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One of the most common questions we get asked is whats the difference between Platinum and Titanium sock yarn. Firstly lets start with the obvious similarities, they are both 75% Superwash merino, 25% Nylon, and both have 425m per 100g skein.
The fundamental difference with these two yarns is the number of Plies, this effects the look of the yarn and the resulting knitting:
As you can see in the picture above there is an obvious textural difference between the two yarns, which is a result of the number of plies they are made from, and the twist of these plies in each yarn. Swatches were knitted on a 2.5mm needle, US 2 is the closest to this.
Platinum has 4 plies, so if you slightly untwist the yarn, you will see that the yarn is made up of 4 strands, where as Titanium is made up of 2 ends. This makes Platinum smoother, and Titanium more bumpy or textured (as the more plies in a yarn, the less obvious they become).
The difference in texture does slightly alter the way the yarn takes the dye and the resultant look, in this test I found that the speckles have more prominence on the Titanium than the Platinum because they tended to stay on one of the fatter plies of the Titanium, but obviously spanned more plies of the Platinum giving slightly less prominence, but ofcourse it completely depends on the dyes, temps and how you are speckling. Its not that Titanium is necessarily better for speckling, but you can use the fat plies to your advantage for this technique.
So how do they look different when they are knitted up? Actually I was suprised at the different in the swatches, please ignore my rubbish swatching but here we go:
Combinations of knits and purls is where you notice the difference most in these yarns. Again, the smoothness of the platinum creates a much smoother swatch, and gives a smoother stitch definition, where as Titanium gives a bounce to the fabric and is a little more plump.
Its not super easy to see here, but the stitch definition on the left with the Platinum is smoother, and more textured with the Titanium on the right (above).
Again above, the Titanium (gold) creates more pronounced stitches, but the Platinum (silver) produces a flatter smoother fabric, and slightly ‘clearer’ stitches.
So to sum up, the difference is one of construction, which can effect the way the yarns look when dyed, and when knitted create different fabrics, I absolutely love both yarns, I would use both for socks, but I think I would err on the side of platinum for a sock thats cabled or has lace in it, where as for something I wanted to show off colours and speckles I would err on the side of Titanium. For sweaters, both would be awesome, but I suspect the platinum may block out slightly more than the titanium, making it slightly better for sweaters which require larger than US 2 needles (3mm upwards OR US size 3).
The following yarns are in a container and we expect this to arrive with us around the 19th / 20th.
W2D4 Bulky Superwash
W2D4 Merino gold sport Superwash
All the above are skeins.
One of the most common questions we receive is about how to treat stellina when dyeing. Stellina is used in our sparkle bases, and we sometimes get questions with respect to the dulling of the sparkle which some dyers occasionally experience when they dye it, in addition sometimes the sparkle takes on the colour of the dye. We have worked with this fibre for years, and these are tips for dyeing sparkle yarns succesfully.
How To Keep The Sparkle In Your Yarn Sparkly!
Contrary to popular belief, stellina is not actually metal, its a type of metallic toned nylon. Sometimes with excess acid when dyeing, the acid basically degrades the surface of the nylon and takes away the metallic tone, this can make the sparkle seem to have disappeared, it hasn’t, it’s still there, but just blends in with the other fibres, but it’s no longer sparkly.
Basically there are three rules of thumb that affects the sparkle:
- The longer the sparkle is in contact with acid, the more likely the stellina is to dull.
- The higher acid concentration you are using the more likely the stellina is to dull.
- Anecdotally citric acid causes more dulling than vinegar.
High acid (especially citric acid) + a long time in contact with the acid the more likely you are to get dull sparkle!
- Acid levels: Reduce the amount of acid you are using when dyeing these particular yarns. Lots of dyers have found that vinegar is less abrasive than citric acid. My own experience of dyeing this yarn holds with this theory in that I have dyed an enormous amount of stellina (always using vinegar), and never had a problem with the sparkle dulling. However after much research and testing, I’m convinced its more down to the acid concentration levels rather than which acid is used, so don’t worry if you have a preference for citric acid.
How much acid you use is a personal preference, I am not a specific dyer, and don’t use exact amounts, it’s more of a table spoon here and a glug of vinegar there, but to give you an idea about how much I would use with a sparkle yarn its as follows:
For one Jam jar/ 1.5cups of dye with one teaspoon of dye:
Vinegar: approximately 1 Tablespoon of vinegar.
Citric acid: approximately 2 teaspoons.
If I was adding the acid into a kettle I would probably use about 1/4 cup of vinegar and 2 table spoons of citric acid.
If you use significantly more acid than this, and are worried about reducing the acid levels that much, I would suggest starting at the amount I have suggested and working upwards, keep increasing until you get a satisfactory dye uptake vs your sparkly staying sparkly (you don’t need to use a whole skein each time, take a few feet and test it).
High heat is going to be your friend if you are decreasing your acid level, and I say this because sometimes when I’m helping people with this issue, especially with low immersion dyeing, it inevitably comes out that peoples dyeing temperatures are really not very high, (below 80C / 176F and this means it can take hours for the dyes to set, this will be exacerbated if less acid is being used than normal as well so finding a way to increase your temperatures to make the process more efficient is something to consider, using lids on your pans to maintain internal pan temps or even a final steaming of the yarns can help once the initial dye is in the yarn etc.
- Reducing the time the yarn is in contact with the acid: Instead of adding acid to your yarn pre -soak, add your acid directly to your dye solution, or dye bath. If you pre-soak your yarn before you dye with it, just soak your sparkle yarn in plain water (no need to add any scouring agents). Consider increasing your heating temps to make the exhaustion time quicker, (one reason I like to steam set yarns is because it sets quicker than the microwave or oven, for me anyway.)
Sparkle taking on colour of the dye: Sometimes the sparkle takes on the colours of the dyes being used, especially with saturated and dark colours. Because the stellina is nylon, it can sometimes absorb some dye, although not quite at the same rate as wool. I personally quite like this effect, but to stop this from happening, add the yarn into a cold dye bath and then bring it up to temperature this will stop the stellina taking up the dye colour.
I hope this is helpful! If you have any other tips or comments please feel free to leave them in the comments section.
We have just taken delivery this afternoon of W2D4 DK superwash skeins and Platinum DK superwash skeins, we are still awaiting the booking for another container, we are hoping this will be Monday next week, in this container is Crazy eight skeins, and BFL Cash sock skeins.
Thanks as ever for your patience,
Really sorry, Sheilas gold has just gone out of stock, it will be back with a vengeance (super large stock) on the 7th of Aug 🙂
Thanks for your patience and understanding.
Our retail 5 pack event starts on Monday the 24th until Sunday the 30th of April.
This event happens twice yearly. Its a great opportunity to test out bases in smaller quantities, you can order 5 skeins of any type at the standard retail price, allowing you to test something out first before you commit.
Happy new year!
We are pleased to confirm that a new shipment has arrived today in the warehouse and has just been added to stock:
BFL High twist
BFL Cash sock
W2D4 Bulky superwash hanks
Euro 500 hanks
We also have a few new types and will do a news letter to update you about these tomorrow
Andy, Jeni and Chrissy.
If you are not familiar with our retail 5 pack event, its a great opportunity to test out bases in smaller quantities, you can order 5 skeins of any type at the standard retail price, allowing you to test something out first before you commit.
Our event starts on Monday the 31st of Oct!
We have 3 new yarn bases on the website!
Non-superwash 4ply a lovely plump fingering weight yarn, 100% non-superwash merino. 436 yds per 100g.
The second base is pure silk 4ply, this is smooth 100% grade A mulberry silk, fingering weight yarn with 436 yds per 100g:
Finally Yak DK! This yarn is a stunning blend of 65% Superwash merino, 20% Silk, 15% Yak with 231 yds per 100g skein.
We are pleased to say that the advance shipment has arrived and returning to stock is:
- Diamond Fingering 150
- Sheilas Sparkle
- Soft Singles
We are also expecting a container to arrive next week, which will will put into stock and update you about as soon as it arrives.
Chrissy, Jeni & Andy.