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LadyVargas 03-23-2009 05:13 PM

Vintage yarn conversion

Long time listener, first time caller, as the saying goes! I have prowled the forum, but just became a member.

I have a great vintage 50's pattern that calls for Marriner's Heritage or Halyard 3-ply wool blend. Obviously, this yarn is no longer available. I have spoken with my knit experts at my local yarn shop, who recommend I find out what yardage/meters an original skein of this yarn came in, to make sure I get enough material, since today's equivalent of the 3-ply yarn will likely not weigh the same g/oz.

Does anyone have an old Marriner's catalog out there, or an old label, to look up the length of yarn in the skein? I have found lots of resources for vintage US yarns, but very few with UK yarns.

Thanks in Advance!

knitasha 03-23-2009 08:18 PM

If there's a gauge or tension on the pattern you can work backward from that to figure out what kind of yarn you need.

According to this list, , 3-ply yarn gets about 8 stitches per inch. That would put it in the category of modern fingering, sock or baby yarn.

If the pattern has no gauge, divide the number of cast-on stitches by the width of the sweater front. For instance: if the sweater front will measure 18" across and you are told to cast on 144 stitches, 144 divided by 18 = 8 stitches per inch.

Go back to your LYS, have them check the math, and find a yarn that gives you the right gauge.

Lucy78green 03-23-2009 08:21 PM

Vintage yarns especially UK ones never had the yardage on the label, even now in the UK it's a newer thing, mostly due to many UK knitters using American patterns, or UK yarns exporting to America.
Could you buy the recommended amount of skeins (presumably by weight) for your project, but ask the LYS to hold over some extra skeins in the right dyelot for you to buy later if you run out?
3-ply is laceweight in America I think

suzeeq 03-23-2009 09:39 PM

It must not be a US or Canadian yarn, I didn't find it on the light to bulky weight charts - - but it may still be there somewhere.

imrachel 03-23-2009 10:58 PM

I found a pattern book for Marriner's Heritage listed in a British auction site. It is for a close-fitting ladies' turtleneck in sizes 34 - 40 that calls for 8 - 10oz (presumably the difference is for different sizes) of Marriner's Heritage 3-ply. 3-ply is supposed to get about 8 sts per inch on US size 3 needles, which is fingering weight. I then looked in the Ann Budd Handy Book of Sweater Patterns and for a size 40 with a gauge of 7 sts per inch, it says you need 2000 yds. (There was nothing with a gauge of 8 sts, but that's close enough to get a general idea.) Then I looked at the yardage you get for 100g for sock yarn, and it's about 400 - 450. That would be about 5 skeins to get 2000 yds, which is 500g, which is about 17.5 oz. Which doesn't work out to 10 oz, but I think if you're getting gauge, then I wouldn't worry about that (and the finer the spin on the yarn, the more yds you'll get per oz). So I would get a skein or 2 extra to be very sure, especially because of the 7st vs. 8 st issue, and if they're left over, make matching socks:teehee: .

The one other thing I'd do is to see if 8 sts per inch makes sense in the pattern-- take the number of sts you're supposed to have across the bust and divide them by 8-- that will be the number of inches in the finished sweater, and so if that comes to a reasonable number, you're good.

LadyVargas 03-24-2009 03:26 PM

Thanks for all the replys!

The pattern does call out 8 sts. per inch. I just finished another vintage pattern (also same weight and gauge) with a sock yarn "replacement", using the weight as a guide for materials and it came out fine, with some to spare (don't know if I will make matching socks yet, though!). I was a bit concerned with this new pattern, as the called out Marriner's is a wool, and I am planning on using a non-wool blend.

I worked backwards from my last creation, figured the yardage I used, applied that to what the vintage yarn yardage would have been (this was an american pattern, so easier to find the info) and I came up very close, actually under the called for yardage in the pattern. So my tension/gauge is right on for the sock yarn vs. a comparable vintage 3-ply. So I think I will be ok.

It took 6 mos. for me to finish the last pattern on the tiny needles, so having my shop hold the yarn for that long is probably not an option.

It is good to know that UK yarns don't have yardage amounts, so I can tell my sis (also a vintage knit fan!) what to look for and how to calculate.

Glad to see I was on the right track, thanks again for all the suggestions and help! There's a lot of great info on this forum!


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