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What Is Worsted Weight Yarn? ~ A Knitters Guide

You have probably heard about this widely popular yarn. In this post, I share all the answers for the question – What is Worsted Weight Yarn?

What is Worsted Weight Yarn?

Worsted Weight Yarn is described as a best friend for knitters and crocheters. Worsted Weight Yarn is popular because of its medium weight/thickness, ease to work with and knits up quickly without too much bulk.

A versatile yarn for almost any knitted project and a highly recommended weight to begin with when you’re just learning how to knit.

According to The Craft Yarn Council of America’s Standard Yarn Weight System, Worsted Weight Yarn is in the medium category and defined by the symbol number 4.

Often when shopping for worsted-weight yarn, you will find the number 4 symbol on the label. It is thicker than DK Weight Yarn, Double Knitting or 8ply yarn and thinner than Bulky, Chunky or 12ply yarn.

It comes in a multitude of amazing colors and the knitted fabric it creates is not too bulky. The stitch definition is clear and prominent using this weight of yarn. Perfect for when you want your beautiful knitting skill to be showcased.

Table of Contents

Knit Picks Big Sale

Why Use Worsted Weight Yarn?

Wanda at Silly Sheep Designs worsted weight multi-colored yarn

Wanda at Silly Sheep Designs worsted weight multi colored yarn. Follow @kalamandah for more yarn goodness.

Knitters will use this yarn to test new techniques or stitches, as the beauty of this yarn is how it shows stitch definition. If you are a beginner knitter, using a light colored worsted weight yarn is a good idea. It is so much easier to see mistakes.

Use this weight of yarn for any number of knitted projects and garments. One of the best things about worsted weight yarn, it is easily substituted for another worsted-weight yarn. Due to this type of yarn’s popularity, you’ll have plenty of substitution options to choose from!

“Knitters use knitting to value-add to the world.”
― Stephanie Pearl-McPhee

Uses of Worsted Weight Yarn

An unlimited number of knitting projects use worsted weight yarn. These include afghans, knitted sweaters, cardigans scarves, cowls hats, gloves, mittens, dish cloths, home decors such as throws and cushion covers and toys.

There are no limitations to what type of worsted-weight yarn you can knit with.

Here’s one easy project to do. Learn To Knit A Headband With Worsted Weight Yarn

What is Worsted Yarn Made From?

Yarn types in this category are often made from:

  • Cotton/synthetic blends,
  • Wool (like Malabrigo’s Merino Worsted),
  • Alpaca (like Rowan Lima)
  • Acrylic (like Red Heart Super Saver, Cascade Cherub yarn, Caron’s Simply Soft)
  • Or wool/synthetic blends.

History of Worsted Weight Yarn

The yarn is named for the village of Worstead in Norfolk, England. As far back as the 12th century, this town was producing smooth, even yarn and was a hub for spinning fiber. The term ‘worsted’ comes from a particular spinning method.

Wool Processing and Spinning: Worsted vs Woolen:

The word “worsted” does not always refer to a yarn weight. It can also refer to a method of processing wool — the worsted method, as opposed to the woolen method. The worsted process involves combing all the short hairs out of the fiber. The same length fibers are then spun to be parallel to each other, making a dense yarn.

Recommended Knitting Needle Sizes for Knitting With Worsted Weight Yarn:

Recommended Needle in Metric Size Range = 4.5— 5.5 mm

Recommended Needle U.S. Size Range = 7 to 9

Of course, knitting needle size can vary based on your knitting gauge. For more about knitting needles and checking your gauge read our knitting needles guide.


Benefits of Worsted Yarn

  • As mentioned before, it is a go to yarn for many knitters because it has great stitch definition It is not too light or heavy, being a medium weight it will keep you warm and snug without bulk.
  • Being so widely available worsted yarn is easier to use different brands in the one project. The thickness doesn’t vary too much between brands.
  • Great for those of you on a budget as the amount of knitted fabric you get is a more than if you choose bulky yarns. Meaning you won’t have to purchase as many balls.
  • Worsted is a fabulous choice for color work knitting. Stranding which is the technique used in Fair Isle patterns for example, allows for smooth and clean floats. Floats are the lengths of yarn that will lay nice and flat on the wrong side of the work when using worsted weight yarn.
  • Quick to knit up
  • The durability and strength of the fibers with this type of yarn means it will last the distance. Of course you will need to take proper care of your knitted garments to make sure of this.

Key Takeaways and Top Recommendations

So there you have it, our guide to Worsted Weight Yarn.

A versatile and durable medium weight yarn. Perfect for knitting beginners.

We hope you find our guide helpful.

Something we forgot? Leave a question or comment at the end.

Now It’s Your Turn…

I’d like to hear what you have to say. What did you think about today’s guide?

Or maybe you have a question. Either way let me know by leaving a comment below right now or send me a message on twitter.

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About Jodie - Editor Knit Like Granny

Hi. I’m Jodie Morgan, owner and creator of Knit Like Granny. (Yes, I’m a real person :) ) Thanks for being here. I am an Australian, currently traveling in Europe with my family. I love knitting and have met so many other fabulous knitters through this site. I love learning and helping others discover the joys of working with yarn. Please say hello!

2 thoughts on “What Is Worsted Weight Yarn? ~ A Knitters Guide”

  1. I have trouble finding yarn that behaves as worsted wt yarn used to. And it always errors to the skimpy skinny side. My guess is that manufacturers are going for yardage and count on most people knitting scarves and Afghans

    • Hi Lynda. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. That would be disappointing. Have you found any worsted weight yarns that you love?

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