Rebecca notes that the patterns in the on-line repros of antique knitting and crochet books that I reported on yesterday call for needles specified by outmoded sizing systems, and asks for help in translating those sizes to modern ones.

I reply that there several sources for info on knitting from these older patterns floating around the Web. Here are a couple.

  • The most complete size comparison chart I know about that shows older vs. modern needle sizes is at Lois Baker’s Fiber Gypsy website.
  • I’ve also got one here at String that speaks to the equivalents between historical and modern needle sizes. I add some common vintage yarns typically used with those needle sizes along with suggestions for equivalent modern yarns (I’ll be updating this soon based on the new info from yesterday’s books).
  • The list of ancient yarns with approximate yardages maintained at Vintage Knits is also very useful if you’re trying to work from an older pattern specifying an unknown yarn (often without yarn specs.)
  • The yarn database here at wiseNeedle can be helpful, too. We’ve got a smattering of reviews for actual vintage yarns have entered by knitters who stumbled across older products in stashes or yard sales (reviews of discontinued yarns are always welcome here!). Other people have posted reviews noting that they have used various modern products as substitutes for now discontinued yarns. You can find the former by looking up the old yarn name like you would any modern one. You can also use the search comments field on our advanced search page to look for mention of an older yarn in any review.

    If you’ve got a yarn review to add, the most efficient way to do it is to first look up the name and see if it’s in the collection. If it is – click on the link on the yarn’s page to add your comments. Or if the yarn is new to our collection, here’s a page where you can add both basic data and your comments at the same time.

  • The knitting terms glossary also maintained here at wiseNeedle contains historical British and American usages as well as modern ones. You can limit the result to two or more languages by holding down your <CTRL> key and highlighting the desired ones from the drop-down list.

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One response

  1. Thanks for pointing out more great resources!

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