In this post, you will see a yarn weight guide and yarn conversion chart.
If you are a beginner learning to knit or crochet, you are probably still figuring out yarn weights and categories.
For those 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 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.
Yarn Weight Conversion Chart
In this post, you will learn everything you need to know about yarn weights, including the different standards and names.
As with knitting and crochet abbreviations and terms, there are many different naming systems and definitions.
It can also depend on the country you are in; the UK, the US, Australia, and other places have differing terms for some yarns and knitting needle and crochet hook sizes.
Understanding Yarn Weights
There are various standards of yarn weights (created by the Craft Yarn Council), and it is essential 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 the important information you need on their labels.
The yarn label would also include the recommended needle size and hook size to use with that yarn, so you should be able to match up the yarn to the needle size easily.
Learn how to read a yarn label here – How To Read A Yarn Label (Step By Step)
Then you need to think about what you will make with it – if the yarn is super bulky, you would use it for heavy blankets, sweaters, and rugs.
Grab Your Free Yarn Weights Guide Ebook Here
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.
- 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.
How To Measure Yarn Weight?
Yarn weight is typically measured by its thickness, and several factors contribute to determining the weight category of a yarn.
To measure yarn weight:
- Use a WPI Tool (Wraps Per Inch):
- Wrap the yarn around a tool designed for measuring WPI, like a ruler with a specific gauge or a WPI tool.
- Count the number of wraps within one inch. The more wraps, the finer the yarn; fewer wraps indicate a thicker yarn.
- Check the Yarn Label:
- Yarn labels provide information about the weight category. Look for terms like “fingering,” “worsted,” or “bulky.” The label may also include a recommended range of needle or hook sizes.
- Refer to Standard Yarn Weight System:
- Yarns are commonly categorized into standard weight groups (e.g., lace, fingering, sport, worsted, bulky). Familiarize yourself with these categories to identify the weight of a yarn.
- Consider Ply:
- The number of plies in a yarn can influence its weight. Single-ply yarns may be lighter, while multi-ply yarns can be denser.
- Check Yardage and Fiber Content:
- Thicker yarns often have fewer yards per gram than finer yarns. Additionally, the fiber content can affect the weight, as fibers like alpaca or mohair can make a yarn feel lighter or heavier.
Related Post: Yarn Types Explained: A Guide To Different Fibers
Understanding The Most Common Yarn Weights – FAQ
There is a video to answer the Yarn weights FAQ in this post.
You can also watch it on my YouTube channel here.
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.
Learn everything about worsted-weight yarn – What Is Worsted Weight 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 skein!
Learn everything about fingering weight yarn here – What Is Fingering Yarn? Your Ultimate Guide
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.
Learn everything about aran weight yarn here – What Is Fine Weight Yarn? (Sport Weights Guide)
Bulky weight yarn is a category of yarn known for its substantial thickness and weight, falling into the heavier end of the yarn weight scale.
Recognized for its chunky appearance, this yarn category, typically labeled as Category 5, is thicker than lighter weights such as fingering or worsted.
Bulky weight yarns facilitate faster progress in projects due to their lower stitch and row count per inch, making them a popular choice for quick and cozy creations.
These yarns are often used with larger knitting needles or crochet hooks, and their warmth and heft make them ideal for crafting cold-weather accessories like scarves and hats, as well as for producing plush blankets and other projects that prioritize a warm and substantial feel.
Learn everything about bulky weight yarn here – What Is Bulky Weight Yarn?
Super chunky weight yarn, sometimes referred to as jumbo or super bulky yarn, is a category known for its extreme thickness and heft.
Falling into the heaviest end of the yarn weight scale (Category 6 and above), super chunky yarns create projects with a bold, oversized texture.
With a much lower stitch and row count per inch than lighter-weight yarns, like light worsted yarn, this type of yarn allows for rapid project completion, making it an excellent choice for those seeking quick and satisfying results.
Typically requiring large knitting needles or crochet hooks, super chunky yarn is often chosen for cozy, cold-weather items like chunky blankets, oversized scarves, and plush, warm accessories, providing a trendy and modern aesthetic to the finished project.
Learn everything about super bulky weight yarn here – What Is Super Bulky Weight Yarn?
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.
Double-knitting yarn can be used for many projects, such as sweaters, cardigans, scarves, hats, and gloves.
DK yarn is easy to use and works 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.
Why Are Yarn Weights Important?
When you choose 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 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 large 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 crochet, 12 stitches in 15 rows.
Learn how to measure gauge here – How To Measure Gauge In Knitting
What Is Ply?
Yarn ply is slightly different from the yarn weight, and years ago, it 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 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 thickness; this was how 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, but 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, kits are 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;
- 0: Lace Weight Yarn – Lace knitting/crochet
- 1: Super Fine/Fingering Yarn – Light eyelet/socks
- 2: Fine Weight Yarn – Light sweaters/baby items/accessories
- 3: Light/DK Weight Yarn – Sweaters and other garments/ lightweight scarves
- 4: Medium/Worsted Weight Yarn – Sweaters/blankets/hats/scarves
- 5: Chunky/Bulky Weight Yarn – Rugs/jackets/blankets/hats
- 6: Super Bulky Weight Yarn – Heavy blankets/sweaters/rugs/hats
- 7: Jumbo Yarn – heavy blankets/rugs
Grab Your Free Yarn Weights Guide Ebook Here
How Do You Calculate Yarn Substitution?
Calculating yarn substitution involves ensuring that the different yarn weights you choose for a specific project are compatible with the original yarn recommended in the pattern.
Here are the steps to help you calculate yarn substitution:
- Check the Pattern Requirements:
- Review the pattern to identify the recommended yarn weight, fiber content, and gauge. Note the total yardage required for the project.
- Select the Substitution Yarn:
- Choose a substitute yarn with a similar weight (e.g., fingering, worsted) and fiber content. Ensure that the substitute yarn has a similar recommended gauge to the original yarn.
- Check Gauge:
- Knit or crochet a gauge swatch using the substitution yarn and the recommended needle or hook size. Measure the gauge to ensure it matches the pattern’s specified gauge. Adjust your needle or hook size if needed.
- Calculate Yardage:
- Compare the yardage per skein or ball of the original yarn with that of the substitution yarn. If the substitution yarn has a different yardage, calculate the total number of skeins or balls needed based on the pattern’s total yardage requirement.
- Consider Fiber Content:
- Be aware that different fiber contents can affect the drape, feel, and appearance of the finished project. Choose a substitution yarn with a similar fiber content for the best results. For example, substitute a wool yarn for a wool yarn of a different weight.
- Make Adjustments as Needed:
- If the substitution yarn has a slightly different gauge, you may need to adjust the pattern accordingly. This might involve modifying the stitch or row count to achieve the correct size.
- Purchase Extra Yarn:
- It’s always a good idea to purchase a little extra yarn to account for any variations in gauge, potential differences in yarn usage, or for making swatches.
Remember that yarn substitution can be an iterative process, and it’s crucial to test your chosen yarn through swatching to ensure it meets the pattern requirements.
Additionally, consider the overall look and feel you want to achieve with the finished project when choosing a substitution yarn.
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!
Please let me know in the comments below if you have any questions.