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BUILDING A BESPOKE STRAND

Building a bespoke strand to a familiar knitting weight involves some very simple math and the number following the name of the bespoke yarn. This number indicates the bespoke weight and identifies the number of units in the strand. For example, Merino #3 is a bespoke #3 yarn and has three units in a strand. The table below correlates bespoke weights with handknitting weights and suggests a stitch gauge and needle range that would be appropriate for each bespoke weight. A #3 bespoke yarn is thus comparable to a fingering or light sport weight and will knit comfortably between 7.5 and 9.5 stitches per inch in stockinette.

To determine the weight of a mixed strand, add the numbers of each of the yarns in the strand. For example, a strand composed of Merino #3 + Silk #2 + Silk Mohair #1 has six units, is a bespoke #6, and is comparable to a dk or light worsted weight. When building a strand with two yarns, any proportion of one to the other will work nicely, including an even balance. If the strand contains three yarns, aim for a predominate base or an even balance of the base and a second yarn.

To enhance a textured stitch pattern or to create a denser fabric, knit with one unit more than called for by the gauge range in the table. If knitting with a mix, the additional unit should be the base or predominant yarn in the mix.

By its very nature, Silk Mohair offers an exception to these guidelines. In many instances a single unit will behave in a mix as though it were two, introducing density and structure into the fabric. If a mix already contains a unit of Silk Mohair, adding another unit will usually increase the gauge range by two weights rather than one. Thus, a #7 mix of Merino #3 + Silk #2 + Silk Mohair #2 will be best gauged as a #8 strand, while a #7 mix of Merino #4 + Silk #2 + Silk Mohair #1 should be gauged as a #7. This characteristic of the Silk Mohair can be exploited to create cloud-like fabrics that maintain their integrity and texture or denser fabrics perfect for warm outerwear that retain a subtle drape.

Click the button below to download a printable version of this page. You will also find a second page that describes the characteristics of the knitted fabrics produced by bespoke yarns and mixes.

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