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Old 06-09-2007, 12:24 AM   #1
Susan P.
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Yardage/Metreage rips offs
Even though of course one allows for small differences in the length of a ball of yarn I have been surprised at difference as I have been making this rug. I am knitting double stranded and one yarn comes in 93m balls and the other in 90m balls. Obviously I thought that I was choosing balls that would match each other fairly well but that of course the 93m one would, say at the of 3 balls of each, have a reasonable amount left over.

Not so. At this point I am say two rows off completing the 3rd ball of the 90m one and yet I'm more than half way through the 4th ball of the 93m one. Clearly the metreage of the 90m is way off and very different from ball to ball. FOR most items I buy a ball more than I need to..for various reasons..but I've never had such a problem before and wonder whether this is an issue of manufacture in a smaller country or what it is. I'm soon to head out to see if I can get more of the yarn or a different type. It's is wonderful and easy to join and will felt brilliantly but the cost of the yarn at $4 (on special) a ball is too high if the stated length is so far out.

Anyone ever found such yarn length disparities before?
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Old 06-09-2007, 01:11 AM   #2
debinoz
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It depends a lot on the weights of the two strands. If one is thin and the other thick, it will naturally take more yardage of the thicker. Well, it seems to make sense in my head anyway!
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Old 06-09-2007, 02:32 AM   #3
Susan P.
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I totally know what you mean. I allowed for that. The 93m yarn is one those of inconsistent yarns..some bits thin and some thick so that's why I thought the additional 3m of the 93m yarn would come reasonably close to the 90m but not so. I just came back from buying more of the 93m and expressed my concern to the shop assistant who shrugged and expressed that yarn lengths are never accurate and my problem was to be expected. I disagree..I may expect say 40cm difference but not more than that.

I also did tho find two stores (same retail outlet) selling the yarn at two different prices. Interesting
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Old 06-09-2007, 04:48 AM   #4
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only 40 cm difference from what they specify is pretty picky... the difference will be more than that!!
I have knitted with two strands of the same stuff before and one ball finished much earlier. I doubt the difference was that large: probably they get stretched/tensioned differently and some of the diff. was due to that. With 2 different wools the diffeence in how they are stretched as they go through your hands/fingers will be even greater.
To get a better idea, weigh each ball beforehand: some balls may be as much as 8 grams underweight, this is TOTALLY crossing the line in my opinion. 5 grams difference in a 50g ball is the maximum acceptable to me, usually it will be 2-3 g either way in a 50g ball. In most of my balls I weigh, they are about 2-3 grams OVERWEIGHT. This is great for me obviously! But I think it is good customer service, if I were selling 50g balls and industrial realities meant I couldn't be sure to within 2 g, I would make sure they were averaging 52 so some would be 50, some 54, rather than averaging 50 and some were 48, some 52.

It sounds like the two different wools differ consistently in how much they are different from the labelled length, but remember it is possible that one type of wool is consistently longer in metreage than the label says, not necessarily that one is consistently shorter! You might be getting extra not ripped off.
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Old 06-09-2007, 08:52 AM   #5
Susan P.
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redwitch.. Whilst I agree totally that I may in fact be getting more on one ball in principle - that did strike me later - forgive me, but I totally disagree with your comment "pretty picky" on two levels. Principally I disagree with it as a consumer. I do not, for example, expect to buy a 10 metre roll of cling wrap and find I get 9.5. Manufacturers, in the main, have standardised systems to ensure that the consumer actually does receive either what the packaging tells them they will receive or very close. I think a 40cm margin generous. I am not so picky as to get out a measuring tape and argue if what I buy is a little off..at the same time..if one constantly was short changed on balls of yarn imagine what one would lose across a year given multiple purchases. Again, the difference may be in my favour but I'm not looking for that per se. I'm looking for a company that, within a margin, gives me what the label says I will receive. Pure and simple. If they sell purely on weight then they should not give you a metre length on the label or they *should* give you a bracket - that is more credible marketing.

As to my current project, whether I may be getting more of the other yarn is slightly immaterial given that I purchased ball for ball (remember the yarn that is running out is supposed to be 3m longer than the other) and find I am way (considerably way) under what I need because of the differential. I understand issues of tension and yarn difference but it is clear in this case that the balls are very different in ultimate length. (In other words balls of yarn 'x' may be different by metres from ball to ball - a scenario that again I find unsatisfactory).

If nothing else this example situation informs new knitters about to embark on larger projects or projects with discontinued yarns.
I was in a store the other day when a lady was rummaging each shelf desperate to try and find two balls for a project because she had bought discontinued yarn and ran out before the end of the item. She finally decided there was nothing for it but to undo the lot and make something else.
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Old 06-09-2007, 09:13 AM   #6
Susan P.
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I think a 40cm margin generous.

heh..I would change this to

I think a 40cm margin 'reasonable'.

I am, however, always willing to take the advice of more experienced and gracious knitters. :-)
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Old 06-09-2007, 01:04 PM   #7
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Susan-

I believe that for most yarns, and thick & thin yarns especially, the balls/hanks are packaged by weight and the length is provided as a courtesy to the customer, not a hard and fast measure of what is in each package. When you are working with a smooth, even diameter yarn the stated yardage measurement is usually pretty accurate and consistent between balls. This is not the case for think & thin yarns. When you purchase 2 hanks if the same weight, if one has a higher proportion of thick sections it will always be shorter than one with more thin sections. The length differences in these cases can easily be measured in meters. Unfortunately not all manufactures (especially mass producers) of this type of yarn note on the label that yardage varies. While I'm sorry you don't have enough yarn for your current project, I would consider this a learning experience and remember to take it into account next time.
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Old 06-09-2007, 10:06 PM   #8
Susan P.
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jhelanee. I agree. In my case it's the thin yarn running out (tho the thick thin one is thinner than the thin one in it's thin sections - there's a tongue twister for you :-) In the end the issue is really the large disparity between balls. One ball of the 'thin' yarn virtually matched the thicker one. Then half a ball matched the thicker one. Then 3/4 matched the thicker one. Last ball went back to matching. I should say that the thicker one is fairly consistent in length because across the last four balls there's only been a row difference in what I've got out of it...so..at the end of the day that yarn is consistent within a margin...the thin yarn has a LOT of inconsistency. I will probably run out again before I'm finished but this was worth noting as it's added considerably to the cost. I may have been better knitting up a more expensive and chunky yarn solo than this.
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Old 06-11-2007, 11:18 AM   #9
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I find weights are sometimes way off as well. I had a ball of Noro that weighed 35 g, and others weighed 55. That's quite a difference. I also find that Noro, even though I love it and think it is beautiful, can be a major PITA. Sometimes I'm merrily knitting away, enjoying the colours, and all of a sudden there is a knot and an abrupt colour change. You'd think that in this day and age that they could avoid doing that. I have no problems with knots, but when a ball of yarn costs an arm and a leg, you'd think that they could manage 50 g. (or maybe 35) without knots and the dramatic colour changes.
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Old 06-11-2007, 12:52 PM   #10
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I believe that weight, length and gauge of yarn are ALL rough estimates only.

Try spinning your own yarn and labeling it with definitive measurements. Sure, I can put an accurate weight on each skein, but as far as the length goes, it's an estimate. And the weight of this skein that is about 100 yards may be vastly different from another that is 100 yards. I run all skeins through a yarn meter twice and list an average length. But true length can be measured differently... even infinitely different. Do you want the length of a fully stretched and taught yarn, or the length of a fully relaxed, and not-stretched-at-all yarn, or something in between?

I have the time to carefully consider the weight, length and gauge of each and every hank of yarn I produce, but believe me, its tough enough for a little low-production one woman spinner. I can't imagine how tough it is for a big company to come up with dead-on accurate measurements for the thousands of balls of yarn they produce.

And as far as knots go, one knot is expected in every ball of yarn. If I don't find a knot, I consider myself lucky to have picked that particular ball.
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