Just when you thought that you were on top of your knitting lingo, along comes something else to learn. As a beginner knitter, you might just grab whatever yarn and needles come your way, but soon enough you will come to realise that there are differences in yarn weights and indeed in what they are called. For instance you might be using an American pattern, but be based in the UK and wonder what on earth sportweight yarn is in the first place …let alone where you find it, and why aran weight yarn won’t do instead.
The basic reason for needing to use the right weight of yarn is for sizing. If your yarn is too thick or too thin, you can’t get the right tension and your sizing will be out. Because of this, it is important to know about the differences in yarn weights, and what they are variously called.
Here are some general guidelines:
UK – 2-ply/ Lace
US – Baby / Laceweight
UK – 3-ply
US – Light Fingering
UK – 4-ply
US – Fingering
UK – (light-ish DK)
US – Sport weight
UK- Double Knitting
US – Double Knitting / Worsted
UK – (light-ish Aran weight)
US – Worsted
UK – Aran
US – Aran / Fisherman
UK – Bulky
US – Chunky
UK – Superbulky
US – Superchunky
As you can see, sometimes there isn’t a direct equivalent for the yarns, but you can generally make a near- match. Another useful thing to know is that sock weight yarn will be either 3-ply or 4-ply, depending on the manufacturer, but due to its need to wear well, it will often have nylon content or be a superwash wool, which withstands machine washing.
Digital SLR, image copyright Giles Babbidge Photography
If you, like me are not making the most of your digital camera, Giles’ SLR Startup workshop might be just the thing for you.
He’s running four workshops this summer to help improve your photography using a simple, hands-on approach. Using your own camera, Giles will help you to master its key functions so you’re able to consistently get the great results that you want.
The premise is simple: Beginners’ guides assume too much knowledge, which means people reading them often end up none-the-wiser. They don’t want to be bombarded by photo-jargon – they just want to know what they should be doing in order to improve their image making. Is that really so much to ask?
As we know, it is so much easier to learn to knit from a real person and it is just the same with photography. The great thing about these courses is that there is ongoing online support afterwards too, so you can keep in touch.
WWKIP days 2009 are on the 13th and 14th June. I have taken part for the last two years and it has been great fun. The idea is that knitting, a generally solitary act is brought out into the wider sphere. I knit in public most days, especially if I’m travelling on a train or bus, but the collective experience of knitting with a large group of people is entirely different to that (you don’t get the nosy people on trains asking if you’re knitting them a scarf when it is obviously socks for a start!)
I like that it gives a sense of community that I might usually only get when I attend a knitting group, but the thing about WWKIP day is that these are people that I might never have met before. They will have new ideas about knitting, techniques which I’ve never seen before, ways in which they hold the needles that are different to mine, even yarns which I’ve never heard of. I have learned to knit lace and cables, had books and patterns recommended to me and myself, taught three people to knit in past years. It is a time to share ideas and be open to learning new and exciting things.
This year I’m going to be at the Cornershop gallery in Winchester (just behind the Hambledon on St Thomas’ Street) where Linda Newington from Winchester School of Art will have an interactive exhibition of items from the Knitting Reference Library. There will be a knitting lounge, reminiscent of that set up at the In the Loop conference last year. I’ll be there knitting and teaching on both days and also during part of the previous week (more details to follow).
It all looks to be great fun: hope you can join us, or if not please do visit the Knitting Reference Library at WSA if you’re round that way sometime. It holds the collections of knitters and knitting historians Montse Stanley, Richard Rutt and Jane Waller as its basis and is a brilliant resource. There are books, patterns, knitted objects, tools, photographs and magazines. The librarians are really helpful with finding all sorts of weird and wonderful stuff, and it is definitely not to be missed if you’re at all interested in the history of knitting.