Does Your Handspun Measure Up?

| 11/19/2018 11:21:00 AM

The question that arises most often in online spinning forums seems to be, “How do I calculate the yardage of my handspun yarn?” People have a variety of answers of course, but some methods lead to less accurate estimates. Below is my preferred method.

Start at the Finish

First, be sure to measure completely finished yarn. This means it has been plied (if that is the end goal), wound off onto the niddy noddy, soaked and snapped/thwacked as applicable, then dried completely. Finishing changes the wpi (wraps per inch, or thickness) and yardage of a yarn significantly, which is one reason why the method of simply counting the wraps while it is freshly wound onto the niddy noddy leads to an inaccurate estimate.

The other reason that the popular method of counting on the niddy noddy doesn’t work well is that not all niddy noddies are made equal. There is no standard size for a niddy noddy, so yours may measure anywhere from 1.5 to 2 yards. To add to that, we spinners aren’t perfect either. How tightly you wrap and where you position your wraps will affect your measurement. Lastly, fibers vary widely. The amount of stretch (or lack thereof) varies widely between fiber types, affecting skein length.

different wools affect skein length 

Photo credit: Jen Huhta

4 skeins of varying length from the same niddy noddy. From left to right: Wensleydale, Merino/silk, dyed wool, and Gotland.

11/28/2018 12:49:50 PM

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