What Are Those Numbers?

If you find this as confusing as I do maybe this article will help!

The Sweaty Knitter, Weaver and Devotee of Other Fiber Arts

Have you ever found a cone of interesting yarn, looked insConesCottonide the cone, read “8/2 cotton,” 10/3 linen or “10/3 wool” and wondered what those numbers mean? It’s the yarn or thread count. The yarn count or thread count is the number of yards of that specific yarn needed to make up one pound of a particular sized fiber (“YPP”).

HandbookThe Handbook of Timesaving Tables for Weavers, Spinners and Dyers (Bettie G. Roth & Chris Schulz, 1993), sets out the yards per pound of various fibers as follows:

YPP Fiber
840 Cotton, spun silk, rayon and acetate
300 Linen, hemp, jute, ramie & wool (cut system)
560 Worsted wool (spun system)
1,600 Wool (run system)

A. Explanation

  • #1 cotton = 840 yards
  • #2 cotton (2x yardage and 1/2 diameter of #1) = 1,680 YPP
  • #3 cotton (3x yardage and 1/3 of diameter of #1) = 2,520 YPP
  • #8 cotton…

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