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How Ends Per Inch (EPI) correlates to knitting gauge

Translating weaving terms like Ends Per Inch (EPI) and 8/2 type yarn measurements into knitting terms.
by Jackie E-S

QUESTION —

I'm wondering if you know of a handy chart that translates EPI or 8/2 type measurements of yarn into knitting terms. I can deal with WPI, but am not familiar with weavers numbering systems, which I'm assuming this is? It sounds like pretty tiny stiff, but compared to what?

ANSWER —

EPI stands for ends per inch. This indicates the 'sett', or spacing of the warp threads when weaving (i.e. the threads that run the length of the woven fabric).

If you extend your thinking, knitting essentially has 2 ends in each knit stitch (i.e. the 2 sides of the stockinette stitch, and these provide the vertical element of design in knit patterns; this is equivalent to 'warp' in weaving). It just so happens that these 'ends' are connected by a loop at the top (i.e. the purl bump that gives the horizontal element of design in knit patterns; this is equivalent to 'weft' in weaving). But the sides of the knit stitches are basically the equivalent of the warp threads in weaving, so it is pretty easy to translate EPI sett to knit gauge as a first 'guesstimate'. My method is to simply divide the EPI by 2 (since there are 2 ends per knit stitch).

Without getting bogged down in types of woven fabric, let me an example using typical 8/2 setts:

• Sett of 18 EPI to produce even-weave fabric --> 18 / 2 = 9 sts per inch in stockinette stitch such as fabric intended for a sweater or similar garment.
• Sett of 24 epi to produce twill fabric --> 24 / 2 = 12 st per inch for a firm, hard-wearing fabric such as for socks.

So yes, as you can see, 8/2 yarn/thread is comparatively tiny stuff! Probably, you would usually knit with two or more strands held together rather than attempting such a small gauge. (but believe me, there are some who are known to do it)

For fabric produced in lace knitting, of course we usually are looking at looser gauges than in regular stockinette sweater fabric, and that will depend upon the openess, drape, etc. that you want. For 8/2 thread, I've made successful projects in anything from about 7 to 4.5 sts/inch over blocked lace patterns. Lace is so versatile and I think this one of the reasons I especially never grow tired of exploring the options.

Do you have a Question about knitting technique or skill? Please email me and I will consider it for an upcoming Q&A.

Return to Index of Jackie E-S Articles & Tips.

Thank you for interest. I am here to serve you and help keep your knitting a pleasurable experience. If you have questions or need assistance with purchasing or knitting my HeartStrings patterns, let me know. Sincerely, Jackie E-S

Email address: jackie@heartstringsfiberarts.com
Phone: 678-262-6338 or 877-764-2747 (toll-free in US)
Postal address: HeartStrings, Jackie Erickson-Schweitzer, 53 Parlange Drive, Destrehan LA 70047-2133 USA

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Last revised Thursday, 11-Jul-2013 15:56:52 CDT