If you’ve been working with yarn awhile, you are probably aware that yarns come in different weights and what that means for your projects. But if you don’t, allow us to demystify yarn weights! Here’s a quick primer on what you need to know about yarn weights and choosing yarns for your knitting projects.
What are yarn weights in knitting?
Yarn weight is, at its most basic, the thickness of the yarn strand. Yarn comes in a variety of weights beginning with lace weight (which is very thin and fine), then fingering weight (which is slightly thicker), sport weight (even thicker), DK weight, worsted weight, and on to Aran/heavy worsted, bulky (a thick yarn), and super-bulky (a super thick yarn) and finally, roving.
At Knit Picks, we use the traditional word descriptions for our weight classes (such as “sport weight”) instead of the numerical yarn weight system devised by the Craft Yarn Council.
If you are looking for a specific weight of yarn when shopping on Knit Picks, you can select the yarn weight you’re looking for on the left side of the yarn page (on the desktop browser).
How does yarn weight affect my knitting project?
When you decide to knit or crochet a project, the pattern will typically list the weight of yarn (or how thick it is). If you use a large yarn for a pattern written for a smaller yarn, your project will end up much larger than expected and it might be hard to use or wear. This is another factor in gauge, which is why we always talk about gauge and making a gauge swatch!
While there are standard suggestions for what knitting needles (or crochet hook) to use with different yarn weights, there is also a lot of room to play around with needle size, depending on the type of fabric result you want. Smaller needles and hooks will result in a tighter stitch, while using larger size tools will increase the drape and stitch size. It all depends on the pattern you’re making and the effect that is desired.
We always suggest a needle and hook size to start with on all our yarn labels, as well as on our individual yarn pages (like Stroll Tweed, for example). The yarn weight, suggested needle and hook sizes, and all the fiber information for each yarn line is located in a shaded box on the left of the screen (on a desktop browser).
How do I know what weight yarn I am using?
All of our yarns at Knit Picks have their weights prominently denoted on their labels (see the High Desert label above for an example). But if you should lose a label (or find a random ball of yarn), how do you figure it out? You can use a Wraps Per Inch tool to wrap the yarn and count the strands per inch to determine its weight.
You can also use a ruler and wrap yarn around one inch of the ruler and then count the number of wraps and use the chart you see here on the WPI tool.
How many wraps per inch for each yarn weight?
The yarn weight measurement depends on how many wraps around an inch you can count. Your wraps should be snug, but not pulled tight.
- Super bulky is 5-6 wraps per inch
- Bulky is 7 wraps per inch
- Aran is 8 wraps per inch
- Worsted is 9 wraps per inch
- DK is 11 wraps per inch
- Sport is 12 wraps per inch
- Fingering is 14 wraps per inch
- Laceweight is 16+ wraps per inch
You may also enjoy: A Deep Dive into Yarn Weights
The Summer Sale features yarns sold by weight
The Summer Sale is on now, and each week, we’ll be featuring different yarn weights on sale.
- June 21-27: Lace and Fingering weight
- June 28-July 4: Worsted and HW/Aran weight
- July 5-11: Sport & DK weight
- July 12-18: Bulky, Super Bulky, and Roving
Be sure to visit our Sale Page every week for a launchpad to your sale yarns of the week!