Tools & Materials

WPI? WTF?

I’ve noticed that lighter weight yarns have a consistent thickness whether working with luxury natural yarns or inexpensive acrylic.  But Bulky luxury yarn works up much smaller than Bulky acrylic yarn.

For example, I made Mama Ming with Woolike Chunky.  For that project I need to use an I-9/5.5mm hook and about 250g of yarn.  But for Tammy Junior I used a G-6/4.25mm hook and she only took about 150g of Malabrigo Mecha.  Both yarns are classified as Bulky (5).

Why?

Large manufacturers like Lion, Bernat, or Loops & Threads follow the guidelines of the Craft Yarn Council.  CYC bases its guidelines on recommended gauge & needle/hook size.

Luxury and small batch manufactures base their yarn weights on the actual width of the yarn, measured by the wraps per inch (wpi) – the actual number of times you can wrap the yarn around a ruler in 1″.  It is easier to visualize 6 wpi than 1/6th”.

Using wpi instead of recommended gauge/needle size gives a better idea of the yarn.  While the recommended gauge/needle/hook size is similar for both Malabrigo Mecha & Woolike Chunky, the wpi are different:  Malabrigo Mecha: 8 wpi & Woolike Chunky:  5-6wpi.

Since 5-6wpi is the wpi of many Super Bulky yarns, I treat Woolike Chunky as a Super Bulky yarn in my patterns.

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