Friday, January 6, 2012

RANT: Yarn Weight Classification System

I was all gung-ho to write another RROU, but...I need to vent.

These fucking yarn companies need to get it together.

I am soooooo sick and tired of buying yarn and having to guesstimate what fucking weight they are.

So you're thinking, "but--but---they have labels from the Yarn Council that say what they are!", and you're right, they do for the most part. I will get to that in a moment.

This is the widely accepted weight guide (for yarns >__>) from The Craft Yarn Council:

(click on it to see it better. OKTHX) Although... where the hell is super bulky on here?? O__o
OK, Great. 

So this is from a credited source. If you have ever bought (or seen, for the non-yarnies...) a label on commercially available yarn, you will have seen one of the above icons on a yarn label. 

The main problem is this: these guidelines are not strictly enforced by the manufacturers.

You may or may not know this, but I have a large stash of sock/fingering weight yarns (~70+ individual skeins :P). From brand to brand (hell, even from THE SAME GODDAMNED MANUFACTURER) the width (let's call it density) of the yarn strand is different... sometimes a negligible difference, but most often enough to make you wonder how they could even be in the same category. When I made my nummy Clockwork, I used Knit Picks bare merino, and Crazy Zauberball... both listed as fingering. However, CZ's strands are less dense than KPs... and I had to tighten my CZ sections as a result. 

Some patterns will even acknowledge differences in fingering yarns' density and tell you to use yarns with the same SPI (stitches per inch). Even that good piece of advice doesn't help.I have yarns that are listed to have the same SPI and still there was a difference in density, which of course is ZOMGWTF inducing. 

I am waiting for someone to say "well, Deena, you could use a different needle size to get the same SPI for those yarns!" Think about this following statement: It is impossible for two yarns of different densities to both get the same SPI when worked on the same sized needles. I don't give a shit what anyone says to the contrary. 

This discrepancy is across the board for yarn weights. 

The worst offenders, however, are yarns listed as DK-Aran weight. 

What makes (say) Cascade 220 a worsted?? It gets the same SPI as a DK. Matter of fact, the strands of Malabrigo Silky (listed as DK) are comparable to 220. It's usually just referred to as a worsted....but I have seen it called a "light worsted"....where do you see "light worsted on the goddamned chart??? UNDER DK. Don't call it light worsted; it's confusing as fuck. 

What makes Malabrigo worsted an Aran weight yarn? And if it *is* Aran weight (or "heavy worsted"... dizzy yet??) why the fuck is it named worsted?? In the above chart, they lump worsted and Aran together, which I do not agree with. Aran wt yarns are the perfect medium between worsted and chunky, IMHO. Malabrigo isn't a Aran to me... not dense enough. It is the epitome of worsted weight: it knits up nicely on the listed needle sizes and #7-#8 needles are usually used with them in most patterns with few issues. 

I can go on and on and on... about how my Madelinetosh lace has the same strand width of my Malabrigo sock yarn, but is lighter in terms of overall skein weight...I test knit both on #1 1/2 needles ... got the same SPI for both. Or! What about the time I bought yarn from an indie dyer who got an attitude when I expressed extreme disappointment in getting (what I thought at the time was) DK instead of worsted yarn... she was all like "it is a worsted similar to 220!" It wasn't. It was more of a sport weight, I now know. Matter of fact, it gets the same SPI as Socks that Rocks Mediumweight, knit on #3's.

Adding insult to injury..... to avoid angry bitches like me from assigning blame to them, the Yarn Council has the following disclaimer:

* GUIDELINES ONLY: The above reflect the most commonly used gauges and needle or hook sizes for specific yarn categories.

Seriously??!?? ARRRGGHHHHH >____<

This is madness and it needs to stop. It is so annoying and inconvenient. The Yarn council need to step their shit up and help fix these discrepancies, or else why the fuck are they a counsel, and why bother to publish the damned chart in the first place??. Stay tuned for a (professional and polished) letter to the council regarding this.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. (Previous comment deleted due to ridiculous laziness in checking what the crap auto-correct was doing.)

    Adding to the frustration the fact that I'm a loose knitter. Often my experience becomes like making Nana's verbally handed down cake recipe where you, "just add enough flour til it looks right". Yeah, frustrating. I've learned to take the guidelines with a grain of salt and live by the gauge swatch and I loathe swatching!

    I'd love for the council to tighten up things.


Thanks for the love <3