What Is DK Weight Yarn? – All Your Questions Answered

By Jodie Morgan

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For yarn weights, DK weight yarn, is often considered the happy medium. It is not an official yarn weight but I get lots of questions about it. It’s not as thin as lace/sport, but it’s as thick as worsted. That makes it great for many creations. Read my complete guide.

DK Weight Yarn Feat Img

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This post is part of my series of articles explaining everything about the topic of yarn weights and wool weights.

Table Of Contents

What Is DK Weight Yarn?

DK weight yarn (also known as 8-ply yarn) has strands twisted tighter than worsted yarn. “DK” comes from the term Double Knitting or Double Knit. Not to be confused with the technique of Double Knitting.

According to the Craft Yarn Council Standard Yarn Weight System, DK weight yarn falls between Fine (sport) and Medium (worsted). The weight of the yarn is not too light and not too heavy, making it versatile and good for a variety of projects.

  • AKA – Double Knitting Yarn, Light Yarn, Light Worsted Yarn
  • Weight Category – Light
  • Weight Number – 3
  • Wraps Per Inch (WPI) – 11 – 15(3)
  • Knitting Gauge Range – 21 – 24 stitches over 4 inches
  • It’s thicker than these different yarn weights – lightweight yarns like sport weight yarn, light worsted yarns, baby yarn, fingering weight (sock yarn), and lace weight yarn
  • It’s thinner than worsted weight yarn, bulky yarn, super bulky and jumbo weight yarn

Here is a video tutorial by Hannah from Knit With Hannah explaining what DK yarns are.

This excellent breakdown of this subject is sure to help you!

DK Weight Key Facts

DK Weight Facts

What Weight Number Is DK?

It’s weight number 3.(1) 

What’s It Made From?

Black Wattle Yarns 8 Ply DK Weight
Black Wattle Yarns DK Weight/8ply

Most DK weight yarns are wool (superwash merino wool/normal merino wool yarn), acrylic, cotton yarn, or a blend of these fibers. Sometimes you’ll find this lighter yarn in a cake of bamboo, Pima cotton, mulberry silk, or baby alpaca.

Why Use It?

DK weight yarn is a versatile weight yarn for many projects, from light sweaters, afghans to accessories and baby garments. It’s great for those new to knitting, as it’s easy to work with.

It also knits up quickly due to it being a thicker yarn and you use larger diameter needles, and good stitch definition.

What If It’s Held Double?

Looking for a heavier DK weight yarn, try holding two strands together as you knit. This gives you a thicker fabric with more drape.

Pin For Later

DK Weight Yarn Pin

Uses For This DK Weight Yarns

Here’s what to make with a skein (or several) of DK weight yarn.

It’s the perfect choice for items like light sweater, afghans, accessories, hats, spring cardigans, scarves, gloves, cowls, a pattern for fingerless gloves, shawls, a wrap, baby garments, or a baby blanket (especially summer baby blankets).

DK Weight Yarn Patterns To Try

Here are great free patterns for knitters using DK yarn. They’re divided by skill level to make it easier for you. Hope you find a wonderful project to do next!

Intermediate

Advanced

Looking for more paid or free patterns for DK yarns? See this video

What Knitting Needles To Use

  • US Knitting Needle Size – 5 – 7
  • For those of you in Canada, UK, Australia and New Zealand – 3.75 – 4.5mm

Note: The above are guidelines only. Always swatch before starting a project.

Substitutions

If you’ve run out of this yarn or can’t find it, here’s what to use instead.

  • Aran weight yarn 
  • Worsted weight yarn

Always do a gauge swatch before making the final project to ensure the yarn strand has the correct thickness.

My previous article is light weight yarn and next up in the series is what is medium weight yarn

FAQS About DK Weight Yarn

How Do You Spot DK Weight At Craft Stores?

Here’s how to find that special DK yarn you’re looking for at your local store.

  • Look for the 3 symbol on the ball band
  • See if it’s called light worsted
  • Usually it’s sold in 1.8oz (50g) or 3.5oz (100g) skeins
  • It’s affordable

How Popular Is DK Yarn?

It’s not as popular as worsted weight, but it’s available widely. Lion Brand Yarn and Knit Picks are two companies in the craft world with extremely soft light worsted yarn in gorgeous shades.

They both sometimes have free shipping to the United States. Also they have shipping to the United Kingdom. Knit Picks’ Swish DK yarn is one of many excellent brands to choose from for knitting and crochet.

Small businesses and indie dyers also sell fabulous hand-dyed fibers in beautiful colors. Try using Hedgehog Fibres Merino DK, Lana Grossa Yarns, or Valley Yarns.

How Much DK Weight Yarn For A Blanket?

A DK weight blanket needs approximately 1150 yards.

How Much DK Weight For A Sweater?

A DK weight sweater needs approximately 1000 yards.

How Much DK Yarn For A Scarf?

A DK weight scarf needs approximately 200 yards.

What Is DK Weight Yarn In Ply?

DK weight yarn is 8-ply yarn in Australia and New Zealand. However, not all DK yarns are 8-ply yarn, some strands of DK weight yarn much less.

DK Weight Yarn Vs Worsted Weight

DK weight yarn is thinner than worsted weight yarn, but can be used interchangeably for most projects. The main difference is DK is worked on smaller needles.

What Does DK Stand For In Yarn?

DK stands for double knitting. Don’t confuse it with the double knitting technique, though. However, DK yarn can be used for double knitting!

You’ll love the drape and feel of this yarn as you knit your next project. Perfect for your stash. Happy knitting or crocheting! Have questions or comments? Let me know below. (Your email address is never published.)

References

  1. “Standard Yarn Weight System | Welcome to the Craft Yarn Council.” 2018. Craftyarncouncil.com. 2018. https://www.craftyarncouncil.com/standards/yarn-weight-system.
  2. How to Measure Wraps Per Inch (WPI) | Welcome to the Craft Yarn Council. “How to Measure Wraps Per Inch (WPI) | Welcome to the Craft Yarn Council.” Accessed October 1, 2022. https://www.craftyarncouncil.com/standards/how-measure-wraps-inch-wpi.

About The Author

Jodie Morgan From Knit Like Granny

Jodie Morgan (Author & Founder)

jodie@knitlikegranny.com | Lives In: Regional Australia

Author: Jodie Morgan is a passionate knitter and blogger with 40+ years of experience currently living in regional Australia. Taught by her mother and wonderful grandmother “Mama”, she fell in love with crafting from a young age. When she’s not knitting, you’ll find her enjoying a cup of coffee with cream, or sharing helpful resources and tips with the online knitting community. Get to know Jodie and the team on our meet the team page.

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