The mystery yarn problem solved. The McMorran balance is a nifty little tool that can be of great help in presence of mysterious yarn or when you have hand spun a yarn and want to know the approximate yardage per pound. The are available both in metric and "standard" versions.
Sorry for the pictures but the clear plastic material is almost impossible to photograph. Click on the picture to enlarge if need be.
Here is how it works:
What you need:
Aside form the McMorran balance that you can purchase in almost any fiber related site (go to your local store first), you will also need a pair of sharp scissors, a tape measure and of course the yarn in question. The thiner the yarn the longer the piece you will need. I start out with about a foot and go from there.
Next assembly the balance. Just hang the bracket from the indentations on the body of the balance and hang the yarn. For starts it should trip the bracket towards the yarn. That means you have enough length to start with.
Start snipping little tiny pieces from both ends of the yarn, slowly and tiny pieces at a time. Watch the movement of the bracket.
Obviously the color of the yarn in the previous picture did not help so I changed it to show the tiny pieces snipped from each one of the tails.
You can see the bracket starting to tip back
Snip tiny pieces from each tail until the bracket is balanced or sits horizontal to the table. If the bracket tips all the way back it means you cut too much and need to start over. See why I say tiny pieces at a time?
Take the yarn and measure it. Here it shows 7.5 inches. Multiply that number by 100 and you get 750 yds per lb. That is the approximate weight of your yarn. If you have a big ball or cone, just weigh the yarn and do the math. Rule of three.