YARN WEIGHTS: TERMINOLOGY & THE CONFUSION
There are a lot to know about yarn and even more to figure out about yarn weights if you are new to it. But even though you have been creating stuff with yarn your whole life there might still be things to learn.
Here’s an encyclopedia covering all you need to know about yarn weights; all the different standards & names. As with crochet terms there is also different naming systems or definitions. This can be quite frustrating when reading crochet patterns.
There’s many different standards for yarn weights. First of all there is different names in both US, UK, New Zealand & Australia & other countries. In this article I’ll be going trough yarn weights standards & compare them.
I’ll also go through the meaning of the term “yarn weights”. Next I’ll go through the importance of using the right yarn weight when following a pattern. Finally I’ve made a cheat sheet for you to download to get control over the different yarn weights.
YARN WEIGHTS: THE TYPICAL QUESTIONS?
So you might wonder if this is the right article for you. But if one of these questions or at least similar questions have been on your lips, you’ve come to the right place:
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YARN WEIGHTS: WHAT DOES IT REALLY MEAN?
The meaning of the term yarn weights is really to describe the thickness of the yarn or thread. It’s as easy as that. Many might think it has something to do with the weight of a skein or ball of yarn, but that is one of the things that makes it confusing.
YARN WEIGHTS: WHY IS IT SO IMPORTANT?
When following a pattern it’s important to know that you’re using the right type of yarn aka yarn weight. The reason for this is that you’ll want the result of your crochet project to be the right size. I mean, it’s nothing worse than spending hours making something that you think is correct & then realizing that its waaay to small or big. What I’m describing now is gauge. You can read more about gauge here. But essentially it’s how many rows & stitches that fit within a specified measurement.
Make sure you also grab the FREE cheat sheet for yarn weights, consequently you’ll be able to find the right yarns for you faster.
YARN WEIGHTS: FROM CRAFT YARN COUNCIL:
The Craft Yarn Council or Yarn Standards have worked together to set up a series of guidelines & standards to bring uniformity to yarn, needle & hook labeling. This with the goal to bring uniformity to books, magazines and yarns. Consequently there will be easier for crocheters and knitters to follow written patterns from all over the world.
Yarn weights from Craft Yarn Council or Yarn Standards are given with a number & name (These are typically also viewed as US yarn weight standards). You’ve got:
1: Super Fine
6: Super bulky
These are often given with pictures from the Craft Yarn Council:
For now there’s no confusion right? I mean it seems quite easy? But…
YARN WEIGHTS: COMMON NAMES:
To make it even more confusing there’s even more typical names for yarn weights. Besides the Craft Yarn Councils standardization, you’ve got those other common terms. In the list below the names on the same row are approximately the same. These names are found in different countries.
Lace, Fingering, 10-count crochet thread, Coweb
Sock, Fingering, Baby
DK, Light Worsted
Worsted, Afghan, Aran
Bulky, Chunky, Craft, Rug
Super Bulky, Roving
YARN WEIGHTS: PLY & WHAT DOES IT MEAN?
In UK, New Zealand & Australia you’ve typically got the yarn weight given i ply. This is a term that’s not even 100 % used in the same ways in these countries. But it’s given in 1 ply as the thinnest yarn & up to 12 or higher as the thickest.
But what does it mean? This term goes back to when spinners made yarn. Back to when it was a more manual process. The process of making yarn was to pull fibers from distorted masses of fibers into single long threads. Those single threads where then plied with one or more threads to make the yarn a desired weight. In this way you could make yarn in different yarn weights.
Back then this was an easy & quite uniform way to describe the thickness of the yarn. Because there was then mostly a typical thickness of each thread & then the number of threads (ply) was a good way to describe the yarn weight.
Today the meaning are rarely clear, as there can be super thick yarns that are just 1 ply, but at the same times a thin yarn can also be 1 ply.
YARN WEIGHTS: WRAPS PER INCH (WPI):
Wraps per inch or WPI is used to determine the yarn weight in situations when you’ve lost the yarn label. This is a great way to make sure you can use all your scrap yarn.
You will need:
Alternative you can use a specific WPI Tool. A good one is available here: WPI Tool (Wraps Per Inch) Tool Kit
How it’s done:
You’ll be able to determine what yarn weight your yarn is by wrapping the yarn around the pencil. It’s important to not wrap to tightly. You should then measure how many wraps you have in one inch.
Wraps per inch is given in numbers ranging from >35 & as low as 0. WPI is often not given as the same from different resources, as the definition also depends on the diameter of the pencil or tool. In my list below you’ll have a common number for WPI for each yarn weight.
YARN WEIGHTS: AN OVERVIEW:
So as you’ve probably understood by now it’s quite complex to compare yarn weights with all the different standards. I’ve put all the common names into a table to make it easier to see.
| ||0: Lace||Thread||>35|
|Light Fingering/Fingering||3 ply|
| ||1: Super Fine||Fingering|
| ||2: Fine||Sport|
|4 ply or 5 ply||15-18|
| ||3: Light||DK (Double knit)|
| ||4: Medium||Worsted|
Triple Knit (rare)
|10 ply or 12 ply||9-11|
| ||5: Bulky||Bulky|
Double Double Knit (rare)
|12 ply or 16 ply||7-8|
| ||6: Super Bulky||Super Bulky|
| ||7: Jumbo||Jumbo|
I have made a cheat sheet that gives you an overview off yarn weight names that are commonly used. This is important knowledge as we are constantly getting inspired by peeps from all over the world due to social media. In my opinion nothing is better than to be able to understand all English terms; when it comes to reading crochet patterns. Finally: Just click the picture to grab your own downloadable version.
Pin this & download it & keep it safe for the time when you can’t really figure out what yarn weight you need. Click the link below to download your own cheat sheet:
When it comes to what yarn weight size you should use together wight a specific crochet hooks, there’s lots of knowledge out there. There is much to learn, & consequently I’ve written a post about this so you can learn more:
Comment below if you have further questions about yarn weights!