Handspun yardages

A question that I get quite often is; “How much yardage will I get out of this fiber?”

That’s a loaded question. How are you spinning it? Woolen or worsted? Do you spin dense? Do you spin airy? What weight of yarn are you making? What type of fiber is it? How many plies are you doing? And so on.


You just want averages?
Lets add some control here and I’ll give you averages.
Fiber: Average is considered something like Corriedale or Falkland. You will get slightly more yardage out of Merino and slightly less out of Romney
Density of draft: Average is not dense at all. But it’s not super airy. The more air (woolen long draw spinning) in your yarn the more yardage you’ll get. Generally. So think something in between really heavy yarn and super light. Most people fall in this average category. (Obviously, that’s why it’s called average, right?)
Plies: This doesn’t matter a whole lot unless your plying tends to be really dense and with lots of twist (slightly unbalanced). This makes a fine yarn but it will give you slightly less yardage because you’re making the yarn dense. For our purposes here lets assume you’re making a simple low twist single, average 2ply.

Here are your averages for 4 ounces of fiber:
Lace 600-800 yards
Fingering 400-450 Yards
Sport 320-380 yards
DK 260-300 yards
Worsted weight- 200-230 yards
Aran 160-180 yards
Bulky 90-110 yards

Now that I gave you that, let me talk about how to be accurate. You’ve embarked on a sweater project. Gorgeous cabled thing. It’s one sexy piece of knitting and you go by the chart above, buy your fiber, spin your yarn and you’re almost done, just need 6 inches on one sleeve and you’ve run out of yarn….and the fiber has been discontinued in that color….

First solution, always buy at least 4 ounces more than you think you need unless you have your control down to a ‘T’. No. Even if you have your control perfected. I’ve made plenty of BFL, Shetland, and Falkland yarns for sweaters so I pretty well know what 1 lb of fiber is going to get me. I still get extra. I may not spin that last 4 ounces but I get it just in case I mess up or change my mind and want to add length or girth somewhere that I hadn’t originally planned for.

Second solution, spin a sample. Spin, make your control card with your singles and your plied yarn (if you’re plying), wash your yarn and add that to the control card. Now measure the weight against the yardage. Calculate. If you use your control card and you keep your spinning controlled throughout the project, this is the most accurate way to know you’re going to have enough for the project.

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Personal Control Cards

This is something that I talked about in my Craftsy Class.
That’s a $20 off link by the way, just in case you haven’t taken the class yet.
It’s also something that I’ve talked about in my book Spin Control or also formatted for your Kindle. That’s e-print so you can download it now!
It’s something I’ve talked about in many classes. Particularly, if you’ve taken a class with me about having better control of your yarn.


I have a thing for these little Personal Control Cards. I lay more stock in them than I do in WPI guides and Spinner’s Control Cards. I am in no way saying that the tools that are available to us have no value. They absolutely do have value but they’re not magic.

First let’s play.
Take a sample of Wensleydale and spin it. Match it up to the spinner’s control card and check the WPI. Make note of that. Ply it, make notes of how you did that as well. Take a sample of Targhee and spin it the same way matching it up to exactly what you did with the Wensleydale. Now wash them. Let’s test them again for WPI and see where they end up on the Control Cards. Different right? Washing changes everything sometimes. Or changes almost nothing in the case of the Wensleydale.

How taught do you hold your yarn against the Spinner’s Control Card?

How taught is your yarn when you check the WPI?

Most people have their own personal way to hold their fibers when they measure. I have my own personal way too. I can tell you my way but you might find you slip into your own personal default. So what I’m going to suggest is that you have your own default and you stick to it. Unless you’re writing a pattern or an article that needs to be in some kind of standard then you don’t need to worry if your way is a little off the main.

So can you see why I suggest a Personal Control Card?

If I make a sweater in BFL and I want it to be sport weight (I have 2 or 3 sweaters like this), I only need to make my PCC once. I can replicate this yarn as many times as I want by following my own card. If I wanted to switch to a fiber that is not in my own set or a different grist then I need to make a new card when I get the yarn I want. Sometimes just sampling out a fiber to make a yarn will make me 2 or 3 new sample cards. BONUS!
With my control cards I have all the information about the wheel, the TPI (twist per inch, I’ll talk about that another time), and the WPI. I can see exactly how taught my yarn is wrapped on there as a single and match that when I’m testing to see if I’m spinning the same. I then have a plied (unwashed) sample on there so when I ply I can see exactly how I did it and replicate that. Then the washed sample, that’s purely there so I know what yarn I’m going to get in the end. Which you can see in the picture up there that I didn’t add that on yet. This is an extra teaching card and I was making a new set to following me to teaching venues.

If you had your own personal set of cards and you wanted to duplicate a yarn, think how excellent and easy it would be. I’m all for spinning without a plan. Just making some yarn because you want to is one the greatest joys of being a spinner. I’m saying if you want to duplicate and control your spinning, then sampling, documenting, and making PCCs is one of the best ways to go about it.

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Fiber/Pottery Combos

I’m heading off to SPA tomorrow. SPA is an event every winter in Freeport, Maine. I’ve somehow managed to go to all but one of them. And the one I missed I thought I was dying with a stomach flu that wouldn’t go away. Turns out I was pregnant.

Anyway. This is one of my favorite events of the year. It really is. It’s been a long winter of hibernation and this is the first chance I get to get out and see all my fibery friends in one setting. And in a big cozy hotel at that.

This year while my shop spaces was overloaded with pots everywhere and fiber covered all of that, I started to play with combining pots and fibers in pics.


I just couldn’t seem to help myself.


Trust me, there are more pics than these. Way more. I might have gone a little nuts running about with fibers and pottery.


But, I will stop myself here and let you know there are some good things coming. I’m making yarns and fibers that will match the pottery and I’ll have them as gift sets!!! My goal is to have them ready for the website in March/April and so that I can have them for pre-order for Maryland Sheep and Wool the first weekend of April.  Stay tuned!

Now, I’m going to go pack the truck and for those going to SPA, I’ll see you tomorrow!

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Color – Which one?

What color are you? What color speaks to you?
Let’s play a game and find out. Sometimes when you play games you can find out about yourself. Ok, most of the times these games are a little silly but they can also be a fun way to explore some color.

Color Sense Game

I know the game was more about home decor but you can take the test with that in mind or fiber/yarn or just general color feeling.

What color did you end up with? Is it the right one for you? Has taking this test of color made your color feelings something something something?


My color came up green. This was no shock to me. I love green! Sometimes I find a yarn of fiber I need in someone’s booth that I need to try and it doesn’t come in green. That’s ok, I can like other colors but green is the color I love. If they have it in green, I’ll probably choose that.

Part of our fear with color is reaching out to new colors. Do you really need to reach out to new colors? I know people that really stick to one color family or even shades of one color. There is nothing wrong with that. Nothing at all wrong with having a signature color.

Play the games with color, see what you come up with and enjoy color for what it is but try not to let it bog you down with “I should like that”.

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Secrets. All the secrets.
It seems I’m always trying to hide something from you guys. Club is what I’m working on but I can’t show you because so many want to be surprised so I post this:


I’m trying to get ahead of weaving club so I post this:

I’m working on an article or an item for publication so I post something very vague like this:


I don’t know if you realize how many secrets I have to keep from you…. Eventually it’s all brought full color and often with lots of words. Until then, you’ll still be getting lots of vague photos and pictures of Argyle being a goofball.


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Designing on the edge of sanity

A couple of months ago I released a sweater in it’s raw form. Imperfect math and a few problems. I released it for free before my tech editor got her hands on it. Why? Well, I think that’s what a free pattern is worth for one. Once I pay for all the tech editing, it deserves to be a paid for pattern. Two, it’s a really interesting process. If you’ve never designed anything then you may never know the shear terror you feel when you have transferred a full line from your spreadsheet into the pattern, only to have a knitter tell you it’s wrong and you realize that you transferred the WRONG line. Or your math is just off a little bit. You didn’t set up the calculations right in excel for one size. You forgot to update the pattern when you updated the spreadsheet. All kinds of little errors happen. This is why tech editors are worth their weight in gold. Far fewer heart palpitations when someone you trust has fixed all your woopsies.

Clearly I like living on the edge.

So this is the sweater, all done and waiting for a picture debut. In the meantime, I’m going to start spinning this Merino Silk for a solid version of the same sweater.

The multicolored version has been coveted by one of my kids.

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Weaving Club Wrap up 2017 – Part 2

Last week I did the first 3 months of weave club and this week I’m going to wrap up the end of the year.

August – “Seniorita”

Spanish Lace. I debated on this scarf. I like it but I don’t love it. I like how the lace stands out but I don’t think the colors are really me and that’s where some of these fall down for me. I enjoyed weaving it. I love anything that needs all these manipulations to work. It was a fun weave and it’s on my list to redo in colors that I’ll wear more. Eventually this one will get gifted to someone that adores the colors.

October – “Candy Striper”

This is a crazy setup. It takes a bunch of work to get it all set up right. Or at least it does for me to get it worked out and write the pattern so you all can duplicate it easy enough. I like the way the stripes work out so it’s absolutely worth all the set up effort. This one originally started out white and red. I had it in my lap and spilled my tea on it. Which necessitated a dye over since it wasn’t going to come out. Seriously, I’m not allowed to own anything white.

December – “Furrows”

I was walking through my mom’s house to borrow her rotary cutter to trim the ends and she made me stop. It’s such a stunning scarf she had to really look at it. It’s so fun and I love the little bobbles this made. I love when a scarf gets that kind of attention. This one might be my favorite of the year or maybe that’s just because it’s the last one and my new favorite will be February 2018’s offering. We’ll have to wait and see.

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