Archive for March, 2012

Sportweight yarn, what is it anyway?

Sport weight yarn has always been a confusing name to me. It seems a bit meaningless. Some people call it “baby” yarn, which makes it even more confusing. So what is sport weight anyway?

Generally the way to think about sport weight yarn as it being a little fatter than fingering/sock yarn and lighter than DK. But that is about clear as mud too. Here is what I know…The Craft Yarn Council of American (CYCA) defines sport weight as #2/fine on their scale. But many companies do not  use their numbering system, so that doesn’t help. I am going to let you  in on a secret that you probably already know….it is all about gauge. Most yarn companies include a suggested gauge (usually over 4″/10cm) on a suggested needle size. The suggested gauge is based on a swatch made flat in stockinette stitch, in other words, plain old knit fabric. This is where you start.

Sport weight yarns will be something like 5.5 to 6 stitches per inch on size US 3-5 needles (3.25mm to 3.75mm). But your mileage may vary. This is the place to start, with this knowledge and the manufacturer information. So if you want to make that super quick chunky knit hat, this isn’t the yarn you will want. However, if you want to make a sweater that isn’t too heavy and will keep the chill off in the spring and fall, this is great yarn weight.

With all that in mind, let me introduce the latest member of Malabrigo family at PolkaDotSheep, Arroyo.

Malabrigo Arroyo colorway "Barrajas"

If you have used Malabrigo Sock and loved it, you will like this yarn. Like most Malabrigo yarns, it is 100% merino. Like Sock, it is superwash. But it is a sport weight which is something new for Malabrigo.

Here are some of my suggestions for this yarn…

Radical Change by Kristina Villimaite

The newest shawl by Kristina Vilimaite, Radical Change.

This pattern is clearly written with information on using different yarn weights and both charts and written directions.

To make a 71″ x 36″ shawl, you would need 2 skeins of Arroyo.

What a lovely gorgeous piece this would be! I think that this shawl in Natural would be an instant heirloom!

Zuzu's Petal in Cashmere Queen


Zuzu’s Petals pattern is a popular pattern over Ravelry right now, a cowl that looks like a little shawl wrapped around your neck bandit style.

Aimee made one for the shoppe in Cashmere Queen. But making this pattern in Arroyo is a great value as it is likely you could get two cowls from one skein or maybe a cowl and a pair of matching fingerless mitts.

Zuzu’s Petals by Carina Spencer  is available in the shoppe and on Ravelry.


My final suggestion for this yarn is a very popular sweater, Vitamin D by Heidi Kirrmaier. This sweater is worked from the top down and features the popular open swingy front. With three quarter sleeves this sweater is perfect to wear over tees and even a pretty cami for spring and summer.

I just bought some Arroyo in Azules to make my son his annual knitted birthday gift. I am thinking a vest with a hood as he likes hoods but doesn’t seems to care too much for sweater sleeves. I will let you know what I decide. I have a little over a month to make it.

Important Note about Ravelry patterns for in shoppe customers: A number (big number) of Ravelry patterns are available to buy in the shoppe itself. The advantage to buying your pattern in the shoppe is that you are supporting both the Knit ‘n Needle and the designer (as well as Ravelry). We can’t offer this to online shoppers. Don’t worry, if you purchase the pattern in-shoppe it can still be stored in your pattern library and you get it in digital form.

So do you use gauge information on the yarn labels to help make decisions or does it frustrate and confuse you? Let us know what you think.

Happy Knitting! I need to finish a Baby Surprise Jacket before my order of Arroyo (and multiple skeins of Madelinetosh arrive at my house)



March 26, 2012 at 8:47 pm 2 comments


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