View Full Version : Light fingering close to laceweight?US lace knitters please?

05-04-2007, 06:24 AM
Laceweight wool is damn near impossible to find in New Zealand. We call it 2-ply.
Fingering wool is what we call 3 or 4-ply. I am wondering about buying some 3-ply to use for lace. I realise anything can be lace depending on the stitches used and needle size, but what would you think about using 3-ply for standard lace - e.g. the Peacock shawl, Print O' the Wave, etc.?

For reference, Rowan 4-ply soft is a exactly what I'd consider a 4-ply and while 3-ply is supposedly usable for socks according to some definitions, it's very noticeably thinner (far too thin for socks IMO).

2-ply is about 32-34 stitches/10cm, 3-ply about 32 st., and 4-ply about 28. 3-ply should be fine for lace without making a noticeable or important difference right?

Thanks heaps! I really want to do some pretty lace!


05-04-2007, 08:22 AM
I do not profess to be an expert of any sort; somebody with more knowledge than I will probably give you a better answer than me. :wink:

But what I thought was if you can compare yarn weights (not the thickness, but the actual weight), maybe that would help. What I did was to take the yarn weights (yards per pound) of the top four yarns--cobweb, lace, baby, and fingering--and divide their yards per pound by 16 to give me the yards per ounce.

Cobweb: the yds./lb. is 6,000+, so it's 375 yds./oz.
Lace: yds./lb. is 3,000-6,000, so it's 187-375 yds./oz.
Baby: yds./lb. is 2,400-3,000, so it's 150-187 yds./oz.
Fingering: yds./lb. is 1,800-2,400, so it's 112-150 yds./oz.

If my math is correct :ick: (per this (http://www.yarns-and.com/yarnto.htm) web page), then here's some metric measurements:

Cobweb: the m/100g is 1,208, so it's 12 m/1g
Lace: the m/100g is 604-1,208, so it's 6-12 m/1g
Baby: the m/100g is 466-604, so it's 4.6-6 m/1g
Fingering: the m/100g is 362-466, so it's 3.6-4.6 m/1g

You can always go by wraps per inch (WPI), too:
Lace: 35+
Fingering: 19-22

I hope this may be of some help, and that my calculations are correct. :pray:

05-04-2007, 09:05 AM
I got the yarn weights of yards per pound here (http://www.prairiewool.com/faq.html); looks like their WPI is different from KnitPicks (http://www.knitpicks.com/images/pdf/WPI_tutorial.pdf) :??

05-04-2007, 09:16 AM
I would think you could use the 3 ply for lace. Since it's a little thicker and you'll probably want to use larger needles, your FO will be a bit larger unless you adjust, like leaving out a pattern repeat or whatever, according to the pattern.


05-04-2007, 10:21 AM
Thanks... it's from a seller on TradeMe so I won't ask her to unravel the balls and give me a wpi measurement. And I think meterage/gram depends on fibre content.
Actually 3-ply is often called baby here, but baby can be 4- or 2-ply also (I think). So complicated... I will give it a go anyway. There's so much room for subjectivity! But I don't think I will have big problems from using this 3-ply, just a slight difference at the most.
Thanks cookworm for doing all that math in reply to a post! :muah:
Any way I did score some 2-ply a few days ago so I'm not totally screwed.

Thanks guys

05-04-2007, 10:39 AM
I have the victorian lace today book, and most of the patterns actually call for yarn a little heavier than most laceweight yarns. You should be fine :)

05-04-2007, 12:46 PM
There is some overlap between light fingering weights and laceweights. There are yarns labeled laceweight (Icelandic laceweight comes to mind) that are almost fingering and fingering weight yarns that are close to laceweight. Brown Sheep's Nature Spun fingering is extremely fine for a fingering and could be substituted for laceweight.

I use the yardage per weight system also to evaluate yarns that I am considering purchasing online. It is not perfect because some fibers are heavier than others. WPI is supposed to be more accurate but obviously you need a sample to do that since it's not something that is usually included in the information.

There can be a tremendous difference between different laceweights also. For instance I knit a shawl that was designed for Icelandic laceweight with Jaggerspun Superfine Merino which as it turns out is a much lighter laceweight. The shawl is a bit too small as a result. So in a lot of cases I think you can substitute a fingering weight yarn and actually be better off as it is usually better for a shawl to be slightly too large than too small.

05-04-2007, 06:04 PM
Fingering weight is slightly thicker than most laceweight, but if you found some REALLY thin fingering, it MIGHT work for your project.

05-05-2007, 08:48 PM
Redwitch... thanks for asking this question, I have been having this exact same issue for the last week - I've just cast on for Print O The Waves, and by golly, it's incredibly hard to find laceweight yarns here too.

As they say, great minds and all :teehee:

05-06-2007, 09:27 AM
Hi babe, I have seen bits of nice stuff here on Trademe, your version's eBay.au right? maybe try there?


05-06-2007, 11:40 AM
Honestly, I think most patterns written for laceweight yarn can be done with fingering instead. Personally, I would do a swatch and see how much it was going to add to the overall shawl. In most cases it's not going to be so much that it requires adjustment in the pattern. The needle size you use will make a difference also.

For instance, if the pattern calls for laceweight with size 5 (3.75 mm) needles you could consider using fingering weight with size 6 (4 mm) instead of 7 (4.5 mm) if you are worried about it being too big. I don't think going from laceweight to fingering weight is a big stretch. I have seen people take a pattern written for fingering weight and try to use worsted weight and that's a whole different story!

05-07-2007, 08:23 PM
Thanks Sarah... I'm not an internet shopper and didn't even think of trying Ebay. I usually like to see/feel what I'm getting first, but I will definately have a trawl through ebay.

Are you guys having an inordinately warm autumn over there too? I'm starting to wonder what I'm going to do with all the stuff that I'm knitting nowdays, if we are never gonna get a cold snap :teehee:

05-07-2007, 09:24 PM
I've been able to get some stuff on Trademe that would never be seen in the shops, or is sold much cheaper - like Cleckheaton Merino Supreme for $3 per ball instead of $7 (adds up when you're buying 20 balls!). Some Opal especially which is in sporadic and limited supply here in shops.
I started knitting about 10 months ago so it's my first winter as a knitter with some nice knitted things. I can't wait! Which city are you in? A few weeks ago it started to get seriously cold, enough that I had to close my bedroom window at night, I was expecting to have to drag out the heater soon but that hasn't become necessary yet. Actually I think the weather has improved over the last couple of weeks, compared to the cold and rain I think was around for a few weeks before that (not that it's summer-warm now).
We may have to start knitting with cotton and bamboo, especially if this weather continues...
What are you using for PoW and is it the Eunny pattern?


05-07-2007, 11:27 PM
I'm in Brisbane, and we are still getting up to the 30 mark during the day, the nights are cooling down, but nothing like the drag the heater out weather we normally get. And we are on Level 5 (soon to be 6) water restrictions - we've had no rain (apart from tiny showers) for like over a year now apparently. I hope it does get a bit chillier soon, I like the colder weather.

I'm attempting to do Eunny's pattern with some Katia 'Gatsby Luxe' that I have, which on yarndex says it's a DK weight, but it's not much thicker than some of the 4 ply's I've seen around. I'm not really happy with how it's turning out, I keep having to go up needle sizes to get the 'laceyness' that I want, and I'm worried it will be huge (not that there is any such thing as a too big shawl in my book), but it's for a gift, and I don't want them to mistake it for a blanket :teehee: I've had a look at 3 plys, but the only thing I can get in that weight is crochet cotton (blah) and they don't tell you how much you get per ball, and are incredibly pricey, considering. I've been offered, by one of the members here, to have some yarn shipped to me, but once you pay conversion then shipping, it doesn't really make things worthwhile, unless you count having some laceweight yarn at any cost worthwhile :shrug:

Ahhh... the joys of living on tiny islands (well tiny continents really lol).

05-07-2007, 11:58 PM
Ha ha... Brisbane... don't hold your breath waiting for colder weather! I've had that kind of problem even with getting 4ply, it's usually acrylic and comes in pastel yellow, pink, blue, and cream, when I want to do some colourwork in 4 ply there's very little choice. I am thinking about getting a cone of cream or white and then dyeing the items once they're finished or dyeing a few hundred grams at a time.


With cones, remember they may be intended for machine knitting, so ask if they're suitable for handwork. They may be oiled and need washing before knitting. Small handspinners might be able to make some to order too.