Saturday, February 28, 2015

Crochet Yarn "Put Up": Part 1 of 2 (Yarn Company Journaling Series)

I've been slow-blogging a series about what it's like to start a yarn company...as a crochet designer. Below is entry #8. I last checked in with entry #6 at the end of 2014, on my yarn's first anniversary. 
Where's entry #7? Yesterday I accidentally journaled entry #7 at a different blog. I couldn't help it. It's about what it's like for three involved parties—designer, yarn company, and magazine editor—to use a new yarn for a magazine design.

Yarn Put Ups, Part 1: When the Priority is on Managing Weight and Length 

This new magazine pattern brings to my mind
some thoughts I've had about yarn put ups.

Fabric Fusion Tote by Jennifer E. Ryan.
Pattern and article in Crochet! Magazine Spring 2015.
Several new crochet designs using DesigningVashti Lotus are coming out in spring 2015 pattern magazines! At right is one that pertains to today's journal entry, because two different Lotus put ups are ideal for it. Smaller Lotus Snacks cakes would be perfect for the yellow and pink stripes of the tote. (Also possibly the teal.)

The "yarn put up" is how yarn is wound into a convenient and salable product. Terms like skein, hank, and ball refer to the final shape. Each has advantages. (Here's a beautiful post about these types.) The amount of yarn is also part of the put up.

You could say that yarn put ups manage chaos. Most yarns are packaged in amounts of one hundred yards or more. These lengths require careful organization to prevent tangled messes. When I was deciding on the optimal length of my Lotus yarn samples, I found I had to stay under two yards to avoid tangles!


Original double-sized 256-yd (100g) Lotus cakes
are stacked behind two of the Lotus "Snacks,"
which are one-third the size (85 yds, 33g).
We all prevent yarn chaos on a smaller scale with our own yarn stashes. As a child I used to untangle my mom's yarn basket periodically. The fastest path to yarn chaos for me, no matter how careful I am, is crocheting from an unwound "hank." (I've tried this in hotel rooms after buying yarn at crochet conferences.) See how my friend Linda Dean reckoned with hers.

On a larger scale, yarn shops will wind your purchased yarn hanks into balls for you. Even practiced employees using a motorized winding system risk tangled mishaps! 

A yarn company manages the yarn chaos on an even bigger scale. It takes careful planning to package yarn in the best size and shape. Manageable skeins need to be both consistent and convenient.  (And, attractive!—more on that in the next entry.)

The original put up amount for my Lotus yarn is 256 yards (234 meters), which weighs approx. 3.5 ounces (100 grams). The put up shape is my favorite, a cake. This is a type of center-pull ball that sits flat, and I make sure that it's easy to find the yarn end in the center. It won't roll around whether you pull the yarn end from the center, or from the outside of the ball. It also stacks and stores well.

A pile of hanks; in the center is one
wound into a "cake". This is lace wt
mohair yarn, only 25g; 315 yds
of fuzzy chaos to manage per hank!
 
Why 256 yds? I chose it for several reasons: the larger the skein, the fewer the yarn ends to weave in later. I consider that to be a particular value to crocheters. It's not too large to keep it from from being convenient and portable, though. It also falls into the standard 100g double-sized skein size for the fashion yarn market. This makes it easy to compare its yardage with other yarns of its "sport weight" thickness. 

The disadvantage of a large put up is that sometimes you only need a small amount, for contrast stripes maybe, or a small project such as jewelry. Or, for a large project when you come up a little short. Maybe you know you have enough yarn to exceed life expectancy, but you still want a just a yarn...snack

A possible disadvantage is that the price might seem high, if a person doesn't realize that Lotus equals two of the more common 50g put ups. Or, that this is a fashion yarn instead of a craft yarn that doesn't necessarily hold to the 50g and 100g skein sizes at all. Be on the look out for fine, expensive yarns, such as lace weight cashmere, in 25g put ups (.88 oz) instead!

My new jumbo put up size of Lotus is a TWO-pound cone!
That's approx. 2,300 yds or about nine 100g balls.
I call it "Lotus Magnum." 
I've had yarn "put ups" (yarn packaging choices) on my mind since I last blogged. Part II (entry #9) will be "Yarn Put Ups for Cosmetic Reasons." Click here for earlier yarn journaling entries.