Types of Yarn | Demystifying Yarn Weights

Which yarn is right for your project? It’s easy to be baffled by all of the different yarns available! Different yarn weights work better for various types of project, and it’s best to do your research before starting a new pattern.

The thickness of a yarn is referred to as its ‘weight’. Traditionally, the names given to yarn weights related to the number of strands, or ‘plys’, used to make it. But nowadays although a yarn may still be referred to as a ‘4ply’ yarn, it may appear to be made of only two or three strands of twisted fibres.

A ply is a single twisted strand and, as a general rule, the more strands that are twisted together, the thicker the yarn. But, confusingly, the strands from different manufacturers can be different thicknesses themselves. A tightly spun ply will be thinner than a loosely spun one. In order of thickness they are:

1ply: This extremely fine yarn is more like a sewing thread than a yarn. It’s perfect for ultra-fine crochet or gossamer lace knitting.

4ply yarn2ply or 3ply (Baby): These are both very fine yarns, traditionally used for baby clothes and other delicate work.

4ply (Sport): This yarn is one of the most common thin yarns currently available. 4ply yarns are ideal for baby clothes and an assortment of household items.

DK – Double Knitting (Worsted): This weight of yarn is possibly the most commonly used and best known of all yarns. Suitable for almost any end use, it is great for most garments without being too bulky for indoor wear.

chunky yarnAran (Fisherman or Medium Weight): Based on the weight of yarn used for traditional Aran sweaters, this weight of yarn is slightly thicker than a DK yarn.

Chunky (Bulky): This weight of yarn, as its name suggests, is very thick – roughly two or three times as thick as a DK yarn.

Super Chunky and Big (Super Bulky): These are yarns that are even thicker than a chunky yarn! They can be a little tricky for a beginner to handle, but they work up very quickly and make wonderfully warm coats and jackets.

super chunky yarnFor more on yarn weights, and all other vital techniques you need to start knitting or crochet, pick up a copy of The Knitter’s Bible by Claire Crompton or The Crochet Bible by Sue Whiting.

Which of these yarn weights have you tried? Leave a comment below or post on our Facebook page to tell me more.

What will you create today?

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