Fine yarn, often used for weaving, comes measured in the New metric, or Nm system. This was rather confusing at first but I have now figured out how this converts to knitting weights.
The weight is expressed as two numbers, with a backslash separating them, such as 2/30, 2/60, 1/30, 1/15, etc. Sometimes these two numbers are reversed.
The second (and larger) number refers to the meters of yarn per gram of a single strand of the yarn, so 30 indicates that each gram of the single strand of yarn is 30m in length.
The first (and smaller) number refers to the ply, so how many single strands have been wound together to make the finished yarn. This does not necessary indicate the thickness, as fatter yarn can be made as single ply, and very thin yarn can have several plys.
So, a 2/30nm yarn is two strands of 30m/g yarn, plied together, giving 15m/g for the finished yarn. A 1/15nm is a single strand of 15m/g yarn. A 100g of either 2/30nm or 1/15nm yarn therefore is 1500m long.
1/15 and 2/30nm are approx. laceweight.
1/60 is approx. cobweb weight.
After getting back to London I went to the website of my last supplier of the yarn for dyeing, to purchase some more of the tussah silk. This is partly so that I can do some dyeing with the eucalyptus from my own garden, and also as I want some more of the card cones as found objects to use for my film projects. Unfortunately it seems like this was a batch that they were selling out, and don’t have any more. A search of google hasn’t uncovered any more of the same yarn.
However, I have found other raw silk yarns online, and have had to get to grips with yarn categorised by the “Nm” or “new metric” system (which I will explain in another post). I purchased this 200g cone of 2/30 raw silk yarn, and it should be arriving later in the week. http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/351838609021
Alex just asked me what the difference is between a skein and a hank. I thought they were the same, but I looked it up and it turned out they are not! Skeins are like balls, but a tubular shape, rather than a sphere, and are ready to knit. A hank is “yarn wound into a large circle and then folded”, and must be balled before knitting.
After using Jo’s swift and baller I was convinced this is the only sensible way to create and ball up skeins. So I ordered both a swift and baller. The swift arrived on Friday, and the baller should be arriving on Monday.
The swift is not a fancy wooden one like Jo’s, but does come in a nice box for storage. I will try it out once the baller arrives.