What Is Bulky Weight Yarn?

THIS ARTICLE CONTAINS AFFILIATE LINKS THAT SUPPORT HANDY LITTLE ME CONTENT AND FREE PATTERNS.

In this post, you will see answers to the question – What is bulky weight yarn?

Yarn weights are our guide to choosing the right yarn for our knitting or crochet projects.

Depending on what we want to make there are different yarns that would be perfect.

Learn everything about the different yarn weights here – Yarn Weight Guide (+ Conversion Chart)

what is bulky weight yarn

Bulky Weight Yarn FAQs

What is considered bulky yarn?

Bulky yarn can be referred to by other names such as chunky yarn, craft, or rug yarn.
It has a yarn weight symbol of 5 and a gauge of 12-16 stitches per 4 inches (10 cm) using 5.5 mm to 8 mm (US) 9-11 knitting needles. 
The recommended knitting needles are US 9-11/5.5-8 mm needles and K-M 6.5-9 mm crochet hook sizes.

bulky weight yarn in a basket

What number is bulky weight yarn?

There are eight standard yarn weight categories for you to choose from that include different types of yarn – lace weight to jumbo yarns (0-7) thinnest to thickest.
Other yarn weights include medium weight like DK yarn (double knitting), worsted weight yarns, Aran yarns which can be used for hats and sweaters, plus super-fine yarn, and sport weight yarns used for socks.
The standard yarn weight system is set out by the Craft Yarn Council of America.
Bulky is on the thicker side of yarns, thicker than worsted yarn about double its size, and thinner than super bulky yarn.
It has a yarn weight symbol of 5, you would normally find out this information on a yarn label.
When we are referring to the weight of yarn it has nothing to do with its true weight and more to do with the thickness of the yarn.

Yarn weights and categories

What ply is bulky weight yarn?

Bulky weight yarn is 12 ply yarn.
The ply is how thick the yarn is.
Ply basically refers to the number of strands plied together to make yarn. It’s another way to describe the yarn’s weight and it’s mainly used in Australia, New Zealand, and in the UK. 
Learn more about yarn types here. – Yarn Types Explained: A Guide To Different Fibers

striped sweater and yarns

What WPI Is bulky weight yarn? 

WPI is a term that means wraps per inch – this is how some people determine different yarn weights if there is no label to look at and weight class from the yarn manufacturers.
Some people use a pencil or crochet hook to wrap the yarn around to see how many wraps can be had in one inch.

What can you make with bulky weight yarn?

Choosing to make something with bulky yarn has a lot of advantages as it’s thick so it knits up quickly, covers a lot of yardage, and knits up easier than thinner yarns.  
Moreover, there are a lot of bulky yarns in the market for you to choose from but thickness might vary from yarn to yarn (some may be super thick yarn compared to others).
If you are planning to make something with bulky yarn and you want to stray a little from the pattern and choose a different yarn from the recommended one it’s always good to make a stitch gauge swatch so you can see if there are adjustments that need to be made. 
Bulky weight yarn is ideal for beginners as it knits up quickly with big knitting needles and it’s easier to spot your mistakes.
There are endless options on what you can knit with chunky yarn, its thickness makes it perfect for winter cozy projects like a nice blanket, a nice warm cowl, cool stylish oversized sweaters, fancy shawls to complete your outfits, mittens, and scarves to keep you warm.
So if you want to knit up something quickly, and easily and end up with something impressive then bulky yarn is for you.

ribbed beanie knit with bulky weight yarn

How do I substitute yarn?

Moreover, there are a lot of bulky yarns in the market for you to choose from but thickness might vary from yarn to yarn (some may be super thick yarn compared to others).
If you are planning to make something with bulky yarn and you want to stray a little from the pattern and choose a different yarn from the recommended one it’s always good to make a stitch gauge swatch so you can see if there are adjustments that need to be made. 
And If you are feeling brave and want to substitute a yarn with a completely different weight category check out this post to find all the needed information plus a yarn weight conversion chart. – How To Substitute Yarn In A Knitting Pattern

How do I know if my yarn is chunky?

Everything you need to know about your yarn, you will find on the yarn label.
The yarn manufacturer provides all the necessary details about your yarn.
From the weight of your yarn, the yardage, the fiber content, the size of hooks, and the needle size you will need for this specific yarn.
Check out how to read a yarn label hereHow To Read A Yarn Label (Step By Step)
Ps. If you end up throwing away the label, just google the yarn and you will find everything you need on the brand’s website.
candy corn hat yarn

Newsletter
Get the latest in your inbox!

Weekly news, free patterns, tutorials, and more.

My Favorite Chunky Yarns 

If you are looking to add some bulky weight yarn to your yarn stash these are some of my personal favorites.

Lion Brand Hue & Me by Lion Brand Yarns

In collaboration with Two of Wands, LBxTOW Hue & Me is an affordable but sophisticated yarn that is a perfect choice for garments, accessories, and homeware.

The curated cohesive color palette features gorgeous warm muted tones of rust and mustard that contrast and complement the cooler tones of grey and washed blues.

Simply Chunky by Paintbox Yarns

Simply Chunky from Paintbox Yarns is available in almost every color imaginable!

There are 60 shades to choose from in their extensive palette, from bright primary colors to rich jewel tones and pretty pastels.

Perfect for children’s clothes and quick bulky accessories, this soft and versatile acrylic is knitted on 6 mm needles.

Malabrigo Mecha by Malabrigo

One single strand of pure merino superwash wool is twisted to create Malabrigo Mecha yarn, a bulky weight yarn that knits up on US 10 (6 mm) – US 11 (8 mm) needles.

The colorways are, as you would expect from the gorgeous Malabrigo palette, absolutely stunning blends and semi-solids.

Made in Peru, Mecha is beautifully soft and the perfect comfort yarn for a cozy sweater or cardigan.

Malabrigo yarn is hand-dyed, meaning that each beautiful skein is unique.

The Petite Wool by We Are Knitters

Outstanding quality 100% wool known for being soft and easy to knit, it is much thinner than our XL wool yarn balls.

It will result in an extraordinary, unique, and unmistakable piece of clothing.

Patterns That Use Bulky Weight Yarn

There are endless options on what you can knit with chunky yarn, its thickness makes it perfect for winter projects like a nice blanket to cozy up with, a nice warm cowl, cool stylish oversized sweaters, fancy shawls to complete your outfits, mittens, and scarves to keep you warm.

Bulky weight yarn

Bulky Weight Yarn Patterns

Take a look at the free patterns below and you might find your next project.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

2 Comments

  1. Thanks for this handy yarn weight guide. My sister and I are making hats to sell to raise money for the local secondary school that my nephew goes to. We have been knitters since children. We’ve raised money for the local primary school when our lad went there. Then one of his school pals wanted a mertail. She was mermaid mad, so I was approached. Now I’d never used circular needles, but I loved making not one but two for the same lady. Cos when the older sister got one, the younger wanted one too. Both were different, and buttons were chosen for each girl so they were unique. I posted pics on our knitters Facebook page. I had to use a yarn that could be washed in a normal wash and tumble dried in a low cycle. So the colours were chosen by us to compliment each girl. One of the. group asked for the pattern, I explained that I didn’t use the wool they suggested, so 3 months later, she sent me a picture of her tail. She’d washed it, tumbled dried it, only it was shrunk. So she used the yarn I used and it was fine. Since Covid we still knit, sew, diamond art and cross stitch. I’ve always got something to do. Thank you again,

    1. Hello Jo,
      I’m so happy you like the guide 🙂
      A mertail sounds like a really fun project, I have not made one of those before.
      Happy knitting!
      Louise