Worsted Weight Yarn – A Complete Guide To This Yarn Weight

I have answers to – What is Worsted Weight Yarn?

Information on why and when to use it and recommended needle sizes for this thicker weight yarn.


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My Quick Recommendations

The best yarn has excellent reviews from fellow crafters.

I reviewed and updated this post on June 7, 2022.

Table Of Contents

What Is It?

Worsted Weight yarn is a best friend for any knitter and crocheter.

  • Medium weight yarn/thickness
  • Easy to work
  • Knits up quickly with little bulk
  • Many amazing colors
  • Great stitch definition
  • Showcase your beautiful skills
  • Designers love using this yarn weight


  • Afghan weight yarns
  • Aran weight yarns
  • Aran chunky yarn

Major yarn manufacturers Lion Brand and Bernat claim this weight of yarn is their most popular yarn.

What kind of yarn do you use for arm knitting? Look at my post.

As it’s readily available, and Etsy has many talented hand-dyers, this weight yarn makes excellent Etsy gifts for knitters.

A versatile yarn weight for any knitted project and beginner projects.

According to The Craft Yarn Council Standard Yarn Weight System

  • Yarn weight is the medium category
  • Symbol number 4

You’ll find the number 4 symbol on the ball label. (Yarn label.)

This yarn weight system is used by all yarn companies, regardless of country.

It’s thicker than

  • Lace weight
  • Fingering (super fine)
  • DK Weight Yarn
  • Double Knitting
  • Baby
  • Crochet thread
  • Sport yarn
  • 8ply yarn

Thinner than

  • Bulky weight yarn
  • Super Chunky
  • 12ply yarn weights

Light worsted is weight No. 3, aka DK or 8ply.

Why Use This Versatile 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.

Use this yarn weight to test new techniques or stitches.

If you’re a beginner knitter, use lightly shaded yarn. It’s easier to see mistakes.

Use this weight of yarn to create any knitted projects and garments.

This yarn weight is easily substituted.

You have plenty of options to choose from! Yarn Manufacturers make it easy with a vast range.

Ball winders make winding yarn so easy!

Uses of This Popular Yarn

There’s an endless variety of inspiration!

  • Afghans
  • Sweaters
  • Cardigans
  • It’s a good yarn for scarves
  • Shawls
  • Cowls
  • Hats
  • Gloves
  • Mittens
  • Dishcloths
  • Sock patterns
  • Baby blankets
  • Baby items
  • Home decor
  • Throws
  • Cushion covers
  • Toys
Yarns In A Shop

There are no limitations to the selection of what you knit with worsted weight yarn. Use this yarn for gifts.

Make small projects like socks using the Chiaogoo Twist Shorties.

Here’s one easy accessories project to do with one skein.

Learn To Knit A Headband pattern and video tutorial by the talented Knitwear Designer Chandi of Expression Fiber Arts.

YouTube video

Where can I find the best place to buy yarn near me? I’ll guide you.

What Is It Made From?

  • Cotton / synthetic blends
  • Wool (like Malabrigo Merino Worsted, Cascade Yarns & Plymouth Yarn)
  • Alpaca (like Rowan Lima)
  • Acrylic (Berroco, Red Heart Super Saver, Cascade Cherub yarn, Caron’s Simply Soft)
  • Wool / synthetic combinations (like with nylon for sock yarn)

Looking for top rated sock yarns. Please read my post.

The History

The yarn is named for the Worstead village in Norfolk, England.

As far back as the 12th century, this town produced smooth, even yarn and was a hub for spinning fiber.

Wool Processing and Spinning: Worsted vs Woolen

The word “worsted” doesn’t always refer to yarn weight.

It also means a wool processing technique — the worsted method, instead of the woolen method.

The worsted process involves combing the short hairs out of the fiber.

The same length fibers are spun parallel to each other, making a dense yarn.

What Knitting Needles To Use

  • Metric Needle Size Range = 4.5-5.5mm
  • (American) U.S. Needle Size Range = 7-9
  • United Kingdom Size Range = 8-6
  • Knitting Gauge Range in Stockinette Stitch to 4″ – 16–20 sts
  • Crochet Hooks – 5.5–6.5 mm s (I–9 to K–10 1/2)
  • Lace knitting – size 6.0mm-8.0mm
  • Knitting socks, potholders, or dish towels – 3.25-4.0mm

Note: The above are guidelines only.

Keep your yarn in place with a yarn holder bowl.

Knitting needle size or hook varies based on your knitting/crochet gauge. It’s essential to make a gauge swatch first before beginning a project.

See what tension and sized fabric you create and scale the knitting needle size up or down as necessary.

The Benefits

  • Worsted yarn has great stitch definition
  • Not too light or heavy; being a medium weight,
  • Keeps you warm and snug without bulk
  • Thickness doesn’t vary much between brands
  • Great if on a budget
  • The amount of knitted fabric is more than if you choose bulky yarns. You don’t have to purchase as many balls
  • Worsted weight is a fabulous choice for colorwork knitting
  • One of the quick to knit up yarn weights
  • Easy care with superwash wool variants
  • The durability and strength of this type of yarn means it lasts the distance
  • Plenty of knitting patterns and kits available

Looking for the softest yarn for baby blanket? I’ll show you which ones are best.

Now you have all the knowledge on this versatile and durable medium-weight yarn.

Worsted weight yarn is perfect for knitting beginners.

What have you knitted with this yarn? Tell me in the comments.

Has this helped you? Support me here!

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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!

6 thoughts on “Worsted Weight Yarn – A Complete Guide To This Yarn Weight”

    • Hi Karen. Craft Yarn Council states yarn labeled Aran and Worsted are the same weight. Always do a swatch to check your gauge meets the pattern requirements. Cheers Jodie

  1. Aran is 100% Wool & is itchy especially to my Grandchildren. What Yarn is good to sub for this that is soft to the feel in the Worsted Yarn. I have an Aran Knitting Pattern for a pullover Sweater my Grandaughter wants me knit. She is age 8 wears a size 7 USA sweaters . Question is would a size 26-28 inch Aran size be a good fit for her.

    Appreciate any advice you can give me. Thank you. Christina.

    • Hi Christina. I asked on Ravelry, as there are many knowledgeable and knitters. Here are their responses:

      – I’m knitting a cardigan for my granddaughter, who’s 8. Since I don’t see her often, I work from measurements her parents send me. Her chest measurement is only 21″, so I’m doing the size 26″ chest. I have to knit the body and sleeves longer than the pattern calls for. I asked for the length from wrist to underarm and underarm to the bottom of the cardigan. It’s hard to get her parents to measure her! After I sent my granddaughter a tape measure, she asked them to measure her and send the measurements back.

      – Additionally, how quickly does she knit and how complex is the pattern? Since it’s July, she has several months before she can wear it. Some of us have multiple projects going, which can influence the timing. Some aran knitting can be fairly simple, especially if she’s using a thicker yarn. Worked in a lighter weight yarn, a complicated pattern may take a while. Could you encourage her to join Ravelry so we can talk directly with her? We don’t bite! And we love to help.

      – If your reader can’t get an actual measurement, the (US) Craft Yarn Council says a 26-28” chest measurement is Child Size 8-10. But since kids grow so quickly, err on the side of slightly bigger-than-current measurements.

      – You might make it with a bit more positive ease and the sleeves and body a bit on the long side – or knit the sweater so the hem and cuff are worked downwards so you could lengthen if needed.

      Hope these help. Cheers Jodie


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