Learn about yarn weights! Whether you love relaxing with some knitting or you like to make up little crochet decorations, you will be well-versed in the world of yarn. Yarn is basically a long continuous length of interlocked fibers with a whole list of versatile uses apart from just knitting and crocheting. When you need some yarn for your new project, it is easy to get overwhelmed with all the different sizes and types of yarn. You need to know what yarn weights will work for your project the best and what type you should be getting. There isn’t an exact science to matching yarn weights with the project you want to do but understanding the different weight classes and what they could be good for will help you with all your projects.
Different Yarn Weights
The weight of the yarn refers to the thickness of the thread. Many different patterns require a specific weight of yarn to be used since the thickness of the yarn dictates how the stitches will sit. Most yarn labels will tell you the required weight so understanding the different types will help you choose the best one. The Craft Yarn Council sets the industry standards for yarn weights and provides some uniformity between yarn manufacturers in labeling.
Lace Weight Yarn
This is the thinnest type of fine yarn you can get and is used for light shawls with lace patterns. This type of yarn is usually used with larger knitting needles to create open, lacy patterns that are perfect for the hotter months of the year. You need to be careful when using lace yarn as it is very delicate and can break while knitting, crocheting, or blocking.
Fingering Yarn Weights
This weight is the most commonly used and is slightly thicker than lace. This yarn yields a fine stitch in whatever you’re knitting. Even though it is most commonly used for lighter shawls and socks, fingering yarn can be used for other lightweight projects as well. This yarn is perfect for people that have a little bit more experience with knitting or crochet crafting.
Sport/Double Knit (DK) Yarn Weights
A little bit thicker than fingering yarn, sport or double knit dk weight yarn is great for making mittens, hats, shawls, socks, scarves, or sweaters. The stitches are a little bit tighter than worsted yarn and will help you make a sturdy and durable piece of clothing or outerwear. Sport weight yarn is just the tiniest bit lighter than double knit yarn but they fall in the same category.
Worsted/Aran Yarn Weights
Worsted weight yarn is the most common weight that is perfect for beginners to start with. This yarn weight is also very versatile and will work with any type of project you’re doing. Aran yarn is the ever so slightly heavier version of worsted yarn but falls in the same category. This type of yarn is commonly used in the most woven and crocheted items you see around you.
Most commonly used for sweaters and colder winter items, the bulky yarn weight is the one you want to throw something together quickly. This yarn will not work with any light or intricate patterns you want to do due to its chunky nature. You need to use larger needles with this yarn. It does not have a huge learning curve and can be used to make sizeable projects such as rugs, shawls, and blankets.
Yarn Weights Categories Chart
|Yarn Weights||Stitches Per Inch||US Name||UK Name||Common Uses|
|Lace||8 – 10||Thread, Cobweb, Laceweight||Crochet Thread||Lace Knitting|
|Fingering (Super Fine)||7 – 8||Fingering||Baby, Sock,||Light layers, socks|
|Sport/DK||5 – 6||Sport||Sport, Baby||Light sweater, baby items, accessories|
|Worsted||5 – 5 ½||DK/Light Worsted||DK||Lightweight scarves, sweaters|
|Aran||4 – 5||Worsted||Aran||Outdoor wear, blankets, sweaters|
|Bulky/Chunky||3 – 3 ½||Bulky||Chunky||Rugs, jackets, blankets|
|Super Bulky||2 – 2 ½||Super Bulky||Super Chunky||Heavy blankets, rugs, sweaters|
Yarn Weights – Yarn Weights and Needle Sizes
Yarn is very versatile and can be used to knit and crochet as well. There are different needles for knitting and different ones for crochet crafting. With each yarn weight, there are different knitting needle sizes and crochet hook sizes that you need to be using. For your yarn to work exactly as you want it to, you need to be using the needle size that works best since that guarantees the success of your knitting or crochet project. You will also need to compare the gauges on the yarn label with a sample that you knit or crochet.
Knitting Needle Yarn Weights
|Yarn Weights||Stitches Per Inch||US Needle Size||UK Needle Size|
|Lace||8 – 10||000 – 1||14 – 13|
|Fingering||7 – 8||1 – 3||13 – 10|
|Sport/DK||5 – 6||3 – 6||10 – 8|
|Worsted||5 – 5 ½||5 – 7||9 – 7|
|Aran||4 – 5||7 – 9||7 – 5|
|Bulky/Chunky||3 – 3 ½||10 – 11||4 – 0|
|Super Bulky||2 – 2 ½||13 – 15||00 – 000|
Crochet Needle Yarn Weights
|Yarn Weights||Stitches Per Inch||Knitting Needle Size||Crochet Hook Size|
|Lace||8 – 10||1.25 – 3 mm||0.75 – 3 mm|
|Fingering||7 – 8||1.25 – 3.5 mm||2 – 3.5 mm|
|Sport/DK||5 – 6||3.25 – 4 mm||2 – 3.5 mm|
|Worsted||5 – 5 ½||4 – 5 mm||3.5 – 4.5 mm|
|Aran||4 – 5||4.5 – 6 mm||5 – 6.5 mm|
|Bulky/Chunky||3 – 3 ½||5 – 8 mm||6.5 – 9 mm|
|Super Bulky||2 – 2 ½||8 – 12 mm||9 – 14 mm|
Types of Yarn Weights
Yarn can be made of various different fibers that can change the look of your finished project. These fibers can change the feel of the yarn and determine how difficult or easy it will be to knit or crochet. Apart from single fiber yarns, there are also mixed yarns available in the market that bring you a mixture of textures and finishes. Understanding the different types of yarn can also help you figure out what weight you need to be using in your project. While there may be more wool fibers you can find in the market, these are the most common ones;
- Wool – The most common type of yarn that you can find is wool yarn. This type of yarn is warm and durable but can be slightly itchy to wear. If you or anyone you’re knitting for has wool allergies, this may not be the best option either. This wool is sturdy and holds its shape well after blocking.
- Merino Wool – This is the softer sister of the wool yarn taken from the merino sheep. This yarn is super soft and is perfect for people with allergies as it won’t flare them up. This type of wool blocks very nicely but is susceptible to pilling if used in a very rough way.
- Alpaca – Even softer and warmer than the standard and merino wool, alpaca wool is taken from alpaca and is perfect for smaller winter projects. As with the more fluffy wool types, this one also does not block very well but has a very soft feel.
- Cashmere – The most luxurious wool on the market is cashmere wool. This type of wool is very soft and fluffy which makes it more expensive than the other types. This type of wool is not very strong and needs to be used with a lot of precaution. It is more suited to more experienced knitters and crochet crafts.
- Cotton – This type of yarn is perfect for smaller summer projects as it is light and breathable. It is made from cotton fibers which makes it very strong but rigid as well. You need to have more experience with this type of yarn since the nature of the fibers can bring out irregularities in the stitching.
- Acrylic – Acrylic yarn is made from man-made fibers and is the cheapest in the market. This type of yarn is also great for beginners as it is very durable and can be used to make items that will be washed regularly. This type of yarn is usually a stepping stone to more natural fibers.
- Silk – Another one of the more expensive yarns, silk yarn is strong, shiny, and bounces the light beautifully. This type of yarn does not have much warmth to it but is perfect for summer projects. You need a bit more practice with this type of yarn since it can be slippery to work with.
Yarn Weights – In Conclusion
When it comes to knitting and crochet crafts, there is no exact science but understanding yarn and the different types and sizes you can get and will always serve you well in the long run. Yarn weights are based on the number of stitches you can get around an inch of the needle. Yarns range from lace to super chunky letting you knit or crochet anything you want for any weather or need. Different needles work better with each weight class and with the super helpful charts in this post, you can be confident you’re choosing the right one. Knitting needles come in two different size variations, UK sizes, and US sizes while crochet needles come in standard sizes that you can find easily. With each yarn weight you use, you need to use the matching knitting or crochet needle as that will ensure you get the exact look you’re looking for.