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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have noticed when in Michaels, JoAnns, or hobby Lobby that there are numerous yarns with the "4" on them, yet in looking and feeling them, they seem to be different sizes (diameters) . I was looking for a "3" and wondered if I could use one of the thinner "4"s??
 

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Short answer: probably, but only a swatch - at least 5" square - will tell you for sure.

Long answer: Despite there being 'standards' bearing on yarn thicknesses, it's only in theory. The fact is that not all yarns labeled as #4 are exactly the same thickness. Worse news: yarns of the same brand may vary in thickness ... just due to how much dye stuff is in them!

These remarks apply to every size/weight of yarn.

This is why almost no patterns lack the warning to make a swatch to obtain gauge. It's probably why most of my yarn projects are not fitted garments. No one cares about gauge for scarves, shawls, blankets, etc.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Oh, I see...just something else to confuse the newbies, like me, LOL! Wondered what the deal was about always making swatches. Hmmm....maybe the swatches would be good little blankies...

Thank you!
 

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dotb in mo said:
Oh, I see...just something else to confuse the newbies, like me, LOL! Wondered what the deal was about always making swatches. Hmmm....maybe the swatches would be good little blankies...

Thank you!
Actually, if you're new to the craft, right now is a perfect time for you to train yourself correctly. Do make swatches. Save them and attach them together for an eventual blanket/shawl/stole/whatever. If they're cotton swatches, they can be used as washcloths/dishcloths. If animal fibrer (wool), potholders/hot-pads. Or, if you're the journaling kind, save each swatch to a page with the pattern you used it for, who you gave it to, etc. ... though, now that we have digital cameras, maybe just save a photo of the swatch and use the swatch as above? Sort of have your cake and eat it too!;)
As irksome as swatching may be, it will save you major headaches in the long run. Of course, if your project is a non-fitted item that lies flat and you have a goodly supply of yarn, swatching becomes optional. No one cares if a blanket is bigger or smaller, just that it be cuddly. If you like the texture and drape of the fabric you're making, go with it!

Unfortunately for me, I never heard about swatching until my habits were solidly entrenched. Never saw a pattern book in the first few years of my yarny life. I grab yarn and tool (needles/hook) and begin! I also spend too many hours ripping out and re-doing. Good thing I like the doing so much!
 

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Jessica-Jean said:
dotb in mo said:
Oh, I see...just something else to confuse the newbies, like me, LOL! Wondered what the deal was about always making swatches. Hmmm....maybe the swatches would be good little blankies...

Thank you!
Actually, if you're new to the craft, right now is a perfect time for you to train yourself correctly. Do make swatches. Save them and attach them together for an eventual blanket/shawl/stole/whatever. If they're cotton swatches, they can be used as washcloths/dishcloths. If animal fibrer (wool), potholders/hot-pads. Or, if you're the journaling kind, save each swatch to a page with the pattern you used it for, who you gave it to, etc. ... though, now that we have digital cameras, maybe just save a photo of the swatch and use the swatch as above? Sort of have your cake and eat it too!;)
As irksome as swatching may be, it will save you major headaches in the long run. Of course, if your project is a non-fitted item that lies flat and you have a goodly supply of yarn, swatching becomes optional. No one cares if a blanket is bigger or smaller, just that it be cuddly. If you like the texture and drape of the fabric you're making, go with it!

Unfortunately for me, I never heard about swatching until my habits were solidly entrenched. Never saw a pattern book in the first few years of my yarny life. I grab yarn and tool (needles/hook) and begin! I also spend too many hours ripping out and re-doing. Good thing I like the doing so much!
You sound a lot like the indomitable Elizabeth Zimmerman, knitter extraordinaire. Although she swatched, the idea of being able to pick up the needles and just go by sight is a gift. I've never knitted anything from her books yet but just love to read her. All of the knitters who are here getting stressed out should sit down with her "Knitting without Tears" and just chill. I can't stay tense when in her company, just like having a beloved grannie in the room with you and knitting is just as natural as breathing.
:cool:
 

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FlyingPins said:
Jessica-Jean said:
dotb in mo said:
Oh, I see...just something else to confuse the newbies, like me, LOL! Wondered what the deal was about always making swatches. Hmmm....maybe the swatches would be good little blankies...

Thank you!
Actually, if you're new to the craft, right now is a perfect time for you to train yourself correctly. Do make swatches. Save them and attach them together for an eventual blanket/shawl/stole/whatever. If they're cotton swatches, they can be used as washcloths/dishcloths. If animal fibrer (wool), potholders/hot-pads. Or, if you're the journaling kind, save each swatch to a page with the pattern you used it for, who you gave it to, etc. ... though, now that we have digital cameras, maybe just save a photo of the swatch and use the swatch as above? Sort of have your cake and eat it too!;)
As irksome as swatching may be, it will save you major headaches in the long run. Of course, if your project is a non-fitted item that lies flat and you have a goodly supply of yarn, swatching becomes optional. No one cares if a blanket is bigger or smaller, just that it be cuddly. If you like the texture and drape of the fabric you're making, go with it!

Unfortunately for me, I never heard about swatching until my habits were solidly entrenched. Never saw a pattern book in the first few years of my yarny life. I grab yarn and tool (needles/hook) and begin! I also spend too many hours ripping out and re-doing. Good thing I like the doing so much!
You sound a lot like the indomitable Elizabeth Zimmerman, knitter extraordinaire. Although she swatched, the idea of being able to pick up the needles and just go by sight is a gift. I've never knitted anything from her books yet but just love to read her. All of the knitters who are here getting stressed out should sit down with her "Knitting without Tears" and just chill. I can't stay tense when in her company, just like having a beloved grannie in the room with you and knitting is just as natural as breathing.
:cool:
EZ's my leader. I have knit a few of her 'patterns' and enjoyed the knitting. I love her books!
 

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Experience is a great teacher.The members of KP share theirs making life much easier in my yarn world. I was handed the tools at age 5. Shown how to handle them and read patterns- sorta.
now in my later 70's I have learned techniques that make my finished item much nicer, made easier and in some cases more beautiful thanks to KPers.
Folks like Jessica Jean and others from areas where the society is not quite as disposable make my life more enjoyable daily--Thanks!!!!!!
 

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Do you have a copy of STANDARD YARN WEIGHT SYSTEM? I know it's only a guideline but for me it serves always as a good jumping off place. To answer your question I would do the swatch, maybe have to alter the needle size, but I bet heavy three would do fo light weight four.Give it a try.
http://www.yarnstandards.com
 

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What are you making? If it isn't "fitted" or doesn't have to fit, it doesn't matter. Hats need to fit, scarves or afghans don't. But, your scarf or afghan will be smaller if you use a smaller gauge yarn. One way to change sizes is to use smaller needles and thinner yarn or larger needles and thicker yarn.
I always swatch if something has to fit, but I never keep the swatch I unravel it and use it in my project. If I make scarves, shawls or baby blankets, I never swatch.
 

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RUSTYDANCER66 said:
... Folks like Jessica Jean and others from areas where the society is not quite as disposable make my life more enjoyable daily--Thanks!!!!!!
I wish I could say that the society in which I live were not a 'disposable' one. It's the (sadly) normal North American use-it-and-toss society found in most big cities.
If I, personally, recycle some yarny things, it's me, not my society. If the society as a whole were recycling as much as possible, those recyclable sweaters/blankets/etc. wouldn't be where I find them in the first place. :(

I do my bit, is all.
 

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Jessica-Jean said:
Short answer: probably, but only a swatch - at least 5" square - will tell you for sure.

Long answer: Despite there being 'standards' bearing on yarn thicknesses, it's only in theory. The fact is that not all yarns labeled as #4 are exactly the same thickness. Worse news: yarns of the same brand may vary in thickness ... just due to how much dye stuff is in them!

These remarks apply to every size/weight of yarn.

This is why almost no patterns lack the warning to make a swatch to obtain gauge. It's probably why most of my yarn projects are not fitted garments. No one cares about gauge for scarves, shawls, blankets, etc.
This is one I learned the hard way!
 
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