What is Wraps Per Inch?

With all the information reported on yarn ball bands, you may wonder why many yarns report wraps per inch (wpi).  Wraps per inch can be very helpful if you have yarn without a ball band (perhaps inherited or gifted yarn).  The wraps per inch will help determine the weight of the yarn.  Knowing the yarn weight makes choosing a project or pattern much easier.  Here’s how you measure wraps per inch.

Find an object with a consistent circumference.  A knitting needle works well.  You can also use a pencil or a ruler.  Wrap the yarn around the object for a length of at least one inch.  The yarn strands should be touching with no gaps, but should not be overlapping.  Now count how many yarn strands cover 1 inch of length.  Now you have wraps per inch.  You may wonder why the actual circumference of the object does not matter here.  Wraps per inch is measuring the width of the yarn strands.  Therefore, the total length of yarn it takes to wrap the object for 1 inch will not change the wraps per inch.

In this example, I counted 10 wraps/inch.  Using the wraps per inch measurement, I can figure out the weight of the yarn.

 

017fe56c3e6dedf8a80211d5e57aea1c5eeada4cf4Using the guidelines from the Craftsy website, you can convert wraps per inch (wpi) to yarn weight.

 

Lace weight > 35 wpi

Fingering weight: 19-22 wpi

Sport: 15-18 wpi

DK: 12-14 wpi

Worsted weight: 9-11 wpi

Bulky: 7-8 wpi

Super Bulky: < 6 wpi

I now know this yarn I inherited without a ball band is worsted weight.  Now, I’m ready to pick a project!

How to Avoid a Loose Join in the Round

I learned this simple and effective tip for neater joins at the Wisconsin Sheep and Wool Festival.  I have never been happy with how loose my join looks when starting to knit in the round.  I learned this technique for making a tight connection when first joining stitches for working in the round.

01798052b2fa8d504ca820fdda5c40b389c0754cdfFirst, cast on 1 extra stitch.  I cast on the extra stitch in yellow to help illustrate the technique.

 

 

 

 

 

012829111a45d7340219ceab8699d0b2e091f93d3a_00001Next, slide the extra stitch to the left hand needle.

 

 

 

 

 

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Now, knit the first 2 stitches together (the extra cast-on stitch and the first counted stitch on the left hand needle).

 

 

 

 

 

 

0185e4661af47f298c38a13f47e27d6ebfcc7c91a6_00001The result is a nice tight join at the beginning of the first round.

Avoid Long Floats in Stranded Knitting

In stranded knitting, it is best to avoid long floats or long yarn strands on the back of your work.  These long strands can catch on fingers, or snaps and also look unseemly.  I’ve created these videos to show you how to tack down your floats when you have a long run of stitches in either your dominant color (video 1), or your background color (video 2).  These techniques seem fussy at first, but after your first project, you won’t even have to think about them.