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Yarn Weight and Ply

When you first start to knit or crochet you can come across many unfamiliar terms. One of the most confusing an be "ply" or "weight". These terms both refer to the thickness of your yarn strand. Traditionally ply described the number of threads used to make up the yarn strand. So if you unwound the end of a 4 ply strand you would have 4 threads, and there would be 8 threads in and 8 ply yarn. Ply is a term used often in NZ and Australia.

This is where weight comes in. Modern manufacturing processes permit yarn to be made using differing techniques and fibres, resulting in different thicknesses with many or few threads to a strand.

2 ply and 3 ply also called lace weight.For a superfine garment, in stocking stitch you would use a 2.00mm knitting needles, but this yarn is more commonly used to make lovely lace pieces like shawls. Lace can be knit on almost any size needle and give a truly wonderful finish. Patterns for this yarn weight an be quite challenging and are not always for the fain hearted. 

4 ply and 5 ply also called sock yarn, baby yarn. The construction of these yarns is a little different. Sock yarn often contains a little nylon to give a sock additional structure. This is often used to make fabulous shawls or hats, and the dyes are often random colours. Self striping yarns will knit up as stripes or fair isle. Baby wool is often machine washable, and soft enough of course, for a baby. And then there are other 4 ply yarns, whih might be suitable for socks or babies, but also make very nice clothing. Usually 3.00mm to 3.75mm knitting needles are used for these yarns.

8 ply, double knit (DK). 3.75 - 4.00 are the needles you would expect to use for this commonly used yarn. Almost anything can be made using 8ply., from hats and handbags, to thick socks, coats and jumpers. Lace cables and stocking stitch will all give a good result.

10 ply and 12 ply, aran, worsted, chunky. There is a wide range of lovely patterns available which use 5.50mm needles. This yarn weight is becoming more popular even in warmer climates now, for smaller, stylish accessories with a unique touch.

14 ply to 20 ply, chunky or superchunky. Using 7.00 mm needles, and upwards, there are even chunky yarns suitable for arm knitting. These are worth trying if you are looking for a little extra challenge. 

 

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Product Profile - Supreme Possum Merino

Newly added to our range, this yarn sits comfortably in the luxury category.

Super soft, super warm, and super light; we're confident that you'll appreciate all of the fine qualities this yarn has to offer.

Possum hair is a by-product of the New Zealand Possum cull. While possums in Australia are native, and a protected species, this is not the case in New Zealand, where they are an introduced species, and with no natural predators, they have proven to an almost unstoppable force in the destruction of the native forests. For this reason, the NZ government has instituted an eradication program.

Their little possum lives are not completely wasted however, as they leave us with this wonderful fibre. Possum hair is quite short, so it is blended with wool, to give a fibre length which is able to be spun, and subsequently, knitted. The 10% Silk content of Supreme Possum Merino, creates a fabric which holds it's shape well, yet drapes wonderfully, giving great versatility in the type of garment which can be made. Use it for a loose, flowing poncho, or for a fitted jumper- it also makes a comfy pair of mitts.

There are many reasons why this yarn is highly sought after. Why not find out for yourself?

 

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What's The Point? Part 2. Straight or Circular?

As well as the many materials knitting needles might be made of, there are also many other factors you can consider when choosing which needles to use. 

Straight needles are the ones you see most often. These are perfect for most pieces, but once you have a large number of stitches or you are working a circular piece, you will be wanting a different needle.

Circular needles can be used instead of straight needles if your piece has a large number of stitches. Simply use each end as if it is a separate needle, and your work falls along the cable in the middle. I find circular needles useful for travelling, as theres less chance of misplacing one needle.Seamless work must be knitted in a circle and this requires a circular needle. Simply choose a needle that has the needed length of cable, cast on, and instead of turning the work at the end of the row, join it at the end and keep on knitting. Knit & Yarn can supply interchangeable knitting needles. These allow you to swap cables and tips for a limitless combination of sizes and lengths. The detachable cable also makes it possible to leave your stitches, without needing a stitch holder. Stocking stitch will require you to knit every row, and garter stitch will require you to knit one row and purl the next. 

DPN or double-pointed needles come in most sizes, in sets of 4 - 6. These look more complicated than a circular needle but they're quite simple to use. Sometimes a circle is too small for a circular needle (baby hats for example), and this is when your dpns are really useful. simply cast on as normal, distribute the stitches evenly between you rneedles, keeping one spare to work on, then knit as normal on two needles, allowing the unused ones to rest until you knit up to them.

The final point to consider when choosing your needles, is a fairly modern one. until recently, all needles were round, but it is possible now, to buy cubic knitting needles, which are square shaped. These provide extra grip, and can give a more even stitch, so if you have difficulty with your tension, it might be well worth considering these as an option. 

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What's The Point? Part 1 Wood or What?

                                                                              

Any knitted item has many qualities that contribute to its finish- the quality of the yarn and type of fibre give texture and drape or elasticity, knitters skill gives dimension and definition, but it can be easy to ignore tension (after all, knitting those 10cm squares can be a pain when you're impatient to get started), and needle type.

 

There are many different types of needle on the market, and at first glance it's easy to think they're just different priced options for pointy things that get the job done, however, choosing the right needles for yourself, and for your project, can be very helpful to give you the expert finish you are looking for. After all, you're investing so much time and creativity into your project, you want the best result you can get.

 

In this post I will discuss the materials your needles might be made from. In my next post, I will discuss the purpose of different needle types.

 

Wood: Wooden knitting needles are often a higher priced option, this is because along with being prettier, they are smooth, and tend to have a perfect point that won't split the yarn while you knit. The smooth surface allows the yarn to slide easily while you knit, perfect for grippy yarns like wool.

 

Bamboo: Bamboo knitting needles are ecofriendly, and while they are similar in many ways to wooden needles, they are grippy, which makes them ideal for slippery yarns like sugarcane and cotton.

 

Metal: Knitting needles made of metal are (obviously) harder to break than those of other materials. They also are harder to bend, so if you're knitting something heavy, then these are the ones for you. 

 

Plastic: plastic knitting needles are generally the least expensive of all options, they tend to be slippery, but are easily broken. They are usually warmer than metal, and more flexible, so they can be best if you have problems with your hands, like arthritis.

 

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Product Profile- Cashmerino, by Debbie Bliss

Available in 4ply baby, and 10ply Aran, this is a very versatile knitting yarn. Debbie Bliss has combined the softness of cashmere, and the strength of merino wool, with hard wearing microfibre to create a machine washable knitting yarn that is suitable for any purpose.

There is an extensive range of colours available, which changes with each season, and a wide variety of knitting patterns from baby to adult, giving you lots of choice with classic or fashion knitting options. 

Our full range of these products is available for purchase online, or contact us at 1300 564 869 or knitnyarn@gmail.com for an appointment to view our shop in person.

 

 

 

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