Monday, January 17, 2011

In Which Deborah Tells Me What To Write

Deborah is in the hizouse! She's working very hard while I goof off on the computer. See how hard she's working?

Why yes, that is knitting she has shoved under her arm. As if I wouldn't notice! Put down the knitting and get back to work, Deborah!

Actually, Deborah is working. She's winding lace yarn. Winding lace yarn is kind of a tedious process and having knitting nearby helps.

I've run out of anything useful to do while Deborah winds yarn (it's hard being the boss) so Deborah suggested that you, the reader, might like some insight into dyeing prep process, especially the thought that goes into something as simple as winding a hank of yarn.

Deborah is prepping silky merino lace today. It comes in a cone weight between 3-6 pounds with approximately 4600 yards per pound (or ypp if you're in the biz).

The first thing we did was figure out how many revolutions on the skein winder she needed to make a 100 gram skein. She took the yards per pound (4600) and divided it by 456g (1 pound) to get the yards per gram. Then she multiplies the yards per gram x 100 (for a 100g) skein. Divide that number by 2 (because my skein winder is 2-yards long) to get to the revolutions per 100g hank. A little convoluted at first, but relatively straight forward, right? Wrong. Projected revolutions per hank is just a starting point.Then we...oy. You know what? The maths iz makin my heads hurt.

Anyway, the projected revolutions per skein is just a starting point. Lots of things can affect a hank. Humidity, the mill lot, whether or not the revolutions counter has been calibrated lately (answer: no), and did I mention humidity?

A 105g hank in St. Louis will weigh less in Phoenix where the humidity is lower. It's one of those wonderful (and sometimes frustrating) properties of wool. It pulls moisture right out of the atmosphere and holds on to it but never feels damp. I'm not messing with the complex complications to figure out how much actual yarn weight there is compared to weight due to humidity, so I just add extra revolutions until I get a hank of yarn with extra weight on it, then I add a few extra revolutions because I'm just that kind of dyer.


  1. Man, that's a lot of math! I'm so glad I don't have to think all those thoughts, because I only know how to spin (a little) with a drop spindle.

  2. Interesting factoid about the humidity. One of those things that makes perfect sense yet I'd never have thought of it.


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