Platinum & Titanium, whats the difference?

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.

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The fundamental difference with these two yarns is the number of Plies, this effects the look of the yarn and the resulting knitting:

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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.

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:

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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, both swatches were knitted on 2.5mm needles, but the Titanium gives a wonderful plump fabric, and Platinum a smoother one.

 Its not 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.

Its not 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.

 Again, the Titanium creates more pronounced stitches,  but the Platinum produces a flatter smoother fabric, and slightly 'clearer' stitches.

Again, the Titanium creates more pronounced stitches,  but the Platinum 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 2.5mm needles (3mm upwards).