarn and don't have a specific project in mind, but want to play around with making your own combination and trying out different colors and fibers together, 8 ounces (half a pound) will give you plenty of yarn to work with, probably with some left over.
Is Yarnia yarn only for machine knitters?
No, in fact most of the customers who come in to Yarnia are hand-knitters or crocheters. Certainly machine knitters and weavers will also feel at home amongst the coned yarns that line the shelves, but primarily the custom yarn winding is catered towards building a yarn that will be appropriate for hand-knitting.
What fibers do you have in stock?
Our inventory here at the shop is constantly turning over as we run out of certain yarns and get new ones in, but these are the materials that we always have in stock for you to choose from as you dream up your own yarn creation: (a swatch sampler of all of these can be found here.)
- acrylic novelty yarns
How many strands should I use to make my yarn?
One of the most common questions we get at the shop -- and something you may have been wondering yourself -- is how many strands of our "ingredient" yarns to combine to achieve a certain weight (thickness) of yarn.
Let's say you're using a pattern that calls for DK weight yarn, a little lighter than worsted weight. As you begin to choose your input strands, we have a lot of tools to help you zero in on that DK weight.
A good place to start is to think about whether you have a fiber preference and/or a color preference. If you know you want your yarn to be primarily wool, we can start at that shelf (all of the ingredient yarns are organized by fiber, then by color) and see if there are any colors you're particularly drawn to.
Alternatively, if you know what color you're envisioning but don't care so much about the fiber content, we can take a look at the project you have in mind and recommend what fibers -- bamboo, rayon, or cotton perhaps -- would work nicely, and recommend some good shades of whatever color you're in the mood for.
Once we have that as a starting foundation, we'll build up to the DK weight using between two and six strands, depending on which input yarns we're starting with (some are thread-thin, while others are already fingering weight with just a single strand).
To double-check and make sure we're close to the weight you're looking for, we'll use wraps per inch (WPI) to determine whether your yarn is in the DK range, and then use our yarn balance to figure out how many yards per pound your yarn will be -- another way to confirm its weight.
Of course, if you want to be absolutely sure that you'll get the gauge called for in the pattern, you're more than welcome to have a seat and swatch up a few rows of your yarn before we go ahead and wind it. Many customers like to do this not only to ensure they've got the right number of stitches per inch, but to see what their fantastic color combo will look like knitted up, so there are no surprises.
How many colors should I use?
Again, the best way to judge this is often visually. Our advice is to literally take the strands you're considering and hold them next to each other, giving them a little twist to give an idea of what they will look like when wrapped closely together, as they will be when you work with them. You're also welcome to use any of the hooks or needles that we have here to try out a little swatch of the yarn you're putting together, to makes sure you like how it knits/crochets up!
How many colors "look good" together is definitely a matter of taste. Some people love mixing lots of different colors, even colors that contrast, and seeing the heathered effect this will give in your finished product.
Others prefer to stay in the same color family, and combine strands that are of slightly different shades to give depth to that initial color.
You can also try out adding a strand of metallic, variegated, or novelty yarn to get different color and texture effects in your yarn.
Have fun and play around! Who knew all these combinations were possible...and we're just showing you some of the reds :)
Do you have any yarn that's already "made"? Can I see some examples?
For sure! You can check out dozens of our house blends of yarn, already combined and wound onto an 8 ounce cone for you, in our online shop.
Is your yarn more expensive than "regular" yarn shops?
Actually, because we sell our yarn by the pound, it often works out to be a lot less expensive to your yarn this way. We're using just the raw materials, which we buy in bulk ourselves, and cutting out all the costs of branding, packaging, distributing, etc.
Here's an example: a typical 50g ball of yarn is equivalent to just under 2 ounces (1.75 oz., to be exact). Here are some examples of how much 2 ounces of yarn costs at Yarnia, in some of our most popular fibers:
- Regular Wool: $4.50
- Merino Wool: $5.26
- Cotton: $3.88
- Bamboo: $6.76
- Acrylic: $3.00
- Rayon: $3.76
- Silk: $14.38
What if I want to mix different fibers together? How does the pricing work?
This is a pretty typical request -- and why wouldn't it be? When you mix fibers together, you can often achieve the best of all worlds. To find the price per pound of a blended yarn, we simply take a weighted average of the prices given above.
Yarnia's yarn isn't twisted. Will this affect my knitting?
No, this will not affect the way your finished product looks or acts. Technically, the strands of yarn on your custom cone are not "plied" together, meaning they're not wound onto the cone with a twist. This twist, that you're probably used to seeing in most commercial yarns, is what enables the single strands of yarn to stick together and appear to be one single strand.
Although we do not put any additional twist in the yarn as it is wound onto your cone, all of the plies you choose will be wound at an equal tension -- what this does is not only ensure that each strand is planted on the cone at the same rate, but that it also comes off the cone at the same rate, as you're knitting or crocheting with it.
Another thing to keep in mind is that although the strands are not plied together, each of the input strands you choose is, in itself, plied. When yarn is spun, a twist is put in it to give it strength. All of the "ingredient" yarns you are choosing from are already single-ply (some are even double-ply to begin with). This, in addition to the tensioning, will leave you with a very strong yarn, with as much or as little elasticity as you want, depending on the type of fibers you choose.
Is this the same as knitting from two different skeins of yarn at once?
If the strands you've chosen are all very slippery -- rayon boucle, for example -- it may feel as though you're simply knitting with three separate strands, which perhaps you've tried if you've ever worked from a pattern that directs you to knit from two balls of yarn simultaneously.
Most fibers, however, have a bit of natural adhesion so that even though they are not twisted together, they'll tend to cling to each other as you're knitting, and should not feel too different from working with the twisted commercial yarn that you might be used to. The exceptions to this happen when you choose strands that are very disparate in either weight or tensions.
For example, if you choose a super bulky strand of acrylic boucle and combine it with a very thin strand of wool/nylon: because these two strands are so different in thickness, the amount of room they take up on the cone -- despite the equal tensioning -- is enough to make a noticeable difference and this may cause "loopiness" in the strand as you knit.
Additionally, some of the input yarns already have a bit of elasticity to them.
Same idea here -- although they are tensioned in the winding process, as you pull the finished yarn off the cone while you knit, the elasticity of the yarn will once again become visible and may make your yarn look "kinky." In either of these situations, the yarn may be more difficult to work with but will not affect the look of your finished product in the end!
Keep in mind that this may also be exacerbated if you happen to be a very tight knitter, the reason being that if you are pulling tightly on the strands as you knit, any natural difference in the elasticity of the yarn will be magnified as you knit. If this is becoming a big problem, feel free to bring your yarn into the shop and we'll try to give you some pointers for how to loosen up your tension a bit, which will allow all the different strands of yarn to run fluidly between your fingers.
There is a fantastic article on the TECHknitting blog that addresses this issue, and gives some strategies for how to address these problems if they're giving you headaches.
I have a bunch of cones of yarn at home, myself. Can I combine those with what you have at the store to make a custom blend out of my stash?
Absolutely. We charge 1 cent per yard (in addition to the cost of whatever you're combining it with) to wind it in with your custom yarn.
If I'm combining different types of fiber, how will this affect the washability of the garment?
Just like with commercial yarn, you're going to want to treat your finished product as you would the most delicate of the fibers that contribute to it. For example, if you've made a blend that is 50/50 wool/cotton, you'll want to hand-wash it as you would for wool (cold water, little agitation); or if you've made a blend that has some rayon content, you won't want to throw it into a hot dryer, even if it only makes up 25% of your blend.
Our most heartily washable fibers are cotton, bamboo, hemp, linen, and most acrylics.
I see YPP on all your cones. What does that mean?
"YPP" stands for yards per pound. This number tells you how many yards a certain yarn will yield if you have an entire pound of it. This is helpful in determining how many ounces/pounds of your completed yarn you'll need in order to complete a project, but it is also helpful in determining the weight of a given input yarn.
You may be used to hearing terms like "fingering," "sport," or "worsted," to describe the thickness of your yarn. These terms help to determine what size needles you'll want to use, as well as what sort of gauge you can expect. Each of these categories also corresponds to a range of "yards per pound." For example, if you're trying to create a DK weight yarn, you'll want to be in the 1000-1200 YPP range, whereas a worsted weight is closer to 800-1000 YPP.
These ranges are useful for the following reason: If you're starting with a strand of a merino wool that says 2400 YPP on the label, combining three of those (2400 divided by 3) should yield a final yarn that is around 800 YPP, or a good solid worsted weight.
I hate math. Will I still be able to handle this?
Absolutely. If you're math-y and interested in learning about the wonderful world of fiber, the science of yarn counts, or how a weighted average is calculated, we're happy to empower you with that knowledge. Or if not, you can also hand over your pattern or idea and say, "Tell me what I need to do!" and we'll help you make your perfect yarn.
TECHNIQUE & METHODS
General Knitting & Crocheting Technique Questions
- What are stitch markers used for?
- No tape measure? No problem!
- How to start a circular crochet project...with no hole in the middle!
- Why use circular needles?
- Keeping track of your projects using Evernote
Yarnia-Specific Technique Questions
- How many skeins are in a cone?
- How do you calculate the price per pound?
- How to combat "the loops" in stranded yarn
- How to mix colors
- How to create solid-colored yarns
- What's that lurex stuff, and how do I use it?
- How many strands should I use to make my yarn?
- How much yarn do I need?
What our customers are saying about us...
“Had the pleasure of visiting Yarnia for the first time last week. What a cool place. The interior is really welcoming and encourages you to linger while you decide how you're going to create your own special yarn."
All I will say for now is that I never feel looked down on at Yarnia for my age, for my budget, for me not being a well-known friend/clique member/millionaire - all of which is just the tip of the iceberg with the other places I have had the misfortune of shopping at. Their great customer service and unassuming attitude goes a LONG way for me!Candice B., Vancouver, WA
Yarnia may seem scary to the uninitiated but I bought a cone-end a couple of weeks ago to see what it would be like knitting with unplied yarn and honestly, I really love it, and it was not as hard as it looked to me - the end result is an amazing fabric that will leave you hungering for more.
Yarnia, you are the best! I want for no other LYS.
“This is such a different and wonderful yarn shopping experience! We locals love it and I totally recommend it to anyone traveling through. They have a wonderful selection of yarn on cones (skinny) -- you pick out what you want and the magic machine winds them all together into your unique, self-designed yarn -- just for you. There are plenty of wound combos on cones already for ideas and lots of shop samples so you can see how the yarns knit or crochet up. And the prices are SO FABULOUSLY LOW! Sweater quantities for $30 or less! I love them!”
“I appreciate more than I can tell that you are always willing to help me in making my yarn selections and building my custom yarns. I am still pretty timid with the whole thing but love the concept and so your time and patience and assistance is never taken for granted.”
“I really enjoyed my visit to the store. So many choices, it was hard to pick, but I received wonderful assistance and came away with a gorgeous yarn!”
Of course, the big positive here is that, most of the time, selling the yarn by weight works in the favor of the customer (unless you're used to knitting with 100% silk--actually, it still might work out cheaper than per skein). You can get all the yarn you want for a project at once without getting a 2nd mortgage on your soul.”Clare M., Portland, OR