Linda writes in with a sock-related question.
Do you weigh your skeins/balls of sock yarn before you start?
She goes on to point out that she weighs her sock yarn that comes in "makes a pair" size balls (usually marked at 100g). Because (like me) she knits for big feet, she is also often afraid that she’ll run out if she makes sock #1 too large. Weighing the remaining yarn as she knits sock #1 tells her how close she is to having used up 50% of the total.
It’s a good idea, but I don’t do it. Mostly because the lousy kitchen scale I have at home isn’t precise enough for the task at hand. That and laziness. Also at this point, trust. I know that a 100g ball of yarn is plenty for a pair for me, even with my clown-sized feet. and that if I knit the foot to fit, then knit the ankle part as long as the foot, I’ll have enough left over for 2 inches of ribbing. That doesn’t mean I don’t get nervous. I do. Sometimes I do run short. So I suppose I really should go out and buy a decent scale…
This brings up Linda’s second observation. To paraphrase:
Sometimes the ball weight is less than the label states. My ball of Sockotta I just started is labeled 100 gms but weighed in at only 94 gms. Maybe my scale is wrong…
While a calibration or accuracy difference between any two measurement devices is always a possibility, perhaps her scale isn’t wrong. Yarn weight is measured under "standard conditions." Presumably if Linda was experiencing the same set of conditions (most specifically – humidity), her ball of yarn would weigh the full 100g. It’s also not entirely unknown for distributors to offer products that hit the exact mark only as an over-the-lot average, with some balls being heavy and others light. Certainly not optimal but not uncommon either. Inconsistent yardage has been mentioned in the wiseNeedle yarn reviews (sample: Diana, Dulce, .Manos, Melin, Tibet). Finally there ARE some yarns that are consistently short of the listed yardage. That’s a big flaw that has also cropped up a few times in the yarn reviews posted on wiseNeedle (sample: Superwash 12 Ply, Nature Cotton).
Should one expect every skein to hit the 50g or 100g (or whatever mark)? Under ideal conditions, yes. But I doubt it will happen often in our imperfect universe. My solution to the problem is on larger projects – to buy that extra skein as insurance. I’ve dipped into my insurance yarn often enough to make it a standard part of my yarn purchase planning.