Here's Everything You Need to Know About Yarn Weights

Aran? Worsted? Fingering? Figuring out yarn weights can feel like learning a whole new language. You can thank the Craft Yarn Council for that: they're the folks who determine how yarns are categorized and labeled.

It starts with a numbered system based on thickness, going from 0 (super skinny) to 7 (the thickest yarn). These numbers have commonly used names associated with them, like "lace" or "bulky." Then, within those numbered categories are subsets with their own names, so it's easy for things to get confusing, fast.

But there is a reason for all these ranges. Each yarn is measured by the number of wraps per inch , and each numbered category includes a range of wraps. Of course, some patterns will call out the weight of yarn needed by the number (like "#4 medium"), and some by the sub-category name (like "worsted").

Which is why it's super helpful to have as much backup info as possible to help you understand your pattern's requirements. We're laying it all out here, so you'll be ready when questions pop up.

Pro Tip

This is one reason making a gauge swatch is so important. The finished size of your project depends on yarn weight, needle size and your own personal knitting tension, so if you're making a project where size matters, you really should start with a swatch.

0: Lace

Shop Lace Yarns

Sub-Categories of Yarn

Crochet thread: Usually cotton, you'll find this super fine thread sold in balls as opposed to hanks or skeins.

Fingering: This can be teeny tiny, but be aware that some yarn labeled "fingering" also falls into the #1 weight, too. Remember to knit a gauge swatch to make sure you're getting the size you need.

Projects It's Good For

Lace shawls , doilies and other super delicate projects are made with this yarn.

1: Super Fine

Shop Fingering Yarns

Sub-Categories of Yarn

Sock: Socks get their own special yarn, usually with nylon or another sturdy fiber worked in with the wool to make it more durable. Alas, calling something a sock yarn doesn't guarantee it's a specific thickness, so read your yarn label and always swatch.

Fingering: You'll see lots of yarn labeled as fingering, and it can really run the gamut in terms of how it's spun, what the fiber content is and even yarn weight (it also falls in the lace category above).

Baby: Baby yarns can vary greatly in thickness, with the thinnest ending up in this super-fine category. No matter the weight, these yarns are super soft.

Projects It's Good For

You can probably guess: socks and baby items, as well as airy shawls , scarves and lightweight sweaters.

2: Fine

Shop Sport Yarns

Sub-Categories of Yarn

Sport: Sport yarn works up slightly faster than super-fine yarns like fingering, but it's still lightweight enough to make great garments.

Baby: Some baby yarn spills into this category, too. Fine baby yarn is a little heavier than its super-fine counterpart, but it's still soft as a baby's...you get the idea.

Projects It's Good For

Sport weight can be great for socks, colorwork sweaters and other accessories.

3: Light

Shop DK Yarns

Sub-Categories of Yarn

DK: Double-knitting yarn (not to be confused with the double-knitting technique ) is a mid-weight yarn, veering into light territory. It falls in the middle of the spectrum, which makes it a Goldilocks yarn for a lot of projects — "just right."

Light-Worsted: This is really just another name for DK weight — you'll see them used interchangeably.

Projects It's Good For

You're hitting the sweet spot here — there are patterns for almost everything using DK, but we're particularly fond of oversized shawls, like the one shown here .

4: Medium

Shop Worsted Yarns

Sub-Categories of Yarn

Worsted: Most beginners use this yarn for their first projects: it's just the right size to see what you're doing, but not so big (ahem, bulky) that it's hard to wrangle. The word "worsted" can also refer to a particular spinning method , so don't be confused if you find a "worsted fingering" out in the wild.

Aran: This is code for "like worsted, but a little heavier."

Projects It's Good For

We love worsted for basically everything: slipper socks, sweaters, hats and everything in between.

5: Bulky

Shop Bulky Yarns

Sub-Categories of Yarn

Chunky: The terms "chunky" and "bulky" are often used interchangeably, which can make substituting yarns tricky. Pay attention to gauge to make sure you get what you need.

Rug: This is sturdy yarn, used for rug hooking more than knitting or crocheting.

Projects It's Good For

Anything you want to knit quick: hats, scarves, even sweaters and home decor projects can work.

6: Super Bulky

Shop Super Bulky Yarns

Sub-Categories of Yarn

Super bulky: Also referred to as super-chunky. Word to the wise: working with yarn this thick can be rough on your hands. Make sure you do your stretches !

Roving: Roving is single ply, loosely spun wool that has a bit of a rustic feel. Don't confuse it with roving used for spinning: that stuff's not yarn yet.

Projects It's Good For

Heavy scarves, textured cowls and hats and home dec projects. You can knit sweaters in this, but just an FYI that they'll be incredibly warm.

7: Jumbo

Sub-Categories of Yarn

This category is the new kid on the block, and it's super popular with arm knitters. It serves as a catchall for anything heavier than super bulky (rovings also fall into this category), meaning there's a lot of variation in width. Double check you have what you want before purchasing.

Projects It's Good For

Statement scarves, big blankets and cozy throw pillows . If you're arm knitting, you're probably using this.

April 16, 2019
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Here's Everything You Need to Know About Yarn Weights