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What Is Fingering Weight Yarn? – All Your Questions Answered

Fingering weight yarn is one of the most popular yarns due to the incredible range of colors and the knitted fabric it creates.

It’s delicate, making it perfect for socks, sweaters, shawls, and other lightweight projects. Find out more in this post!

Fingering Weight Yarn in many different colors

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

Table Of Contents

What Is Fingering Weight Yarn?

Fingering weight yarn is one of the most popular types of yarn. It’s not an official weight in the Craft Council’s system, rather it’s a type of yarn in the Super Fine (Number 1) category.

As the name suggests, it’s lightweight and delicate. It’s perfect for socks, gloves, shawls, sweaters and other projects where you don’t want the yarn to be too heavy.

It’s extremely popular with indie hand dyers who create the most incredible colorways.

  • AKA – Sock yarn, baby yarn, superfine yarn, super fine weight yarn
  • Weight Category – Super Fine
  • Wraps Per Inch (WPI) – 14-30(4)
  • Ply – Usually 4-ply (not single ply yarn)
  • Knitting Gauge Range Equaling 4” In Stockinette Stitch – 21 – 22 stitches
  • It’s thicker than lace yarn
  • It’s thinner than sport weight yarn, fine weight yarn, worsted weight yarn, Aran, and bulky weight yarn

Wondering if a mystery yarn is fingering? Use the WPI measurement method for your knitting yarn.

Where Does The Name Fingering Come From?

Some believe it comes from the Old French “fin grain”, meaning fine grain.

Fingering Weight Key Facts

Fingering Weight Facts

What Weight Number Is Fingering?

Fingering Yarn is Number 1, Super Fine in the yarn weights category according to the Craft Yarn Council.(1) Not to be confused with sport yarn, which is number 3.

Koigu Yarns KPM Merino and KPPPM Minis Fingering Weight Yarns
These beautiful Koigu Yarns I used in my Kentia Wrap are fingering weight Merino.

Yarns In This Category

  • Light Fingering Yarn – Is a little thinner than regular fingering weight yarn
  • Sock Weight Yarn – A sub-category of fingering weight yarn

Yarn labeled “Sock Yarn” is a special blend of fibers, often Superwash Merino and Nylon making knitted socks durable. They’re never single ply.

For example, Felici Sock yarn from Knit Picks. It has superwash wool and nylon mixed together.

Here is an interesting video by Barbara of Watch Barbara Knit discussing when sock yarn isn’t for socks.

YouTube video

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

What’s It Made From?

Many fibers, including wool (often superwash merino wool), acrylic, cotton, and bamboo. Popular blends for this fine yarn are merino wool and silk for a softer alternative.

100% superwash merino wool is durable enough for a myriad of projects. The most popular is sock yarn, which is usually wool or a wool blend.

Rose Hip Island Dreamy Merino Silk  yarn - fingering weight
On the left Fingering Weight Superwash Merino/Mulberry Silk from Rosehip Island used in my Chasing Light Shawl

Why Use It?

It’s soft and durable, making it perfect for socks, mittens, shawls (and other projects where you want yarn to last). It has beautiful sheen, drape and luxury feel.

This makes for gorgeous shawls and wraps. I thoroughly enjoy knitting with this weight of yarn. The Fingering weight yarns I used for my shawl projects were merino wool.

  • My Kentia Wrap
  • My striped socks from the leftovers

Or blends like Merino/Silk

  • My Chasing Light Shawl
  • My Fairy Maiden socks from the leftovers.

The texture and softness is sublime and the colors created by the expert hand dyers were a joy to knit with. The finished fabric is wonderfully warm and has excellent stitch definition.

A favorite with hand dyers, the range of colors is extraordinary.

What If It’s Held Double?

If you’re using a pattern that calls for fingering weight yarn held double, hold two strands of yarn together.

This creates a thicker, warmer fabric. Held double fingering is similar to a DK weight yarn or 8 ply.

Pin For Later

Finger Weight Pin

Uses For This Yarn

There are many uses for this lightweight yarn! Here are a few ideas to make use of its durability.

  • Socks
  • Mittens
  • Hats
  • Baby clothes (particularly summer baby garments)
  • It’s a great choice for shawls
  • Wraps
  • Lightweight sweaters
  • Adult garments
  • Accessories
  • Lace projects

Fingering Weight Yarn Patterns To Try

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

Beginner

Intermediate

Advanced

Here’s a video by Chandi of Expression Fiber Arts on her designs to knit with fingering weight yarn.

YouTube video

I love how the lacey triangular shawl looks! It has a lovely openwork design with tassels.

What Knitting Needles To Use

  • US Needle Size – US 1 – 3
  • For those of you in Canada, UK, Australia and New Zealand – 2.25 – 3.25mm

Use larger instead of small needles for a more open look in openwork patterns.

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

Substitutions

If you’ve run out of this yarn or can’t find it, use lace weight yarn or sock weight yarn instead. Substituting yarn affects the gauge, drape, and look of your project. Always swatch first!

Here is a video tutorial by Stephen West from WestKnits on substituting fingering weight fibers.

YouTube video

Stephen West prefers fingering weight yarns for his wonderful, colorful shawl designs. My previous article is super fine weight yarn and next up in the series is what is sock weight yarn.

Q&A

How Do You Spot Fingering Weight Yarn At Craft Stores?

A thing about fingering yarn is it tends to be hand-dyed by small businesses and indie dyers. It’s not often found in local craft stores like Joann or Michaels.

Here are things to look for at a yarn store.

  • This ply yarn is usually labeled “fingering weight” or “sock yarn”
  • It’s usually sold in small skeins, 3.5 ounce balls or 50 grams or less
  • It’s a little pricey!
  • The yarn weight symbol on the yarn label is a little 2

If you’re unsure, ask a sales associate or check the store’s website.

How Popular Is Fingering Weight?

Fingering weight yarn is one of the most popular types of yarn, though not as much as worsted weight yarns. Many independent yarn dyers prefer this weight of yarn.

This particular type of yarn is the most common weight for many knitwear designers. Here are recommended fingering yarns to try. This yarn can be used for many projects.

  • Knit Picks Hawthorne Fingering (80% Fine Superwash Highland Wool and 20% Polyamide)
  • Palette (100% Peruvian Highland Wool)
  • Malabrigo Mechita

Or try these fiber companies

  • Lana Grossa Yarns
  • Valley Yarns

KnitPicks and Lion Brand offer shipping options to the United States and the United Kingdom.

How Much Fingering Weight Yarn For A Blanket?

This depends on the size of your blanket and the gauge of your knitting.

  • For a small throw blanket, about 800 yards (732 meters)
  • For a larger afghan, around 1500 yards (1372 meters).

How Much Fingering Weight For A Sweater?

Again, this depends on the size of your sweater and the gauge of your knitting. A rough estimate is

  • 400-500 yards (365-457 meters) for a women’s size small
  • 600-700 yards (549-640 meters) for a women’s size medium
  • 800-900 yards (732-823 meters) for a women’s size large

How Much Fingering Yarn For A Scarf?

A scarf uses about 200-300 yards (183-274 meters) of yarn.

Is Fingering Weight Yarn 4-Ply Yarn?

No, not all 4-ply yarn is fingering weight. The term “4-ply” means there are four strands of yarn twisted together. Fingering is called 4-ply in the UK and other Commonwealth countries.

Is Fingering Weight Yarn Fine Or Super Fine?

Fingering weight yarn is considered a “fine” yarn.

What Does Finger Weight Yarn Mean?

It’s another name for fingering weight yarn.

Conclusion

Fingering weight yarn is popular for a reason! Hope you found this guide helpful. Have questions? Leave a comment below or on social media and I’ll do my best to answer.

(Your email address is never published.)

References

  1. “Standards and Guidelines for Crochet and Knitting | Welcome to the Craft Yarn Council.” n.d. Www.craftyarncouncil.com. Accessed September 11, 2022. http://www.yarnstandards.com/.
  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.

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Jodie Morgan From Knit Like Granny

About Jodie Morgan

Hi. I’m Jodie Morgan, creator of Knit Like Granny. I started this site to show 1,000,000 people the joys of knitting & highlight alternatives to fast fashion. Please say hello!

Jodie Morgan Profile Pic

About Jodie Morgan

Hi. I’m Jodie Morgan, creator of Knit Like Granny. I started this site to show 1,000,000 people the joys of knitting & highlight alternatives to fast fashion. Please say hello!

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