Monday, November 14, 2016

For Knitting Only?

  There are some keywords that really matter when you're picking a yarn... If it is listed as a craft yarn, you probably don't want to make a garment with it. If it is called a novelty yarn, it will most likely be something with crazy texture that can be hard to work with. Natural and animal fibers can make beautiful garments, but some can be scratchy, and they usually require special care.


  These are all things that can make an online purchase a scary situation! Not being able to feel a yarn before I buy it often leads me to make the "safe" choice of picking a synthetic, inexpensive acrylic. If it ends up being the scratchiest yarn in the world, then you can always make a bag or some doilies with it, right? I have something that's been sitting in my stash for about a year now, being saved for a special project because it turned out to be a really nice yarn. I finally made a decision to use it, and dug it out to get started. That was when I ran into a slight problem... There's no recommended hook size on the label!

yarn, gauge, knitting, crochet, hook size, Plymouth Dreambaby 4 Ply


  Although there are yarns that are labeled as knitting yarn, it doesn't stop you from crocheting with them. Even though this Plymouth Dreambaby 4-Ply wasn't listed as a knitting yarn, it doesn't include crochet gauge on the label. Yup, sometimes they do that to us. So, what do I do?

yarn, gauge, knitting, crochet, hook size, Plymouth Dreambaby 4 Ply


  There are two simple options. One: Search online! I usually go right to the manufacturer's website to find yarn information. However, it didn't help me this time - There's no crochet gauge listed on their site, either! My second thought was to search for patterns using this yarn and check the gauge for them, but that only led me to a distraction. Searching "Dreambaby 4-Ply" gave me tons of results for "Dreambaby DK", which made me go do a side-check to see if this yarn was discontinued. The answer seems to be "no", although the colors available are very limited. And now I was lost looking at the pretty colors available in the other yarn.


  I get easily distracted that way, and the best thing for me to do is walk away from glowing rectangles. I went back to my yarn, which provided option two: Figure it out by the knitting gauge provided! The label tells me that the recommended needles would be a size 3.

yarn, gauge, knitting, crochet, hook size, Plymouth Dreambaby 4 Ply


  All I have to do is use this chart from the Craft Yarn Council to find the corresponding size hook. Size 3 knitting needles are 3.25 MM, which would be a size D-3 crochet hook. See how complicated these American sizes can be? I think it would be easier for hooks and needles to just be labeled by their measurements.

  However, that's a debate for another time. It was easy to find the corresponding hook size, but I had to do a little extra guesswork before I started my project. This yarn is a nylon blend, nice and soft with a good bit of stretch. Because my tension is always a little too tight, I know my work will pucker if I use the recommended hook (or needle) size. Working with a stretchy yarn makes this problem even worse. Since I want a nice lacy fabric that will get the most out of my yarn, I automatically went up two hook sizes before I began.

yarn, gauge, knitting, crochet, hook size, Plymouth Dreambaby 4 Ply


  And of course, I'm still obsessed with making everything in the Love Knot stitch at the moment, so there's the additional problem of trying to find the perfect length for the loops. I'm glad I went up with the hook size, because the closing single crochet stitches of the Love Knots are pretty tight as-is.

yarn, gauge, knitting, crochet, hook size, Plymouth Dreambaby 4 Ply


  I still don't know what the deal is with yarns that claim to be "for knitting", or why some don't have a crochet gauge available. But I do know that with a little research, it doesn't stop you from using them for crochet. It only took me a few minutes to convert that needle size so I could get to work on my next project. A quick search and the forethought to increase the size for my tension saved me from ripping out a lot of guesswork.

yarn, gauge, knitting, crochet, hook size, Plymouth Dreambaby 4 Ply


  The Craft Yarn Council also has this chart which can tell you the recommended hook size based on your yarn weight. That's great, but none of it will stop me from the perpetual problem of starting more projects! The hard part of beginning the pattern is done and over with, so this one is getting put aside as a "weekend" WIP. Like I really need another one.


Happy Crocheting! 

4 comments:

  1. Hello Jenny,
    it's not just annoying when there is no recommended hook size available, I think it's worse when the recommended hook size is not correct. Bought some yarn labeled 3-4mm and ended up crocheting with a 5mm hook (in the end I think a 6mm would have been even better). I was a tad annoyed cause I bought the yarn to combine it with some I already had at home(BTW: same brand - same kind of yarn), and only noticed it when I started the project...
    Happy crocheting,
    Marjan

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Marjan, I think manufacturers push the limits on yarn weight at times. I've had some "worsted" that is closer to DK, and some that is more like bulky (in 10 cm, what was supposed to be 10 stitches turned out 8, with my tight tension). I'm convinced others just use some sort of "universal" measurement for each weight, because it is impossible to match the gauge listed on the label. There's no way they tested it out in a gauge swatch!
      In the end, I'm just happy to play with yarn. These little issues always lead to a learning experience.

      Delete
  2. What? You're meant to check which size hook to use? I just guess! Make a few stitches and switch if I don't like the results, but then again I'm not good at following patterns either so I don't need to worry how big stuff turns out. I guess I have some bad crochet habits.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hmm... Bad habits? Maybe not! There are plenty of 'grandmas' throughout history that crocheted what they wanted without following a pattern. Some might say you're more skilled for being able to eyeball a project like that.
      I mainly check for hook sizes because of my tight tension. It helps save me from cursing at impossible stitches and having to rip out doilies that are stiff enough to be used as dinner plates. Maybe I'm the one with the bad habit!

      Delete

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