Lost Arts studio

A lot of the fiber arts I enjoy are things like tatting, netmaking, chair caning, and even weaving, where people will come up to me when I demonstrate and solemnly tell me, "That's a lost art."

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Location: SW Outer Nowhere, Michigan, United States

On the Internet, nobody knows you're a chicken. (With apologies to Peter Steiner.)

13 February 2010

Breaking the Hat Curse

I have knitted a few hats since I got back into knitting. But each one suffered from the Hat Curse: I could not seem to knit a hat that fit me.

I could knit hats that would fit apples and oranges. I could knit hats that would fit watermelons. I could knit hats that sort of fit me, but made my head look like a mushroom.

So when I started knitting a top-down hat out of the Jo Sharp Silk Road April sent me, it felt like a risk. What if this was yet another cursèd non-fitting hat?

But it looks like this yarn has finally helped me break the hat curse.

It's a plain, ribbed, top-down hat with about three rounds knit plain so the brim turns up automagically and doubles over my ears. I've worn it a couple of times when the temperatures dropped into the teens, and it's just right: not a brain-squeezer, not floppy and loose, just soft and warm and comfortable.

Someone asked me about the weight of the Elegant Yarns' Daphne I'm using to knit the Stargate.

In my project notes on Ravelry, I listed four other yarns that looked to be identical to Daphne.

They said, "Three of the yarns you list say cobweb/1 ply, and the other says lace/2 ply. Can you tell me which it is, please."

From left to right:
  • white DMC 80 tatting thread
  • gray Habu 1/12 silk mohair
  • blue Crystal Palace Kid Merino
  • Elegant Yarns Daphne (looks gray, but click on the photo: that's the optical blending of a green and a lavender ply)
  • cream Misti Alpaca Lace
  • pink DMC 10 Cébélia
  • bottle green Jaggerspun Zephyr
  • purple Malabrigo Lace

Both Daphne and the Jojoland Harmony I bought to use when the Daphne runs out are two-ply yarns, but as I hope you can see from my dark-day picture, at 800+ yards per 50 gram ball, they are closer to a cobweb weight.

Yarn weights are confusing! When you enter a fine yarn on Ravelry, your choice is between "thread", "cobweb/1 ply" and "lace/2 ply". But how fine a yarn looks doesn't match up by ply or even by yards/meters per gram. The fiber and how it was spun makes a huge difference.

I put the yarns in the photo in order of how thick they appeared to me. And looking at the photo, I'd probably reverse the Misti Alpaca and the pink Cébélia. But check out the yards/meters per gram:

DMC size 80 tatting thread 2119
Habu 1/12 silk mohair13.312.1
Crystal Palace Kid Merino9.68.8
Elegant Yarns Daphne17.516
Misti Alpaca Lace8.78
DMC 10 Cébélia5.75.2
Jaggerspun Zephyr11.110.1
Malabrigo Lace9.49.4

Were you surprised? I was!

I won't even put ply in this table, because then it just gets silly. DMC 80 is 6-ply, and Cébélia is 3-ply. I think the Malabrigo is a single, and the rest are 2-ply.

Like I said. Silly.

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Blogger Virginia said...

Wow. That is really interesting about the different weights/ply/yardage per gram stuff.

Thanks for the explanation!

6:43 PM  
Blogger Roxie said...

Oh, and then there's the whole issue of fiber weight. Cotton WEIGHS more than mohair, even if they both knit to the same gauge. You might try the wraps per inch method, but that just drives me nuts trying to get the wraps close but not too close. Sometimes, you just gott knit those crappy gauge swatches.

7:06 PM  
Blogger Donna Lee said...

I agree. Yarn weight confuses me. I bought some "laceweight" but it looks so much thinner than I expected. I guess I should look at wpi.

I hate hats. I hate the way they make my head feel. I am in the process of making myself another in a series of hats....

7:26 PM  
Blogger Knitting Linguist said...

Yes, indeed! Now that I'm spinning, I understand even better the lack of a relationship between number of plys and weight of yarn. Interesting.

I'm glad that you broke the hat curse (and I love the accent on cursed -- well done). :)

8:31 PM  
Blogger Hobbygåsa said...

So glad you finally got a lovely hat for yourself! I love hats, I wear them all winter :-) Intersting reading about yarnweights, thank you for making this a bit clearer.

6:57 AM  

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