Spinning my wheels

Both literally and figuratively. The workload is insane right now, and after complaining bitterly about the 14 hour workdays and how even with working 14 hours I’m still hopelessly behind, it finally occurred to me that I should be really grateful that it’s possible to earn a living this way, even if it now takes 14 hours a day. I also had a huge pang of irony as I finally got up from my desk last night and thought “Wow. I’m so glad that I’m done working for today” and promptly went to clean the living room, restore the kitchen, fire in a load of laundry, put away the groceries, call the phone company, sort the bank account, do the green bin and recycling and take a run at uncovering the dining room table – all while parenting snarky teenagers. (There’s a feminist rant in there somewhere, but I think it’s been done.)

(While I’m at it? Note to teenagers: I am not “cranky”. I am working hard and on several deadlines that support you. There is a very clear difference, and you will understand it when you are 40. I will laugh the laugh of the righteous that day, as I laughed it last night when you told me that you are “too tired” empty the dishwasher. Wait for it.)

As I am hampered by wage earning, the actual spinning of literal wheels has been rather limited – if by limited you understand that I mean that I am not (yet) ready to meet this goal by replacing sleep with spinning. I’ve got a whole bunch of singles spun, and a whole bunch left to go, and all of my bobbins were full. Now, in the interest of making a consistent yarn, I want to do all of my plying at once when I’m done with the singles. Taking the advice of a whole lot of you guys, I’ve wound a bunch of the singles onto a dead sexy toilet paper roll collection, which I have decoratively arranged for you here.

Singlesforflb290109

You can see that what looks like a solid colour on the bobbin is really several colours in the ball, and I think that’s going to be part of the thrill of plying – and I expect plying to be plenty thrilling, let me tell you. February Lady, the project for this yarn, takes about 750 yards (694m) of worsted weight yarn, and the gauge is 18 stitches to 10cm/4″, measured over garter stitch. I’m spinning singles with a mind to making a three ply. That means that three strands of my singles put together should add up to a worsted weight yarn, or at least, what I’m expected to think of as a worsted weight yarn.

In reality, I think of 18sts to 10cm as a heavy worsted. The way I was taught, a worsted hangs out at around 20sts to 10cm, and a yarn that knits nicely at 18 stitches to 10cm is called an Aran. Mind you, I learned my yarn weights way back when dinosaurs roamed the earth, nobody had a cell phone, you had to carry cash and yarn came from the wool department at The Bay. There are days were I cannot understand the current yarn standards at all… they fly in the face of my personal history. I get hives when Aran and Worsted yarn are spoken of in the same breath, as though they are one and the same. (I bet that I’m not alone on that one. I can’t be the only knitter with a little yarn weight OCD.)

Lecture aside, and no matter what you want to call it, I need a yarn that looks great at 18 stitches to 10cm (coughthatsanarancough) and since I didn’t sample this yarn before I spun this much, it should be an exciting surprise to see – once I begin the ply-fest, if that’s what I’m getting. Maybe I’ll need a 4ply. Maybe I’ll do a cabled yarn… oh.. a cabled yarn. That’s sexy. Maybe I’ll chain ply, which is sort of a three ply but not really, but would change the way the colours worked… Maybe… oh yeah… maybe I’ll do a five ply… I’ve never even thought about a 5 ply! Maybe three plys will be too thick…. Maybe I should change the gauge on the sweater and do a three ply no matter what… Maybe…

Maybe I need to finish my singles.

196 thoughts on “Spinning my wheels

  1. Hi Stephanie. While waiting for your blog to post today, I went back to your very first blog entry..and read the comments section. Funny. Did you know someone posted a “free sex” link to the end of the comments. – With all that talk of “willie warmers” for Ken, they probably thought it was a good plug….little did they know….knitters are turned on by yarn…not sex.

  2. I too am old school knitter…my needle sizes are the old ‘Canadian’ sizes. There are very few conversion charts out there and so the only one is the one in my head. 3mm is 11, 4mm is 8 etc.
    Yes you are using an ARAN pattern..go for it.
    My son informed me that he had done his quota of vacuuming for the year…he did his room…same rant different house.

  3. In this hideous weather, I’m glad that you stayed in to spin too. By the way, thank you for inspiring me to learn how to spin.
    Because of you, my first wheel is on order and I just self-taught myself how to navajo ply’ed today.

  4. Seeing as there is a deadline for this project…coming up quickly. *grin* Can I say the pattern is pretty fudgeable with a lesser weight yarn – just need to keep the multiples of 7 in mind for the lace portion. (I’m working on mine in BLMFA – BFL Lite worsted – so this might be more of a heavy DK *snort*, I got guage on 6’s and have a 1000 yards of Lenore colorway. I am knitting as fast as I can to see what happens first- the sweater or lack of yarn!) Spin baby spin *grin* – oh are you telling us that teenagers are as helpful around the house as a 6yr old, 4 yr old and a 2 yr old? (The kitchen floor was mopped kindly this morning by the last with crushed ice he just learned dispenses from the fridge!)

  5. Oh honey, I’m so with you on that feminist rant and I only have teenager wannabes. In Dec when I got that frustrated with my lovely children, I put myself in timeout – retreated to my room (with books and laptop but no knitting needles or other sharp objects) and let them figure out finding a clear place to eat dinner and something to eat. Their dad decided he probably ought to chip in as well.
    And yes, I remember when medium/worsted weight = 20 st to 10cm. And DK was 22 and aran was 18. Should I now start knitting my worsted weight on bigger needles? Make the yarn you like and then fix the gauge on the sweater. How hard can it be? (famous last words)

  6. Whew – it’s always nice to see someone else that’s overwhelmed with work. Not that I should delight in the fact others are just as busy as I am…but I do. Does that make me a bad person?
    By the way, love the dead sexy TP rolls!

  7. I’m starting to get excited when you post about spinning–I’m going to Ottawa in February to pick up a spinning wheel that my godmother is *giving* me because she bought it years ago as just a decoration for her house. Hope I can learn to make yarn as beautiful as yours comes out. At the present time, I still have no idea what you’re talking about ๐Ÿ˜‰

  8. As someone who really didn’t understand or know that there was an aran weight and tried to get gauge by using worsted, then wondering where you could buy aran weight – well, I ended up having to do a lot of math and it didn’t quite work out perfectly. But I do agree that aran is different than worsted (and now I know why they are different!) Thanks so much for your knowledgeable OCD – I no longer hang up on wondering what the difference is.

  9. My kids are still in luck for a little while longer-they need to grow a few more inches before they can reach the dish cabinet to put away said clean dishes from dishwasher.Girl is older and helps more(relative term)than Boy does.I’ll try to start changing that.(Stop laughing!!)The singles are beautiful and no matter what ply you decide to do,it will be perfect for February Lady!-Love the colors,too.Any leftovers would be gladly accepted!!

  10. Just so I’m clear…’maybe I should’ is the new ‘you know what would be fun?’, right?

  11. I am finding it hard to complain at work at the present as well. Too many folks around me are losing their jobs. As for the singles and plying, I find it all fascinating as I have not yet gotten to that stage of my spinning. Heh. Perhaps I should go spin up some more singles so I can learn to ply.

  12. Just listened to a podcast of BBC Woman’s Hour where they were talking about the challenges of ‘boomerang’ kids. Those that leave home and then come back. Sounds like your boomerangs are starting early!
    We had this almost exact discussion earlier today at a knit meet. I learned my yarn weights living in the UK and they don’t really correspond too well to the current ‘standards.’ People think I’m making it up but I’m not (usually)!

  13. I ditto the previous comments about aran v. worsted. Do a swatch, those who do not believe, and you will be converted!
    I also noticed your twitter comment about your 17 year old babysitting. Smirk, and know that babysitting at 17 when one wants to have a life is THE BEST birthcontrol on the planet!

  14. Aran…Worsted… whatever you call it, I never get gauge no matter what yarn or needles I use…

  15. Eek. I suddenly feel as though I’ve shown up at a party in my not-so-delicate undies. I don’t know the first thing about yarn standards, except, um, that laceweight is really really skinny yarn, and fingering is also really really skinny yarn (as in scared me for years to think about knitting with this stuff), but I don’t even know whether the two are the same or different. May I still keep reading this blog? (That’s really a rhetorical question; you’d have to cyberblock me to keep from reading, though I’m sure there’s a way to do that.) Note to self: add “learn about yarn standards” to my New Year’s Resolutions. Thanks as always for the food for thought! Now I’m off to click on that link . . .

  16. Nope, you’re not the only one. Not at all.
    I decided to do Cables and Ribs (cardigan – it’s on Ravelry in my queue, if anyone is desperate to see it). The yarn *claims* to be worsted. Except that it has to knit up at 22 sts in 4 inches of relaxed 3×3 ribbing.
    Who measures gauge on ribbing? And exactly what do you mean by relaxed? Who sets the standard on “relaxed”?
    I got my gauge, though. Yup, with Cascade Eco Wool: aran weight yarn.

  17. Rest assured in just a few short years you will be totally appreciated. Just went to Toronto on the weekend where my 23 year old daughter and her roommate cooked us dinner and where my daughter hugged us to our heart’s content. Hard to believe that when she was 18 she told us she absolutely hated hugs and hated to be touched. I’d bet money that the same happens for your Stephanie.

  18. Nope, you’re not the only one. Not at all.
    I decided to do Cables and Ribs (cardigan – it’s on Ravelry in my queue, if anyone is desperate to see it). The yarn *claims* to be worsted. Except that it is about 137 yards in 50 grams – I call that DK weight. Oh, yeah, and gauge is supposed to be 22 sts in 4 inches of relaxed 3×3 ribbing.
    Who measures gauge on ribbing? And exactly what do you mean by relaxed? Who sets the standard on “relaxed”?
    I got my gauge, though. Yup, with Cascade Eco Wool: aran weight yarn.

  19. I used to spin solid colors, but you’ve changed my mind about multicolored yarn.
    Now I have to wait until the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival to get some multicolored roving.
    The colors you’re spinning are SO beautiful!
    The colors you spun earlier this year softened me up for the change in attitude.
    I can’t WAIT to see it all plyed and find out your strategy for plying.
    I also want to see it knitted up.
    You realize, of course, that you’re doing preliminary research for my first forays into multicolored yarn.
    Good luck!

  20. ADD much, Steph?
    Telling the non-wage-earners that Whatever. It. Is. That. *I*. Do. to keep a roof over their whiny little heads is a never ending process and also? That that money in your college fund? I put it there and if the car stops working? I’m going to take it out so that I can still go and fetch your stinkin groceries. No issues. Nothing to see here. Move along…….

  21. Maybe you have CDO. That’s like OCD, only with the letters in alphabetical order, like they belong.

  22. The new yarn standards drive me bonkers. I don’t see how fingering and laceweight can be in the same category, in anyone’s imagination… nevermind. Don’t get me started on this.

  23. ” – With all that talk of “willie warmers” for Ken, they probably thought it was a good plug….little did they know….knitters are turned on by yarn…not sex.”
    Oi, speak for yourself, Payge!

  24. Nah. It’s not just being oldschool about the weights. I have a real pet peeve for mixing up worsteds, DK’s, and Arans. A dk is NOT a worsted, and a worsted is NOT an aran. THERE IS A DIFFERENCE!!!! ;kjasdflkjhasdfl~!!!!!
    i bought some “aran” yarn for a aran weight sweater, and found out it was worsted. *smacks hand to forehead*. Now its going to be a blanket. ugh. (doesn’t help also that it is in reality, NOT a gold color, but a baby poop green) The joys of living in the middle of nowhere and having to buy yarn online.

  25. Yarn standards? Ha! At least Aran and worsted weight have a neighborly relationship. But defining Sport as Fine, Fingering as SuperFine and totally forgetting that laceweight and gossamer even exist??
    Why did we need every yarn in the world lumped into 5 sizes/fits none categories anyway?
    I agree with Su. Make the yarn that speaks to you. It will all work out. It’s magic!

  26. Oh sweetie, I can tell by looking that your singles will probably be aran weight as a 2 ply. I know you are embracing serendipity but it would make me happy if you would ply just a little and swatch.
    No? That’s ok it’s your yarn and you always knit such pretty things.
    But if a 2 ply is aran then you are so much closer to being done.

  27. I’m with you on the yarn weights. Confuzzles me no end. Aran weight is what you want.
    Where’s the skirt?
    How’s the foot??

  28. Beautiful yarn, can’t wait to see how it plies and knits!
    Ah, yes, “too tired,” “don’t know how,” etc. When my son was 12, I instructed him in the fundamentals of the washer and dryer so he could wash his clothes. With furrowed brow, he claimed that he couldn’t possibly learn something so complicated. I said that if he could play Nintendo, he could operate a washing machine, and that if he wanted clothes to wear, he might as well get started.
    Good luck with handling all the competing priorities, and I hope you get the lady sweater finished by Madrona (for me, that would be a several-month project–your speed is stunning).

  29. Take a deep breath. Inhale. Exhale. Relax. Close your eyes for a full minute. There, don’t you feel a bit better?

  30. Cabled yarns make for the crispest pattern outlines and last the longest, a 3 or more -ply is almost as good. But really, I’d see how much you can crank out of that huge wool pile and then decide. What help is a perfect sized 2×2 cable when you’re 150m short? Ok, one of the grumpy teenagers would probably take that one too, pretty pattern. They tend to graciously accept gifts, just don’t expect them to help any more for it ๐Ÿ˜‰

  31. While it’s hard to believe while in the midst of a gaggle of teens, MandyS and Nancy are rightโ€”they will grow up and turn back into human beings that their parents can enjoy being around.
    You’ll be amazed when you visit an adult daughter and find her doing many of things you nagged about for years: turn off lights, don’t run the water unnecessarily, hang up towelsโ€ฆ
    Don’t give up too soon.

  32. Presbytera, the important distinction is that ‘maybe I should’ only gets Steph into trouble, whereas ‘you know what would be fun’ has sort of a tidal wave effect that Ken and I often find ourselves caught in.
    I’m feeling safe on this one. For the moment.

  33. Toilet paper tubes are so handy! I put a toilet paper roll onto my ball winder, for using with my sock machine, and wind the yarn onto it. Once full, the t.p. tube slides nicely onto one of those paint rollers with the outside fuzzy part removed.The roller is mounted on my work table. The yarn then winds off the tube easily and can be threaded into the sock machine. Your sweater-to-be has all my favourite colours in it. Can’t wait to see it!

  34. You are not hurting your foot with all this spinning are you? You should probably slow down on the cleaning for a while…

  35. I wish that more yarn suppliers would stop trying to make things “simpler” and just change over to describing yarn as wraps per inch. Yes, it will take some experience for most knitters to figure out what the WPI numbers translate into for their personal stitch count, but even having descriptions in the catalogs like “18 wpi (about 8 sts/inch on size [whatever] needles)” would be helpful, even if you know your stitch gauge is almost never what they say it’s going to be.
    (Apparently I knit very loosely, since I always have to go down at least one needle size and sometimes more. Also it depends on what kind of yarn you’re using — whether it’s one where the knitting is supposed to come out dense and solid versus soft and drapey versus lacy.)

  36. I am now a working mom of two teenagers the same age my mom was when she sat down my dad, sis and I and told us that if we didn’t all shape up she was moving BY HERSELF to an apartment where she would only have to clean up and cook for herself.
    I can hear her laughing now…as I try to get my kids to take out the trash, help with the laundry,clean the honey they dripped on the kitchen floor, or any number of basic things around the house.
    Our turn will come…

  37. Heh, teenagers! Now I understand when my mom and aunts used tell us they hoped we have our own teenagers that are just like us…

  38. just a quick note to tell you thank you for the one row scarf — it is my first knitting that I have been able to do since I broke my arm on Election Day in November — I can only do about 5 or 6 rows at a time but I am KNITTING AGAIN!!
    Also throw in a righteous laugh or too to your daughters from me hehehe — isn’t it grand to know they will be more understanding as they grow older

  39. It’s entirely too confusing! I’m a new knitter (2 years) and I see DK is sometimes called “worsted” and, yes, interchanging “worsted” with “aran” drives me nuts.
    My other major pet peeve is calling all yarn ‘wool’. I yell at people for this (friendly-ish).

  40. TOTALLY with you on the Aran 18 sts/Worsted 20sts thing..makes total sense…but then I still have to convert my cm to inches to comprehend that 10 cm of snow(which we are getting a ton of today) is 4 inches and the 25 cm we have gotten so far is 10 inches..errr…I think…I cook with cups and tsp/tbsp too!!!

  41. My husband says that I am not allowed to read your blog when you post about spinning anymore. He says that everytime I do, I start looking at drop spindles and wheels online. Then I do things like remind him that his PS3 cost as much as a good wheel, and that batts cost as much as his nicer games…. Just thought you might get a kick out of my video gamer vs. passionate (newish) knitter thought….

  42. I’m still wrestling with my gauge on the darn sweater. No matter what I do, I’m getting 5 sts/inch with this Malabrigo worsted on US8’s & 9’s. My brain tells me this is not possible, so I am relying on the “MY SWATCH LIED” argument and casting on anyway in the hopes that the lying swatch will have lied in a good way.
    It could happen.
    In some universe…

  43. Ahh how I love the flagrant abuse of a good “maybe”.
    I for one will be eagerly awaiting the outcome of this “maybe” fest.
    Also, am I the only one that was reminded of the end of an episode of SOAP with that last paragraph? Am I the only one that remembers the show SOAP?

  44. I knit my FLS in a fairly heavy worsted and I accidentally knit it one size up (by the time I tried it on and noticed, I couldn’t bear to frog half the sweater). After blocking it turned out beautifully drapey and flattering despite the extra ease. I think it’s a very forgiving pattern and that whatever weight your 3-ply turns out to be will be just right.
    Also, as someone on the other side of the generational divide (I’m 23) I think a lot of my teenage difficulty came from feeling myself maturing in many ways and naturally wanting to be independent, but without having a very clear sense of what that would entail–doing ALL the dishes instead of just the ones you’re forced to, paying for everything you buy, discovering that dusting and ironing are not always optional, etc. Like some of the above commenters, I’m a fan of refusing to enable; realizing that, if you don’t pull your weight, no one else will can be quite a reality check.
    Of course, that plan requires a high threshold for squalor on your part while you wait for them to get desperate enough to do the dishes…

  45. I have been reading your blog for a year and LOVE IT. I have been tempted to comment a number of times but finally just had to today. I am an American in Vancouver, Washington but lived in Ottawa for two years in the 70’s-bought yarn at “The Bay” so your post today rang some bells for me.
    I am not a very brave knitter but have determined to make this my “year of the socks” since I have never ventured there before-and looking forward to the Sock Extravanganza in Portland in August.
    Thank you for a very entertaining blog!

  46. The singles look nice. I’m looking forward to the day when I can decide what yarn weight I’m making and be able to stick to it throughout. I’m pretty new at it and my yarn tends to go from thick to thin and back again.

  47. Hey Stephanie, I don’t know if you read comments this far down but I wanted to give you a heads up on the FLS. It runs quite big – I usually wear a women’s medium (37″-ish) and for this one I made an XS (I forget the measurement) and it fits nicely – but still roomy with plenty of ease.
    I love that pattern – I’m considering making it again – in handspun as well. Have fun!

  48. Not that you have time to be reading BOOKS–so I’ll merely throw the title at you: “Get Out of My Life, But First Could You Drive Me and Nicole to the Mall?” (or Jen, or Tiffany, or some other name I forget)–author is Anthony Wolf. Maybe it can be found on Books on Tape, because it is a SCREAM, but also fairly helpful, about which battles to fight and which to walk away from. As everyone else says, teens do become pleasant adults eventually, and at some point will even admit guilt about how awful they were, and how did you keep from killing them on the spot…
    In the meantime, keep the wine cellar stocked.

  49. I thought there was a difference between Aran and Worsted. Thank you for clarifying. Love the use of TP rolls for holding yarn.

  50. Only 750 yards of yarn? That makes you an XXS. I knew you were petite, but that is just downright *annoyingly* petite for a tall, no-longer-svelte knitter like me! No wonder you make so many sweaters; it only takes you half the yarn I need.
    I always thought that Aran was slightly heavier than worsted, too, so you’re not alone there. Not to worry, you’re allowed to hold to the *real* standards, no matter how much people these days try to lump everything into one untidy category.
    Your spinning is just gorgeous! And don’t worry, you won’t have to wait till you’re 40 to hear your daughter say those blessed, blessed words, “You were right.” It happened for me before my daughter even hit 25. Yours will be there before you know it, and you’ll love the young women they become — after all, they have such a great mom!

  51. So on Twitter I get Stephen Fry, actor, speaker, intellectual and I get Yarnharlot, knitter, spinner and bloody funny knitting woman type … guess which one posts about socks!!!!
    Keep at the spinning which looks way better than mine which currently is boucle\eyelash\fingering\aran …. randomly!

  52. Heh. Given the current weather, literal spinning of the wheels makes my mind jump right to “stuck in the snow”.

  53. Aran and worsted – one of my pet peeves. I like to think of it as an impressive attention to detail, rather than OCD – it makes me feel better. I think you’re too nice to your kids – my mom would have kicked my butt all over the house and then made me go outside and help my dad with ranch stuff if I’d told her I was too tired to do whatever it was she’d come up with for me to do that day. Ah, the good old days.

  54. I have a 1/2 finished FLS that got waylaid with a few other projects. I should probably finish it before spring….. As for your spinning, you inspire me in so many ways. I have been spindling for the last year and my first wheel is on order. Just what I need…another time-suck.

  55. I remember buying wool at the Bay, back when they carried a good selection of yarn and fabric. And it actually was aran–said so on the label, natural fisherman stuff from Ireland. Bought way too much about 20 balls and over time made an aran sweater. Still have it in storage, too scratchy to wear. And just for the record, I never have figured out the different yarn weights.

  56. I don’t know if this is helpful, and I had only boys so maybe that doesn’t count, but they all turned into people again at age 22. Each one of them in turn wrote me a letter of apology at that age. Not sure if girls are on the same timetable, and no, my boys didn’t know their brothers had written those notes. ๐Ÿ™‚ I still have them, tucked into my nightstand where I can read them and smile. It’ll happen. Someday.

  57. The singles are divine! If three ply achieves the proper weight, might you consider a Navajo ply? The color changes are so lovely. Oh, God, how I love spinning and yarn.
    A friend of mine, who grew up completely pampered, was shocked to awaken to dishes in the sink on her first morning of apartment dwelling. Even though your girls are resistant, all that good ‘mom-as-example’ stuff will kick in. They will be so appreciative when it does.
    I only know this because I was once a snotty, ill mannered teenager being raised for independence by a working mom. I have fully recovered and consider my mom one of my dearest friends.

  58. I just giggled at your ‘I’m too tired to empty the dishwasher’ comment. Now that my own children are way past the teenage-age, I find them so funny! My niece and nephews are all between 20-11, and driving their mother (my sister) crazy! It’s just so hysterical, the things they come up with, lucky for her, she’s a betweener herself. Between my age and my children, she remembers the hateful snarkiness and extreme malaisse they had, she also remembers thinking I was just to rigid and grumpy with them… what goes around, comes around…hee hee! Honestly, don’t worry about them, they really do grow up and become your best friends. Besides who else would understand so completely about your other children?? Your children of course!

  59. I just giggled at your ‘I’m too tired to empty the dishwasher’ comment. Now that my own children are way past the teenage-age, I find them so funny! My niece and nephews are all between 20-11, and driving their mother (my sister) crazy! It’s just so hysterical, the things they come up with, lucky for her, she’s a betweener herself. Between my age and my children, she remembers the hateful snarkiness and extreme malaisse they had, she also remembers thinking I was just to rigid and grumpy with them… what goes around, comes around…hee hee! Honestly, don’t worry about them, they really do grow up and become your best friends. Besides who else would understand so completely about your other children?? Your children, of course!

  60. I am putting off going out to shovel (again!) and you don’t have 700 comments, so here goes…..Congratulations on your 5th anniversary; I started reading back in 2005, first the books, then the blog; now it is an essential part of my day.
    I am glad to know that I am not the only one confused by the new yarn labelling rules; I rarely get gauge but still have wonderful sweaters that I am always proud to wear.
    Now for a question….when you have skeins of yarn with no label and forget what size you bought the yarn for, how do you measure the yarn? do you lay it out on the floor and all over the house, or is there a better way? I’m not crazy, I just got carried away at the Sewing Festival a year ago and my memory is not what it used to be. It’s not the same yarn as in the pattern, so weighing it won’t help. BTW, it is the Sunrise Circle sweater that I am doing, and I will go to your archives for inspiration!
    Keep up the great work; and….. teenagers do grow up and get nice again!

  61. Don’t you think that all spinning wheels should come with at least twice as many bobbins as they currently do? I had a moment of pure stupidity this last weekend. I stop in at the Yarn Barn in Lawrence, Kansas (~an hour from my house) and failed to buy more bobbins. Not only did I fail to buy normal sized bobbins, I also failed to buy more jumbo bobbins for the plying head on my Lendrum. I claim my stupidity was the affects of yarn fumes. I’ve only been saying for two months that the next time I was in the Yarn Barn I’d get at least one more Jumbo bobbin and maybe a couple of regular bobbins. Yarn Fumes. It was the Yarn. (Oh wait! I wasn’t going to let on to that. Forget I mentioned it.)
    Melissa
    PS I love the singles you’re spinging.

  62. Don’t you think that all spinning wheels should come with at least twice as many bobbins as they currently do? I had a moment of pure stupidity this last weekend. I stop in at the Yarn Barn in Lawrence, Kansas (~an hour from my house) and failed to buy more bobbins. Not only did I fail to buy normal sized bobbins, I also failed to buy more jumbo bobbins for the plying head on my Lendrum. I claim my stupidity was the affects of yarn fumes. I’ve only been saying for two months that the next time I was in the Yarn Barn I’d get at least one more Jumbo bobbin and maybe a couple of regular bobbins. Yarn Fumes. It was the Yarn. (Oh wait! I wasn’t going to let on to that. Forget I mentioned it.)
    Melissa
    PS I love the singles you’re spinging.

  63. I am putting off going out to shovel (again!) and you don’t have 700 comments, so here goes…..Congratulations on your 5th anniversary; I started reading back in 2005, first the books, then the blog; now it is an essential part of my day.
    I am glad to know that I am not the only one confused by the new yarn labelling rules; I rarely get gauge but still have wonderful sweaters that I am always proud to wear.
    Now for a question….when you have skeins of yarn with no label and forget what size you bought the yarn for, how do you measure the yarn? do you lay it out on the floor and all over the house, or is there a better way? I’m not crazy, I just got carried away at the Sewing Festival a year ago and my memory is not what it used to be. It’s not the same yarn as in the pattern, so weighing it won’t help. BTW, it is the Sunrise Circle sweater that I am doing, and I will go to your archives for inspiration!
    Keep up the great work; and….. teenagers do grow up and get nice again!

  64. So, this is the knitter/spinner equivalent of Xtreme Sport-o-rama, right? I mean, you have two weeks to knit a sweater. Plus ply 750 yards of Aran-weight yarn first (damn straight Aran weight is real!) (I think a standard 3-ply is what you want; don’t do a chained ply). Plus finish spinning the singles first. Plus perform a miracle such that the singles are the correct weight to ply up to be Aran weight.
    I think you might want to try plying a little round about now. Assuming the merlot cupboard is properly stocked first, just in case this ply sampling causes some heretofore unforeseen problem, like not getting anywhere close to gauge.
    And teenagers think we adults live boring lives….

  65. Yarn weights baffle me. I mean, I’m smart enough to figure out this one is for socks and that one is for hunkier things, this one knits fine on threes and that one requires eights, but as for yarn standards as such, it’s all a little fuzzy. For example, I have some llama that measured as heavy worsted, bulky, and one-bigger-than-bulky that I don’t remember, depending on where I looked. I decided it was “Yea so big” and I’d use #8’s.
    Work: I understand. Work days, I work at work and at home and off days I work. work work work work. I’d have a feminist rant about it, but my husband has the same deal. Today I played Civ:Revolutions and didn’t work too much.

  66. O M G ! i remember the Bay Oakville Place having “wool /yarn” Sayelle ….if I’m not mistaken. Im trying to recall what I made …..
    I think mitts or something equally exotic. I do remember a lame sweater that I finally gave away to Amity as an UFO. I have since graduated to Zellers *wink wink*
    cheers!
    Piney ๐Ÿ˜€

  67. How is it we can forget they’ll be teenagers one day when we decide to have them at all?
    Pretty, pretty yarn.

  68. Wow. First time in years that I’ve been reading and there’s less than a 100 comments (well, probably not in the time I’ve taken…)
    just a thought… that’s 18st over garter, right? well, for me at least, 18 st over garter is wider than 18 st in stst…. and that’s why I wore my FLS last winter and frogged it, washed and dried it the other day.
    Yarn weights- when you have to think “so, this is a 10 ply, so that makes it a worsted… no, here it’s aran, no… argh!”
    Also, that’s beautiful wool… really, really gorgeous.

  69. I agree that that gauge is more an Aran weight than a worsted – it kinda annoys me when people aren’t more precise now that we have so many more weight designations than were commonly used back in the dark ages when I started knitting.

  70. When I consider that I have a bunch of “Emerald Aran” yarn from Ireland, and it’s actually DK weight, my brain goes all ‘splody.

  71. Umh, Steph…
    You know the yarn’s going to bloom, right? And didn’t you say you do the long draw? So a lot, probably. Shouldn’t you ply up and wash a few little samples? If 2-ply gives you Aran weight then you’ve probably spun enough. Thought I’d better delurk to mention it. Mine’s easily Aran if I spin it as thick as those pictures look.

  72. At least they are teenagers! I am the same age as you, also working endless hours at home to support the family, and I find myself explaining to my four young ones, ages nine and under, that I have a lot less patience when I have so much work. I hold on to the idea that at least when they are teenagers they will be able to care for their own bodies, clothes, belongings, and so on. Will they do it? That’s another question entirely, and I’ll put that aside for now.

  73. I’ve begun and ended my spinning life spinning singles… I love singles… fat singles, skinny singles… thick-n-thin singles… nubby singles… all singles. I love spinning them and knitting them and never see any reason to go the extra yard and ply. I think your singles are all beautiful.

  74. For the teenagers: Tell them they can leave at any point, but they can only take things they paid for in full and were not given in any part, even as birthday gifts by relatives. They have to leave all clothes (for instance) that were paid for by you behind. Including underwear.

  75. Chiming in, worsted is not aran! I knit a sweater that asked for 18 st/10 cm with worsted, and it’s loose enough that it pills. Don’t go there…

  76. So I guess with the 14 hour workdays, being hopelessly behind and parenting snarky teenagers, this is probably not the best time to ask about the pattern for the Pretty Thing cowl? It is such a Pretty Thing I may be forced to try my own version (but I still like yours better). I have complete empathy with your being behindhand & snarky teenagers.

  77. I realize that there are a number of parents commenting on this blog, and that I may just be considered a “snarky teenager” here, but there is a difference between age and maturity. For example, my cousin and I are the same age(19) and he still lives at home, does no chores, and generally lives off of his parents. Whereas I live in an apartment, split chores with my boyfriend, and am completely self sufficient except for the occasional emergency of fraudulent mechanic. Please don’t characterize the entire age group based on a few individuals.
    On a knitting/crocheting note, I started an afghan four years ago and finally contracted a case of finishitupitis, because my boyfriend said I can’t try making socks until I complete at least one of my other projects. I only have about two more skeins to add (yippee!) So I’m eyeing up some Dream in Color Smooshy. Could someone let me know whether that would be a good beginner sock yarn? Thanks!
    And Stephanie, since I’m new to the Blog, hope the FLS and the ankle both go well, I’ve really enjoyed your books.

  78. Not possessing a yarn winder (gasp, I know, but I have no room for a swift!), I routinely hand wind on t-p rolls (great for the center-pull balls!) Wee monkey gurl has come to think of that as the preferred way. Sigh. The things we inadvertently teach our kids!

  79. The new standard yarn weights are confusing, but I don’t think that’s the issue here. The designer says 18 stitches = 4 inches (10cm) in GARTER, not in stockinette. In the old standard worsted weight yarn, I easily get 18 in garter. I’d get 20 in stockinette on the same needle size. In a real Aran weight, if you knit it to 18 in garter, it would be like armor.

  80. February Sweater – I love that sweater and I think it looks gorgeous on the designer page… However… I saw on Ravelry the looks of it – on many persons – and frankly we have to be careful about the yoke placement on this one. I have a background in fashion design and I feel this design will not suit everyone. I can tell you that this one would not work for me at all – nature has been generous for me in the breast department and I am not sure I want to look bigger than what I am already. Maybe it’s just that knitters should make sure to customize it – longer yoke, etc..

  81. (Not an old school knitter) I had no idea what the difference between worsted and aran was. It has always bugged me. “Why are there two names if it’s the same thing?!” Now I know! Is there somewhere I can find all the different yarn weights? Help me Obi-Wan! You can totally e-mail me if you know: kashurstATgmail

  82. I had four teenagers at the same time. Only saving grace was that 3 of them were boys. Best comment I’ve read lately about parenting, ‘raising teenagers is like nailing jelly to a tree.’

  83. I’m only 30 and I totally agree with you on the yarn weight thing. 20st is worsted, 18 is aran. For me, size 4.5mm needles is for worsted, and size 5.0mm are for aran. End. of. Story. And for what it’s worth, whatever is in between is an annoying gauge that I can never achieve!

  84. Isn’t it amazing how the kids are always to tired to
    – unload the dishwasher
    – clean the catbox
    – take out the trash….
    but never too tired to go out when their friends call at 11 p.m.?

  85. I do remember fabric at Eaton’s….wow.
    What a flash back.
    Damn. My kids are going to be teenagers one day!
    Eek!

  86. I am just finishing the February Lady Sweater in the Large size and found the yarn amount to be wrong — in the wrong way. I used one extra ball of yarn (125 yards). Hope your size is closer to correct. Also, don’t make a 5-ply, that will make the yarn too dense. Commercial Gansey yarn is a 5-ply, but the original yarn used to make a gansey type of sweater was a 3-ply (according to Carol Rhodes, expert in all areas of spinning to reproduce traditional patterns).

  87. Some of us remember Aran weight at Eaton’s, or even Simpsons….
    Oh, just saw above. I’m not the only one.

  88. I had to laugh at the “too tired to empty the dishwasher” comment. Especially since I just had the conversation with my daughters that goes like: “But I don’t feel like feeding the pets”, to which my response is invariably, “And I don’t feel like feeding you…” with a suggestive pause. The pets got fed.

  89. I love reading your comments to your daughters aloud to the young men (20 & 17) at my house. I cannot hope to explain the pleasure it gives me, but I think you understand. And, THEY get the point. ๐Ÿ™‚

  90. I am wondering where the tp went from the rolls…and thinking it might be in use right now in the mouths of a few select teenagers…

  91. Having just accomplished the task of learning to knit in the past year, I have monster gauge issues. I think in one fell swoop of a blog post you solved half of my gauge problems. Thanks, Stephanie. Rock on old-school knitters.

  92. I’m sure your FLS will turn out better than mine … it’s hitting the frogpond this weekend hopefully, and then the two of us have a date with a coffee dyebath. Sounds romantic, yes?

  93. I always enjoy your comments, knitterly and otherwise. I sooooo get the one where you were “done working” but went on to do a whole other shift of domestic work….woman’s work is never done, yada, yada.
    About the teens: I find myself telling mine they’ll remember me someday when THEIR snarky teens refuse to appreciate all their efforts. I just told them tonight when they complained and moaned about whose turn it was to help clean up after dinner (their cleanup bit is so brief, really) that tomorrow night I get to be the kid: I’ll play on the computer and xbox while they actually cook the dinner, call me to the table 10 times while I roll my eyes, and then they’ll clean up the real grime on pots, pans, and countertops…..oh goody we will switch and see who has the last laugh (not me since they’ll probably cook up some hot dogs and call that dinner).

  94. What a great little sweater! I always find so much of interest here. RE: the snarky kids – I know this is a minority opinion, but I really prefer teenagers to babies. Babies wail and teens snark. I know which one I would pick in a heart beat and it’s not the little bundle of joy. Give me a kid with a bad attitude and a bad hair cut any day of the week.

  95. Leaving things to Fate again? All those “maybes”… can’t wait to see what happens.

  96. Hang in there on the long hours – definitely not fun. But, like a few others have noted, I am surrounded by people who have been laid off and every morning I plant a smile on my face and do as much as I can in the hope that I’ll be lucky enough to keep mine. We had several thousand MORE people laid off today in the Puget Sound area. Scary, scary times here in the States.

  97. I don’t have a lot of trouble with the new yarn weights since I’ve only been knitting for four years. What drives me NUTS are patterns that give you a specific brand and yarn with a guage but for those of us who don’t know how guage=type of yarn, trying to find a differnt make of yarn takes an hour of math!!
    And just to let you know, once they quit being teens they become twenties and suddenly you ARE going to get a LOT smarter when they need help out on their own.
    And the best I can tell you since the grandbaby is now 10 months old…..
    Grandchildren are your reward for letting your teenagers live!

  98. How much fiber did you start with? I just started spinning and have no idea what kind of yardage to expect from 4, 8, 12oz of fiber… so far, my couch is covered in 100-200m skeins, ready to make… hats? Trim for other projects? One skein wonders, if I’m lucky. How much fiber does it roughly take to spin enough for a sweater?

  99. It was your earlier plying of a mostly orange fiber and the resulting change in the perceived brightness that brought me to spinning. As a Southern Californian, I just can’t justify a wheel, so I’m using spindles, and find it absorbing. Plying on a spindle, though, isn’t as fun as I’d hoped.
    Maybe once I understand what on earth I’m doing, I’ll enjoy it more.
    Still, I’ll look forward to your plying of this batch of singles, which should make a beautiful yarn.
    And, you are entirely to blame for my growing collection of fiber, spun and un, that is absolutely useless in this climate.
    But, some of it’s darn purty.

  100. I am just darn cranky. We’re in a heat wave here. Normally reasonable temperatures for the summer have increased to 45 degrees celsius second day in a row.

  101. Do a little 2 ply and a little 3 ply sample. 3 ply doesn’t result in a yarn that is hugely thicker than the 2 ply…though with the lace bits in the FLS you might like a 2 ply as it will open the holes up nicely – as you probably already know. Don’t mean to be instructing you on yarn properties:-)

  102. I am just darn cranky. We’re in a heat wave here. Normally reasonable temperatures for the summer have increased to 45 degrees celsius second day in a row. South east Australia.

  103. I know what you mean about weights, the information is exasperatingly confusing and inconsistent. The thing is, if you go by stitches per inch you get into needle size issues, you know, how this needle says size 6 but it’s too big to fit the size 6 hole on this needle sizer but it does fit the size 6 hole on this other needle sizer. I end up with the same kind of cognitive overwhelm I get when I consider the size of the universe.
    This conundrum presents a beautiful opportunity for some knitting math genius (I know you are out there.) to devise a formula that takes into account the actual weight of a precise length of yarn weighed on the atomic clock-like version of scales, the diameter, the number of plies, the degree of twist, the S/Z factors, the spinning ratio, the staple length, the amount of crimp, the number of days between shearings, the age of the sheep, the humidity yesterday at midnight Greenwich Mean, the dye formula โ€” It’s like you say, sometimes you just have to back away from Crazyville. But just think, the yarn makers could submit yarn for size/weight assessment by an objective, scientific entity. Consistency!
    Seriously, how hard can it be. Here is an x axis everyone can agree on. Yarns that fall between these marks are called “cobweb”, between these two marks “lace”, these two “fingering”, etc. In the meantime, why is it so hard for people to come up with a less confusing naming convention like everyone agreeing aran is heavier than worsted and DK is a heavier than sport?
    I don’t think I backed away soon enough.

  104. being a bear of little brain, i can only manage wpi… lucky for me interweave knits has somehow managed to break all the rules by putting wpi for all their project yarns in the back of the magazine… even if i’m not using their patterns i can look up the yarn my pattern calls for and spin(more or less) to match!!! kath

  105. I’m having a vision of you with a blow torch to your laundry pile… the yarn will be beautiful no matter how many plys you have. (plies?) Some day I will learn to spin, but I currently can’t get through what I’m doing so can’t justify another passtime. Good luck!

  106. Kids… You can’t live with them, & you just can’t shoot them! Just kidding. Mine are 31, 30, and the last one I’m “waiting on” is 22… Yep. The last one is a pink one, and I’m still waiting for her to appreciate. The boys have become adult men, much like their father. Wonderful, wonderful miracles! Both are fathers themselves, and who would EVER have guessed it? It does happen. They do become adults. So… I just have to wait a bit more for this last one. It will happen… It will happen!

  107. All your talk about spinning is making me want to pick it up as (another) hobby. Yes, yes I think I will (when.i.can.afford.it)

  108. Joining the crowd: Yes! Aran is not worsted! And don’t get me started on the changes in needle size names just in the last
    forty years.

  109. Seems we Finns get by easier on this one. ๐Ÿ˜€ There’s this one yarn company that has yarns available in pretty much every market, and our yarn weight system goes “Oh, that one [add exotic foreign yarn], it’s a tiny bit heavier than Nalle [the DK brand by Novita].”

  110. I just have to say thank you for your blog. I comment occasionally, and I should really take a lesson from you and talk more about myself on my own blog. But I needed to let you know that sharing your misery, your daily irritations with parenting, the way that wool and knitting can consume hours of thought, and that genuine love goes into a thing made by your own hands – all these things are bringing a great deal of comfort to my heart in times of great uncertainty. I know that I am not alone, and I know that joy is still present in the smiles of my family, the gentle looping of yarn, and a knowledge that the sun rises each day, and there is always hope.
    Thank you. Thank you from the bottom of my own wooly heart.

  111. So, I see I’m not the only one with “issues” about yarn weights. Aran is not worsted, dk is not worsted, dk is not sport. Snarl. Like you, I had my weights all handily filed – worsted = 20st/4in, Aran=18st/4in. On a good day, I might agree that an Aran could be heavy worsted – but only in those catalogs that refused to admit that Aran existed.
    Alisha, you’ll love DIC Smooshy. Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Sock is another good one to start on. Brown Sheep’s Wildfoote is a good one as well, and generally a bargain as sock yarns go.
    SnargleMom – Ravelry. Go to the yarns section, if the yarn is there, you can find out all kinds of stuff about it and then take it from from there. So, let’s say you had a pattern that called for Classic Elite’s Skye Tweed (a sadly missed discontinued yarn) Search on the yarn, and it will tell you that it’s an Aran weight (bless their furry yarny hearts) and how many yards were in a skein. Write that down and figure out how many yards the pattern called for. Then go search on Aran yarns, and see what you can find. Alternatively, search on the pattern and see what other people have used to substitute in.

  112. Notice that the gauge is over *garter stitch* and not stockinette. For me, at least, garter stitch comes out wider than stockinette. So, a yarn getting 20 sts/inch in stockinette (standard for worsted) might really get only 18 sts/inch in garter.

  113. I am glad you are giving us all a chance to roam the archives while you take care of yourself, your work, your house, and your family.
    Sincerely,
    ari

  114. I beg to differ with the very first commenter, above. Knitters are turned on by both yarn *and* sex. Maybe not at the same time.
    Maybe.

  115. Maureen– I live in So Cal, too. I started knitting when I started a volunteer job that had me standing, outdoors, on the Central Coast all year long. I couldn’t stop knitting, and have since conned my husband into the idea of retiring on the North Coast of Oregon. I’ll get plenty of use out of my woolens– once my husband retires!
    In the meantime, there are cotton, linen, rayon, and silk. And socks. Nice socks are wearable in any weather.

  116. Our goal is to make 100 hand-spun skeins per week, somehow this works out to about 250 toilet paper rolls a week. There is never enough yarn in the world. When yarn shop owners ask me what weight our yarn comes in I tell them, regular, beaded and textured “becasue really what is worsted weight anyway”. I’m making up my own measuring system, their response, “oooohh yeah”. Now I feel sort of bad I’m adding to the confusion! We promise that every skein will be different, that is the beauty and nature of handspun. Let’s face it if you wanted perfect yarn just go to a yarn shop!

  117. Our goal is to make 100 hand-spun skeins per week, somehow this works out to about 250 toilet paper rolls a week. There is never enough yarn in the world. When yarn shop owners ask me what weight our yarn comes in I tell them, regular, beaded and textured “because really what is worsted weight anyway”. I’m making up my own measuring system, their response, “oooohh yeah”. Now I feel sort of bad I’m adding to the confusion! We promise that every skein will be different, that is the beauty and nature of handspun. Let’s face it if you wanted perfect yarn just go to a yarn shop!

  118. Most common question at my (UK) knitting group from people looking at their first US patterns – “What’s worsted weight”? We have DK or Aran here…
    To complicate matters, “sport” was used for something that was roughly Aran weight for a while in the 80s, because that’s what the French seem to call Aran and we had a lot of Phildar and Pingouin outlets…

  119. For those of us that never had the opportunity (or luck) to learn the good old ways of yarn weights, could you make us a chart? Or at least direct us to where we could find this information? When, a few years ago, I resumed the knitting I first learned as a child I was confounded by the yarn weights called for in patterns and trying to figure it out using the same chart you linked to. I still am to some degree, but it’s getting better. A chart that breaks it down better than *that other one* would help a lot!

  120. Dude, I learned to knit 4 years ago and I am right there with you on aran/worsted. I don’t know why. But when things are labeled worsted and they’re totally too thin or too thick it really bothers me in a way that I don’t understand.

  121. Oh I’m so with you on yarn weights, but it always seemed to me that what was considered Aran or worsted weight varied from company to company so I usually go by comparing the yardage to weight ratio. (Which I think is the old school way of doing it. At least my Great Aunt did it that way.) The new term that irritates me is the dropping of the term Navajo ply for chained singles or some other term. All the spinners I know understand exactly what you are talking about when you talked about spinning a Navajo plied yarn. I know that supposedly it’s more PC to call it a chained single, but I like the old term. Sigh! I love the colors of your singles and the February Lady Sweater looks great on everyone! I can’t wait to see your yarn!

  122. I learned to knit when I was 4 (?)(it was a long time ago). And as it was in Britain (still is actually), I learned there were 5 weights, 3-ply, 4-ply, DK, aran and chunky. I never heard of this worsted creature until I started surfing the blogosphere. But I agree with a previous poster that DK and Sport are not the same!

  123. “if by limited you understand that I mean that I am not (yet) ready to meet this goal by replacing sleep with spinning.”
    I read this as “replacing sheep with spinning” several times and pondered it for awhile before realizing my error. It makes a cool little sound-of-one-hand-clapping thought puzzle.
    Odd, I know, but thought I’d share it anyway. you write so well that even misreading it makes an interesting text. ๐Ÿ™‚

  124. Aran and worsted are not synonymous to me.
    And I get twitchy every time my mother and sister refer to all yarn as “wool”, no matter what fiber it’s made of. Sigh.
    Your singles look luscious. Can’t wait to see the pretty finished plied product!

  125. I’m with you on yarn weights. I almost universally want to knit my yarn denser (or use a sightly thicker yarn to match a pre-set gauge) than what is recommended.
    I recommend that you don’t look at the WPI counts on Ravelry. Fingering weight is 14wpi? The thought makes me dizzy with confusion. (And leaves my 17 WPI handspun sportweight yarn with a major identity crisis.)

  126. Your singles look so gorgeous. I’m actually going to take up spinning and my dad said he would build me a wheel! This inspires me to light a fire under his butt so it will be done soon!
    Oh and I am a teen my self and I completely agree with you, you aren’t cranky just extremely busy and need a little help. (I get the same speech from my mom and then I know I better help or she’ll really get cranky)

  127. That whole worsted/aran thing makes me a bit itchy, too. I like to think of my yarn in terms of how it knits nicely, rather than by it’s named definition of weight, but people who by my handspun seem to want to know if it’s worsted or what.
    Is this kinda like how women’s pant/skirt sizes in America are in numbers which have little at all to do with our actual measurements? It’s so much more informative to have yarn that’s 12 wpi and a pant size of 29″ than worsted weight yarn and a size 12.
    Anyway, have fun spinning the singles. That sweater is going to turn out fabulous!

  128. I would recommend what Tangled said WAAAAAY up at the top. Ply a little and swatch! The pattern gets gauge over garter stitch which, for me, runs slightly wider than stockinette stitch. You may be looking at a true worsted after all, not an aran.

  129. Regardless which plying technique you use, your yarn will be gorgeous! I can’t wait to see the finished yarn and the start of your sweater.

  130. Yes, Dear Stephanie, as you really do know as well as most of us, it is a blessing that you can live this way, and that you have the wonderful blessing of a body that can do your mind’s bidding, ankle and other minor, very minor, God willing, impediments notwithstanding. Your energy is as wonder-full as your other obvious good stuff.

  131. I love you “sexy” yarn photo! I never thought about the toilet roll thing. Of course I have not spun that much yarn. I can’t wait to see the sweater!!! Great Job so far!!! ๐Ÿ™‚

  132. Hah! Here in the UK I was brought up with needles that ran from 0 (big) to 12 (teeny) and yarn came as 2-ply, 3-ply, 4-ply, DK, Aran or Chunky, and occasionally Super Chunky. “Worsted” was a kind of spinning (alongside “woollen”) rather than a weight! End of. Then the internet arrived and the whole thing went pear-shaped. It took me a good while to work out what worsted was. Now I think of it as a heavy DK. It doesn’t help when manufacturers (I’m looking at you, Rowan – Felted Tweed???) make yarns that don’t fit into the accepted categories in the country. Felted Tweed (sold as DK or sometimes “Light DK”)is scarily similar to Scottish Tweed 4-ply. So much so I’m going to combine the two in a Fair Isle. Aran isn’t Worsted and DK isn’t Sport, but I suppose it gives you a starting point for substitutions and a handy way of frying your brain.

  133. I’m currently making the feb-lady sweater (the last rows of the body are killing me- this is why i prefer a bottom-up pattern!) and I’m making mine in a more ‘stephanie-weight worsted’ (ie. around 20 sts/inch. It just did my swatch, did my math (following YOUR rules!) cast on the closest size (which for me ended up being the next size smaller than matched my measurements) and then started increasing until it fit. I ended up with a measurement somewhere between my normal size and the size below it.
    Don’t forget that the beauty of it being top down is that you can just keep increasing until it fits!
    Don’t give up on it – other than being…um…slightly mindnumbing (what with the ROWS of garter stitch and rediculously repetitive lace on the end) it is a GORGEOUS sweater and your pretty yarn is going to be totally worth it!

  134. Umm I need more spinning classes.. my options for plying technique are:
    don’t over do it.
    don’t wreck the yarn.
    you’re finished when it’s gone or you’re bored..
    yeah I’m limited but I still LOVE IT:P

  135. My 14 year old daughter is on swim team, which menas that four mornings a week I drive her to swim practice. We leave the house at 4:50 a.m. (Tuesday through Friday).
    If she tells me one more time how tired she is because she has to get up early, I will not be held responsible for the rocks that will be found in her suit. She gets home from school at 4:00 and promptly takes a nap. Every day. After dropping her off, I go to the office and generally get home after 6:15 p.m. No nap. “Oh, and mom, can you hem my slacks? tonight.”
    Bite me.
    Thanks for allowing the vent.
    Don’t overdo it. 14 hour work days are tough.

  136. I totally know you know this, but in the interests of saving time, because *I* forget this when I’m trying to make a spinning deadline sometimes… ply a SMALL sample, and finish it, and swatch it. I mean just like 10 yards or something. And I say this because every single time, EVERY SINGLE TIME that I’m totally confident and go and do the whole thing… I’m off. And I can’t believe I skipped it.
    Also, did I tell you the one about the time Edward insisted he couldn’t sweep because we had never taught him to use a broom? No, seriously, that’s what he said. And he totally survived, so I think we’re great parents.

  137. You need to direct your teens to the old Alcatraz Prison Rule #5 and #17. I have them framed on my kitchen wall. Basically, they are to work at whatever they are told to. hahaha.

  138. I cannot keep the “yarn standards” straight and have given up trying. Why can’t all yarn companies/purveyors put the gauge information FRONT AND CENTER on the ball band/skein tag/whatever? And why don’t pattern writers across the pond put in the US equivalents for needle sizes given in cm? I don’t always have my needle sizer handy. End of rant.

  139. Ah teenagers. You do realize that one day soon they will be gone and we’re going to go through Empty Nest Syndrome with you. I see several new books in that future!

  140. I know there’s lots of work to be done yet, but I’m sure I’m not alone in saying I can’t wait to see the sweater! ๐Ÿ˜€

  141. Rarely do I see something that I immediately want to drop everything and knit it for myself. I always find patterns for others. Not so with the February Lady Sweater! I feel the urge to leave work right now, go home and cast it on so I can wear it IN February!

  142. The colors and the spinning are so pretty. What beautiful yarn! No matter how you choose to ply it, it will produce a gorgeous garment. I can’t wait to see it.
    Rosane.

  143. Don’t you wonder sometimes how this all happened to you ? Knitting for your pleasure and knitting for work are two different playing fields aren’t they ? Worsted and Aran have always perplexed me and probably always will but anyway , whatever you get from all your spinning and plying is going to be worth it I’m sure. Love the colours so far . Please show it after you have plyed, thanks .

  144. I agree that aran and worsted are not the same! Aran is wayyy heftier/floofier and needs to be taken separately from worsted which is ever so much drapier.
    Those purple & pink shades are just about my favourite colours ever in the world. I will covet your finished sweater with much jealousy of your mad spinning skills!

  145. It took three straight days to get my oldest to wash the blender. The blender he uses to make protein drinks. It sat in the sink and got moved around. Because of his school and sports schedule we don’t assign household chores to him. Yes, he’s a good kid and gets excellent grades. In two years he goes to college and we can hardly wait because our laundry will go down by two-thirds. Those will be tears of joy we will be shedding.

  146. Stephanie,
    I am not a spinner, so when I read your writings on the topic, I do get a little lost. I will have to find a book or a local spinner to fill me in and show me what all of that really means. Your colors though, are lovely and look forward to seeing the completed February Lady sweater–which from what I sort of get the idea from the spinning info–maybe next weekend? (Kinda kidding, your knitting speed always inspires me to work harder at my knitting)
    I would like to hark back to something you mentioned in an earlier blog—did you not leave your house for ELEVEN DAYS on purpose?, or was the weather to blame? I am on my third day of weather related “house arrest”–going to try to make a run for it today to the library & grocery. Knit on….Rebecca

  147. Amen, sister. The whole aran/worsted thing drives me crazy! 20 stitches is worsted, 18 is aran, there is no confusing the two!

  148. We once had somewhat the same issue with dishes in my family. My mother’s answer to ‘I’m not washing’ was to let the washing go, pile up on the counters, until we had no clean dishes. That day, she announced that she and Dad were going out to dinner, we were welcome to enjoy crackers and apples for dinner. And breakfast.
    We held out for a day, then caved and washed all the dishes. Never complained again.

  149. Totally de-lurking here to mention that I saw a February Lady sweater on someone this weekend that was knitted with what looked like aran weight (and given who the person was, it was probably handspun, though for whatever reason I didn’t think to ask) and it was gorgeous. So, like 4875278527826876287267826786 other people have already said, do what you feel with the yarn for that baby. Hell, you could knit it with dental floss and it would still look good (though, would that be considered fingering or DK now?).

  150. Ah, the joys of parenting teenagers. I don’t have any kids yet, and it is the teenager part that makes me hesitate most. I mean, I do remember what I was like as a teenager, and no one should have to go through it (on either the teen end or the parent end actually).

  151. Yes, I too am from old school GB, and even Aran weight was different from the Arans of today. In days of yore, it was a much denser yarn and totally fuzzless – lasted a lifetime. A sweater I knitted at 21 (over 40 years ago) is still being worn by my DIL. For sure the sleeve ribs are worn out but it still looks good.
    I have a pet peeve about needle sizes, UK versus metric versus US – they all vary, and the 3 needle guages I have appear to measure differently as well. Once we’ve worked through yarn and needle specs – then we have to knit a swatch!!!! How many swtaches have we to knit before we get it right – agh!! I’m surprised we’re all still knitting.
    I’m knitting an Aran weight for a US DK sweater – the only way I could get the width guage (20 sts to 4″ or 10 cms; but 10cms is slightly smaller than 4″!). The height guage is another matter. I’m ignoring it!
    Janet MF

  152. Ooooh Stephanie! I am all awash in wonder and amazement at your optimism and drive ๐Ÿ™‚ Best wishes in getting plied (is that Plyed?) no… plyied? Good luck!
    From the Sock-Shaped State, ==Marjorie

  153. Y’know, I’m in the “under 10 years” category of knitter and I still differentiate between worsted and aran. I find those standards to be overly simplified, which has its usefulness but perhaps not as an industry standard. Kind of like the USDA’s food pyramid and its relationship to nutrition. Ha!
    Your singles are a gorgeous color – I can’t wait to see the transformation to garment.

  154. When you have time, could you share how you do that with the squished toilet paper tubes? Do you put them on my ball-winder as is, and squish them later? Do they stay put or do you have to tape them on? Or do you need to squish them first?
    Any tricks to get them to feed smoothly from a lazy kate when plying?
    I tried wrapping regular paper around my ball-winder, then transfering singles to free up a bobbin. But plying from it was hard — it wobbled badly, so the singles wrapped around the pole of the lazy kate, and I had to keep stopping to untangle the mess of twisty singles (much harder than yarn with balanced twist).
    Many thanks!

  155. FYI – I’m knitting February Lady right now, in Elann’s Peruvian wool. I did not like the fabric at 18 sts/4″, so I dropped a needle size and went up a pattern size. So far, my strategy appears to be working. Good luck with yours!

  156. As a sociologist who is gearing up for this term’s “Gender” lecture – this experience, m’dear, is called “the second shift” ๐Ÿ™‚ See – I get my jollies with soc and yarn all in the same day ๐Ÿ™‚

  157. Hang in there woman!!!! I know when I get super busy, a knit row here or there is the only thing that keeps me from selling my children off to the highest bidder!!!! (and my husband, come to think of it.)

  158. Grumble Grumble rant Grumble
    I am not the only adult in the house. I should not be the only adult cleaning the (blank). (Especially when I’m the adult working more just this minute)
    (The 6 year old gets a slight reprieve because of height issues. And I’m lazy.)
    Grumble Grumble rant Grumble
    Which might explain why I’ve been hiding in books these last few evenings. What dishes? Bathroom isn’t really moldy yet!

  159. I, too am looking forward to the laugh of righteousness (how old do the teens have to get?) as much as I miss the Eaton’s wool department and look forward to my first taste of spinning next month.
    If it weren’t for knitting, it’d all be chores.

  160. I must be even more off the norm than I thought. My go-to merino, Aurora 8, is described as light worsted, and I knit it at 18 stitches to the inch. And what is “heavy worsted”?
    I’ve been knitting since I was little, but I never figured out yarn weights till recently (if then). Maybe because “doubleknit” aka “dk” sounds like a knitting technique, “worsted” sounds like a fiber, and “aran” sounds like a sweater style? Who came up with these weird names, anyway?

  161. The dead-sexy toilet paper rolls have me jonesing to go swift up some yarn, darlin!
    Anyway, I’ve got you on the cranky teenagers… last night, after my daughter interupted my reading the same paragraph six times, I snarled at her, “If I did to you what you just did to me, you wouldn’t talk to me for a MONTH!”
    She didn’t talk to me for the rest of the night–it was good enough.

  162. Oh dear – something else for me to save. In case I ever need it. Like string, brown paper, scraps of paper, etc.
    I had no idea.
    Hanging head – I took about a dozen empty toilet paper rolls out to the green composting bin yesterday. (It conjures up something less pleasant if they are called “used tp rolls”.)
    Janey

  163. I just finished knitting this sweater with some yarn that friends brought over from Australia. It is a fun knit and works up quickly. I love this sweater….hope to see you again soon in Maryland….Rhonda

  164. Well, garter stitch does tend to spread out sideways, compared to st st, which is what most gauges call for. (Why do patterns that are either heavily cabled or very lacy call for a st st gauge swatch? You cannot tell based on st st if you will get gauge in a cable pattern that has half again as many sts to the unit of measure. But I digress.) So maybe it really is supposed to be worsted weight… or maybe not.
    Speaking of units of measure, Tish, you spoke English (yards followed by meters, instead of the other way around).
    Your yarn is stunning. I covet it.

  165. I totally agree with you on the Aran/worsted thing. I was the yarn buyer at Lewiscraft years ago and worsted was always 20 sts and Aran was 18.

  166. I managed to exist to 40+ with worsted being a type of woolen cloth. Yarn came in 2-ply, fingering, 4 ply, dk, aran and chunky. I still can’t get my brain around worsted.

  167. I agree that 18sts to 10cm is an aran.
    I also think that if the guage of your yarn turns out to be significantly different, you might find another sweater pattern that will work well and really show it off. Maybe not by the 12th but who knows.

  168. Oh dear – something else for me to save. In case I ever need it. Like string, brown paper, scraps of paper, etc.
    Empty toilet paper rolls – I had no idea.
    Hanging head and confessing – I took about a dozen empty toilet paper rolls out to the green composting bin yesterday. (It conjures up something less pleasant if they are called “used” tp rolls.)
    (wasteful) Janey

  169. Yarn weight OCD? I wish all yarns were just labeled in WPI (do you use WPC, I wonder?) That would take ALL the guesswork out of yarn weights.
    And I only learned to knit a few years ago…

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