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05 March 2005

What's the meaning of this?

I've been plagued with a question about yarn since Christmas and it's been getting bigger.   Googling hasn't provided the answer.

The seed was planted when I purchased the yarn for this shawl.  You'll see that I used Mountain Colors 4/8s wool.  Mountain Colors' Yarn Styles page tells me that it is a "good basic worsted weight yarn."

In my google attempts, I have visited Mielke's Fiber Arts site where I found yarns referenced as 8/2, 7/4, 3/2, 5/2, 10/2 and 20/2.

And the question grows when, in those vintage patterns I've been looking at, the specified material is pearl cotton, sizes 3 or 5.

What in the world do those numbers mean?  I know they must have a meaning, but I can't find a thing.  Does it have something to do with the spinning of the yarn, particularly the numbers like 8/2 and 4/8?  Someone help me, please!

Comments

Yes! It has to do with the spinning of the yarn! I wondered the same thing myself and then found a page that described what it meant:

http://www.cara4webshopping.com/cara_free/yarn-wts.htm

I'm sure there's a better page out there but that one did a pretty good job of explaining...

I know that in the pearl cotton realm, the higher numbers mean thinner. Hence, #3 would be thicker than #5. #30 (which is the thinnest I have), is quite thin.

Check out the DMC website as well...they have their complete color charts for size 3 and size 5 pearl cotton (I googled "DMC pearl cotton size 3" etc.)

http://www.dmc-usa.com/references/pearl_cotton_skein3_colors.php

http://www.dmc-usa.com/references/pearl_cotton_skein5_colors.php

All I can add is that when I see that description of Mountain Colors ("a good basic worsted"), I could die. That description is obviously put out BY THE COMPANY and it kills me because that yarn is the most scrumptious, soft, gorgeous, beautifully colored stuff I've worked with, and to call it a "good basic" definitely doesn't do it justice. What is wrong with them?

Domestigirl and Christy nailed it pretty well. Size 3 pearl cotton is probably what you could find as 3/2 cotton today (approx 1260 ypp). Similarly, size 5 is probably 5/2 cotton (approx. 2100 ypp). They're pretty fine stuff compared to what most of today's knitters use. You can find these yarns at places like Halcyon (http://www.halcyonyarn.com) where a 1 lb. cone goes for a little more than $18 USD.
And anything I've knit using Mountain Colors yarn has been just wonderful. It's lovely yarn.

There's ALWAYS something new to learn about knitting....thanks for ASKING!

I second Janice! I purchased pearl cotton from Halcyon in a big cone to make Hush-Hush from Knitty, and it's a beautiful yarm. They have a wide selection in all the varieties of weights!

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