Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Calling all crocheters to "weigh in" on skein of yarn, more labs, more cooking this week

Seraphim asked a great question, and this is my attempt to answer her. If you have experience with crochet/knitting and have used UK standards, please also feel free to "weigh in". I did not realize that when it comes to yarns, there actually is a great deal of difference in American and U.K. terminology.

In G.B. yarn is sold in weights, rather than in skeins.

There are two aspects of yarn weight -- the thickness of the strand and the total weight of the skein or ball.

The U.S. brand yarn I'm using is 100% orlon acrylic fiber 4-ply net weight 4 ounces knitting worsted type. This is American 4-ply, which I believe is different than British 4-ply. In fact, I think that British worsted weight is 10 ply, though I'm not sure why the ply counts are so different. Though worsted is named after a town in England, in England (I believe) they call worsted weight "double-knitting" weight. A 7 ounce skein of worsted American 4 ply comes out to about 198g. That's probably more yarn than is needed for this project. So, I'm guessing that 100grams total weight would be enough to complete the project, plus give you some extra to work with, as it is a small project.

Again, this is a very forgiving crochet exercise, so if you don't have quite the right yarn, it will probably be ok. Since you can make this as large or as small as you like, it's ok if the gauge is a bit different than what I am doing. The main thing to remember is that you do not want any natural fibers, such as wool or cotton, as those will retain moisture too long for the strainer to be effective. You want man made fibers, such as acrylic. Also, you do not want your yarn to be too fine, as the finished product needs to have some thickness and weight to it.

Here's a discussion of yarn weights and British equivalents:

4-ply = Sportweight
Doubleknitting = Worsted
Aran = Fisherman or Medium weight
Chunky = Bulky

Here's a little more explanation:

Worsted Weight - This is by far one of the most common weights you will encounter. Its British equivalent is 10-ply, and is incredibly diverse. It makes great garments, but can also be utilized for throws, blankets, afghans, hats, scarves, mittens... and the list goes on. It's also a great sized weight to learn on, as the stitches aren't too small to see well so the learner can really learn to read the stitch.

Aran Weight - This is a tricky yarn. It's somewhere in between worsted and bulky yarns, but you usually won't find it on the shelves in North American stores. Its name comes from the tradition of knitting Aran sweaters from Ireland and Scotland. Aran yarn is most commonly found in its natural state - an off white and unscoured wool, so it still contains all of its natural greases which make the finished garment more water resistant and insulative.

Worsted weight is what we're going for. So, Seraphim, look for the British equivalent of worsted weight and buy a smaller size to medium size ball of it for this project. I hope that answered your question, but if you're still not sure, leave another comment, and we'll figure it out together.

I am using an American J-10 hook. In G.B., that would be a 4 hook.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, here are American versus British terms for crochet stitches:

British (UK) and American Crochet Terms - by Eva Owsian, BellaOnline's Crochet Editor
British (UK)

Slip Stitch (sl st) Slip Stitch (sl st)
Double Crochet (dc) Single Crochet (sc)
Half Treble (h tr) Half Double Crochet (hdc)
Treble (tr) Double Crochet (dc)
Double Treble (d tr) Treble (tr )
Triple Treble (tr tr) Double Treble (dtr)
Quadruple Treble (q or quad tr) Triple Treble (tr tr)
Quintuple Treble (qt or quint tr) Quadruple Treble (q or quad tr)
Sextuple Treble (s or sext tr) Quintuple Treble (qt or quint tr)
Cast Off Fasten Off
Miss Skip
Tension Guage
Work Straight Work Even
Yarn Over Hook Yarn Over (YO)

We will be doing a half double crochet, which is a British half treble.

This week, we'll be continuing on with our crochet work, doing a little baking, and studying more about the art and science of cooking.

Happy Home Keeping!


Seraphim said...

Thank you for the extra help - I think I will just get started with the yarn I have and see how it goes!!


Elizabeth said...

I'm sure you'll have enough. I made a small one for practice. Now, I'm going to do a larger one for the class. You can always do a small one to get the feel for it and then decide if you want to do a larger one.