Exploring the different weights of yarn, from lace to super-bulky.
To the beginning knitter it is easy to just grab whatever yarn seems
to be a good weight - but quickly one can realize that if exact sizing
is important, and it is all too
important to learn the differences between the weight of the yarns.
This is an integral part to learning how to knit or crochet, and the
best way to do that is to become informed of the different varieties
and sizes of yarn.
Most yarns will have the weight right on the yarn band, and some vary by specific mill. So it is important to become familiar with the weights by feel. The following list is a general guideline of the weights and
needles to obtain the right gauge for a particular yarn.
Zephyr: Very fine yarn - Weight yarn is finer than Cobweb. (See below)
Cobweb: 40 or more wraps per inch -
6000 or more yards per pound.
Lace Weight -36 to 40 wraps per inch -
3000 to 6000 yards per pound; This is one of the smallest weight you can
obtain in a yarn. As indicated by its name, it is most often used in
lace patterns where you need fine intricate detail. While you can use
this yarn to make other projects that aren't lace, it's not recommended
as it is difficult on the eye to follow the tiny stitches.
Needle size: US 0000 - US 3 (1.25mm - 3mm).
Hook size: US B1 and smaller (0.60mm - 1.75mm)
Fingering/ Sock Weight - 24 to 30 wraps per inch - 1800
to 2400 yards per pound; This yarn is also called baby weight, slightly thinner (30 to 36 wraps per inch - 2400 to
3000 yards per pound;) and is sometimes referred to as superfine. It's a fine yarn used to make
little objects, most notably socks and items for babies. Its fine
weight is great for detail as well as making small toys, such as dolls
Needle size: US 0 - 4 (2mm - 3.5mm)
Hook size: US B1 - E4 (2.25mm - 3.5mm)
DK/Sport Weight - DK: 12 to 18 wraps per
inch - 1000 to1400 yards per pound; Sport: 18 to 24 wraps per inch -
1300 to 1800 yards per pound; The DK stands for double knitting, and
this can also be called fine weight, and baby weight from
time to time, as it can be utilized for baby clothes as well. This is a good thin (but not too thin)
yarn that can be used for stitch definition in bigger projects, like
throws, cardigans, sweaters and scarves, while still being fine enough
to work up into smaller projects. Note that while this yarn is a
favorite for sweaters, cardigans and the like, it produces a
thinner fabric not entirely suitable if you're living in the arctic and
need to keep warm to survive. However it makes a beautiful evening,
spring or autumn garment.
Needle size: US 3 - 6 (3.25mm - 4mm)
Hook size: US E4 - 7 (3.5mm - 4.5mm)
Worsted Weight - 10 to 12 wraps per inch -
900 to 1100 yards per pound; This is by far one of the most
common weights you will encounter,
and is incredibly diverse. It makes great garments, but can also be
utilized for throws, blankets, afghans, hats, scarves, mittens... and
the list goes on. It's also a great sized weight to learn on, as the
stitches aren't too small to see well so the learner can really learn
to read the stitch.
Needle size: US 5 - 7 (3.75mm - 4.5mm)
Hook size: US I9 - K10 ½ (5.5mm - 6.5mm)
Aran Weight -
6 to 10 wraps per inch - 700 to 1000 yards per pound; It's somewhere
in between worsted and bulky yarns, but is not very common in North America. Its name comes from the tradition
of knitting Aran sweaters from Ireland and Scotland.
Needle size: US 5 - 8 (3.75mm - 5mm)
Hook size: US I9 - H8 (5.5mm - 6.5mm)
Bulky/Chunky Weight - Also called craft, or rug
weight. Less than 8 wraps per inch -
400 to 700 yards per pound; It is a thick yarn that works up quickly on large needles, so
if you don't have hours to spend on a new scarf, this is a good choice
for something thick and warm, but also fast. It can also be used to
make a quick throw or blanket. (Chunky is typically heavier than Bulky)
Needle size: US 9 - 11 (5.5mm - 8mm)
Hook size: US K10 1/3 - M13 (6.5mm - 9mm)