What Weight Is My Yarn? An Easy Way to Figure It Out

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Got a huge stash of second-hand, or even hand-me-down yarn? Jackpot! But not so fast...now you need to figure out if these mystery skeins will work for the project you were dreaming up. To do this, you'll need to check the yarn weight. However, unless Great Aunt Alice was really organized, there probably are no labels in sight.

Don't worry. All is not lost!

You can calculate the yarn weight with a handy little knitting secret called WPI (wraps per inch). Here's how:

Step 1

Begin by wrapping the yarn around a pencil. But not too tightly: The goal is to get the yarn strands as close as possible without overlapping them or leaving holes. You'll need to wrap at least an inch.

Step 2

Once you've wrapped your yarn, count the number of times it loops around the pencil within the first inch.

Step 3

Then, compare that number with the numbers on the WPI chart below. So for example, if your yarn wrapped around the pencil eight times in one inch, your yarn is bulky weight. If the yarn wrapped around the pencil 16 times in an inch, it's a sport weight yarn.

WPI chart

Yarn Weight Wraps Per Inch Gauge
0 - Lace weight yarn >35 >8.5 sts/inch
1 - Fingering weight yarn 19-22 7-8 sts/inch
2 - Sport weight yarn 15-18 5.75-6.5 sts/inch
3 - DK weight yarn 12-14 5.5-6 sts/inch
4 - Worsted weight yarn 9-11 4-5 sts/inch
5 - Bulky weight yarn 7-8 3-3.75 sts/inch
6 - Super-bulky weight yarn <6 1.5-3 sts/inch

And there you have it: Crisis, averted!

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