Yarn Weight Guide {+ Conversion Chart}

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In this post, you will see a yarn weight guide and conversion chart.

If you are a beginner who is learning how to knit or crochet then you are probably still figuring out yarn weights and categories.

For those who are new to buying yarn and choosing knitting or crochet patterns, you might just buy yarn you like because you fall in love with it – with no idea what you can actually make with it!

Or you might want to make a pair of socks and have no idea which yarn would be best to use or to knit a blanket that’s soft and squishy, but again find yourself not being sure about which yarn is going to work for the size of the blanket.

woman holding three skeins of yarn and knitting needles

Yarn Weight Conversion Chart

In this post, you will learn everything you need to know about yarn weights, including all of the different standards and names.

As with both knitting and crochet abbreviations and terms, there are many different naming systems and definitions.

It can also depend on the country you are in too, like the UK, the US, Australia, and other places have differing terms for some yarns and of course for knitting needle and crochet hook sizes.

Grab The Yarn Weights Guide Ebook here

Yarn Weight Conversion Chart

Understanding Yarn Weights

There are various standards of yarn weights (created by the Craft Yarn Council) and it is important for the projects that you select the right yarn for your work.

Sometimes if you see a yarn you love and can’t resist buying, you can take a look at the label and see which yarn symbol it has – for example, let’s say a 6 – Super Bulky.

The yarn manufacturers normally provide all of the important information you need on the yarn label.

The yarn label would also recommend the needle and hook size to use with that yarn, so you should be able to match up the yarn to the needle size easily.

Then you need to think about what you are going to make with it – if the yarn is super bulky, you would use that for a heavy blankets, sweaters, and rugs.

knitting in the round with circular nedles

Yarn Weights – FAQ

What is worsted weight yarn?

Worsted weight yarn refers to a medium weight yarn, which is heavier than DK yarn also known as double knitting yarn, sport weight yarn, baby weight yarn, and fingering weight yarn.

It is lighter than bulky yarn, super bulky, and chunky yarn.
Great for making sweaters or accessories like scarves and hats.

What is fingering yarn?

Fingering weight yarn is thin but often used for lightweight garments like shawls or knitting socks.

This is sometimes sold as baby yarn for making baby garments but it can be used for many things.

The yardage is normally high when you buy fingering yarn, so you can get quite a lot from one single skein!

What is Aran yarn?

Aran yarn is a medium weight yarn that can be known in the US as worsted weight yarn listed in the medium weight category.

Aran weight is more commonly used than worsted weight if you are visiting UK stores or websites to buy yarn.

Aran, however, weighs slightly more than worsted yarn – so they are not exactly the same weight.

Aran weight yarns are a great choice for almost any project.

They are perfect for sweaters, scarves, hats, and more!

Great for when you need a heavier yarn that still looks quite light.

Can I use chunky yarn with 4mm/US size 6 needles?

This would be quite difficult for you to work with, so it is better to check the yarn label or the yarn weights guide below to see the needle size that is appropriate for the type of yarn you have chosen.

For example, if you buy a chunky yarn you would normally use size 8mm (US 11) needles and above.

The type of yarn you would pair with size 4mm (US 6) needles is normally a lightweight yarn – also known as DK/double knitting/light worsted.

Would double knitting wool be ok to use?

Double knitting yarn can be used for many projects, such as sweaters, cardigans, scarves, hats, and gloves.

DK yarn is easy to use and can work up faster than fine yarn.

It is in the category of Lightweight yarn 03 beside light-worsted-weight yarns.

You can even knit with two strands of DK together to substitute for the worsted-weight yarn.

Grab The Yarn Weights Guide Ebook Here

FAQ Video

There is a video to answer the Yarn weights FAQ in this post.

You can also watch it over on my YouTube channel here.

The ultimate yarn weight guide

Why Are Yarn Weights Important?

When you chose a pattern it is important to know that you have selected the right yarn and needles/hooks for the pattern, so that you will have the same gauge and that it will turn out as expected.

If for example, the pattern asks you to use a DK yarn (Light 3) and you choose to use a super bulky yarn (super bulky 6) the size of the finished piece is going to be drastically different.

You don’t want to spend hours making something for it to then turn out the wrong size or shape.

Checking your gauge

This is known as the gauge – checking your gauge is important, especially when making garments.

Most makers make a gauge swatch before they start a garment, to make sure it will turn out in the size it is supposed to according to the pattern measurements.

Gauge is when you check how many rows and stitches fit within a measurement – for instance, it might say 3 rows in 1″ – so you know that 3 rows of knitting should fit into 1″.

On the yarn label below, it says for knitting – 16 stitches in 22 rows, and for crochet 12 stitches in 15 rows.

What Is Ply?

Yarn ply is slightly different from the yarn weight and years ago was more commonly used to mean something about the weight of the yarn.

The ply was known for some sizes – for example, two-ply yarn was known as being very thin and an eight-ply yarn was much thicker.

Ply refers to the thickness of the yarn, if you see that yarn is 1 ply that means it is really thin and up to 12+ is the thickest.

A 1-ply yarn was known as a singles yarn, the singles are plied to create yarns of different thicknesses, but this is not consistent and no longer relates to the yarn’s weights based on the number of plies.

Ply yarn rules

When spinners used to make yarn they would categorize it by the thickness, this was the way that people used to know the weight of yarn.

If you see knitting instructions that use ply yarn these rules generally apply:

  • Two-ply yarn mostly refers to super-fine yarn.
  • Four-ply yarn is lightweight – also known as DK or double knitting yarn.
  • Aran yarn is not normally specified by ply but that means worsted weight or medium weight yarn.

What Is WPI?

WPI is a term that means wraps per inch and is often used to determine the yarn weight if you have many scrap yarns with no labels.

It is a method often used by spinners, it can be used by knitters and crocheters too.

You can measure this by wrapping your yarn around a pencil to see how many wraps you can get in one inch.

If that sounds like too much work, there are also kits available to do this for you!

Yarn Weights Made Easy | Common Uses

Here is a list of the common uses for the different types of yarn weights;

white yarn and needles

Yarn Weight Chart

Yarn weights have been classified into categories that you will see numbered on any yarn label.

They are featured in most knitting and crochet books and you can see them below in this infographic, which you can pin or save for your reference.

This includes;

  • The weights are given (from 0-7) and the other common names that type of yarn is known by.
  • The ply count.
  • The WPI count.
  • The knitting needle size – in metric and US sizes.
  • The hook size – is in metric and US sizes.
Yarn weight chart

Grab The Yarn Weights Guide Ebook Here

I hope this has been helpful and that you now know more about yarn weights and their categories.

There is so much to learn when you begin knitting and crocheting, that you soon build a knowledge bank, based on your experience.

I have pulled out so many pieces because I didn’t like the way they looked or I had made a mistake – it just happens.

So don’t give up and keep going, because once you get into it, it can take over your life!

If you have any questions please let me know in the comments below.

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24 Comments

    1. Hello Louise, you will need – 1.25mm – 3.0mm (US 2.5) size needles for 2 ply yarn. I hope that helps 🙂

  1. what is the brand/name of the yarn in the photo – the multi-coloured yarn (middle one in the top photo) or the one in her hands in the 2nd photo? It’s beautiful – pink/blue…

    1. Hello Grae, sorry I don’t know which brand of yarn that is, they are stock images.
      It looks similar to hand-dyed yarns or graduated yarns that you can find from Lion Brand or Rico yarns.

    2. In the beginners cardigan (all knit) you double up the wool and I would rather not do this for ease so could I still use 8mm needles and Chunky weight yarn please advise.
      Many thanks
      Helen

      1. Hello Helen, if you don’t want to knit with two strands together, you can use any yarn suitable for 8mm (US 11) needles.
        This is a bulky weight yarn 05 / chunky – knit with one strand only.
        I hope that helps,
        Louise 🙂

  2. I’m ordering yarn for the Outlander Capelet Pattern. Please confirm if I am doing the math correctly, I want to use a single color yarn, which is bulky 1.8 oz./ 98 yards. Your pattern calls for (4) 100 g(109 yards) skeins. So I was going to order 8 skeins, just multiplying the weight by 2 ( to get to 3.5 oz.). Or do I only need 5 skeins going only by yardage? Thanks for your help.

    1. Hello Tamara, if you are making the small/medium size then yes around 5 100g skeins at 98 yards will be fine to use.
      If you are making a larger size, then you could order 6+ skeins.
      You would only need to order 8 skeins if you want to knit with two strands together.
      Because that would be too many for single-strand knitting for the small/ medium size.
      I hope that helps,
      Louise 🙂

  3. Hello, I would like to knit a granny type blanket/throw with 8 inch squares using DK wool. The pattern I have is for Aran wool. Will this different wool be suitable please?

    Many thanks, Annie Dunn

    1. Hello Annie, if you use Aran yarn instead of double knitting yarn then your squares will be thicker and larger, as this is a heavier weight yarn.
      But if you use a hook suitable for Aran yarn and make one square as a sample – you will see how that turns out and if you think it will look good for your blanket.
      I hope that helps!
      Louise 🙂

      1. Dear Louise

        Many thanks for your helpful info. As I have bought so many colours of DK wool I have decided to put two colours together which I believe equals Arran wool and I have bought 5mm needles. I would like to knit 6 inch squares and wondered if you can tell me how many stitches I need and will always knitting or purling the first stitch give a neat edge? Thanks again..

        Annie Dunn in the UK

        1. Hello Annie,
          For a 6 inch square, you could try casting on 30 or 32 stitches.
          You may have to adjust your stitch count to the pattern you’re using.
          If you want a really neat selvedge edge you can slip the first stitch of each row purlwise.
          I hope that helps!
          Louise

  4. Hi Louise, I am using 2 strands of Lion Brand Wool Ease #4 size yarn for Outlander Shawl Pattern. You list using Classic Alize Lanagold 100g for same pattern. Is this acceptable for the same end result? I just love that shawl on Claire! Thanks

    1. Hello Linda,
      For the Outlander Shawl Pattern – if you are using two strands of the Lion Brand Wool-Ease together and that works for size 8mm (US 11) needles then yes that will be fine!
      You will see when you start knitting if the density of the knitted fabric is to your liking, but I would think it will have a very similar result to the yarn that I used as they are of similar weight.
      I think it will work well!
      I hope you enjoy knitting the shawl 🙂
      Louise

  5. Your information is invaluable. thank you so much for posting. I have a question: I went to a creative arts festival and bought some beautiful very large skeins of a cotton “yarn.” its thicker than crochet cotton (like for doilies) but its not classified with the typical numbering system or even the abbreviations (sock, fingering, etc). Its produced in the U.S.A. I emailed the manufacturer (Newton) and asked what weight it is and he responded that its “SK” – can you even try to guess at what that is? I have a dress I wanted to make and the gauge swatch was coming out right BUT it was rather “holey” due to the hook size. I ended up buying the exact yarn called for because once I got it, it was pretty clear that my cotton “SK” yarn was about half the thickness of the one (a pima cotton) called for. So. Can you take a guess at what SK might stand for? sock weight? its def not a sport weight. You know, if you’re going to produce fibers for knitters, etc., you’d think you’d be able to classify it. I’m thinking I’m going to have to do the wrap test and see what comes out of that. I’d be willing to mail you a bit of it for you to look at. I bought a ton of the stuff because I loved it…I just need to know what it is so that i can use it.

    1. Hello Sherrie,
      I haven’t heard of a yarn that is SK weight – maybe this could be some sort of sock yarn or fingering?
      I did some google searching and couldn’t find out anything.
      If it is half the thickness of a Pima cotton, then it is very fine – a wrap test sounds like a great idea.
      You could also test out a few sample swatches with various size hooks to see which one you like best and that may also help you to decide what you can make with it.
      Or work with a few strands together?
      Lots of possibilities!
      Good luck and happy making!
      Louise 🙂

  6. Hi I am in uk and would like to know how many 100g balls I will need for 3 skeins to knit the Harry Potter dog jumper. The Sirdar Hayfield Super Chunky with wool in the uk is 100g ball is 79 yards long. I’m thinking 6 of Hollyhocks and 1 of HayBail? Thanks so much. Mandy

    1. Hello Mandy,
      I would suggest around 3 balls of the 100g Sirdar hayfield chunky for the dog sweater in the colour Hollyhocks.
      For the letter in the mustard coloured yarn – you don’t need a full 100g ball, so if you have around 20-30g of scrap yarn that can be used or you may need to buy 1 ball of a coordinating colour.
      I hope that helps!
      Louise

  7. Hi Louise. I’ve been knitting for many years but I had a break for about 20yrs. The kids grew up, I worked full-time & I didn’t have time to knit for myself. Grand children have arrived and I have returned to knitting and love it more than I can explain! Thank you so very much for your easy to understand break down of yarn weights. I used to go by the plies when I knitted. After returning to knitting, I realised things had changed in the yarn industry! I really needed to learn about yarn weights! So I have been googling non stop for information that made sense to me. Your newsletter arrived in my emails this week and when I opened it, i lost myself in your website. Lol! Handylittleme.com has everything I needed to know! I think i discovered Handylittleme.com on Pintrest. I signed up for your newsletter & here i am. As happy as can be! Lol! Again, thank you so much Louise.

    1. Hello Soveyda,
      Normally in the pattern, you are working from it will tell you how much yarn you will need for the project.
      If you don’t have a pattern and just want to make something from looking at an item – this will take some guesswork!
      If you don’t kniw the exact amount and are taking a guestimate, then I would suggest buying more than you think you need, just to make sure you have enough yarn.
      I hope that helps!
      Louise

    1. Hello Betty,
      If you google a gram to oz converter you can enter the amount and it will give you a number.
      I did that and 400g = 14.1096 oz.
      I hope that helps!
      Louise