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Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Measuring Yarn

No matter the weight in grams or ounces, no matter the ply, when you want to find yarn to outfit your pattern (or vice versa), the only measure that matters is yardage.  Most yarn manufacturers, realizing this, will state the yardage of a skein or a ball on the packaging.  But what if they don't?  What if you have oddments left, of unknown vintage, and need to find yardage?

The fastest way would be to use a niddy-noddy, the spinner's friend.  What, you don't own a niddy-noddy?  You don't even know what a niddy-noddy is?

No matter. You've got one built in, and I don't mean the tip-of-the-nose-to-outstretched-thumb gambit.  That's messy, slow, and inaccurate.

Your niddy-noddy is your own good right arm, bent at the elbow.  Grasp the tail of the yarn-to-be-measured between thumb and forefinger.  Make a right-angle bend with your elbow.  With your left hand, wrap the yarn down around your crooked elbow and bring it back up on the inside of your arm, past your thumb, folding it over the yarn tail.

Around and around and around you go, and soon you'll find a nice little rhythm, and you'll be swinging your arm toward your chest to meet the oncoming yarn wrap.  You can count as you do this, or you can count a single set of strands later on, when you've reached the end of your string and have taken this nice little skein off your arm.

With any handy scrap of yarn, tie the skein at top and bottom to prevent its unraveling.  Hold the skein at top and at bottom, give a few twists, then pull one end loosely through the other to secure it.

All that remains is to run a tape measure around that loop from your thumb to the bottom of your crooked elbow and back to thumb.  Most likely it will measure something like 28 inches or so.  Multiply that number by the number of wraps (a single set of strands), divide by 36, and you have your yardage.  Works every time.

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