Yarn Weight Chart – Guide For Knitting With The Yarn Weights

By Jodie Morgan

| Updated:

Let me help you understand the system for yarn weights. This yarn weight chart helps you decide, no matter what garment or accessory you’re hoping to create.

Yarn Weight Chart

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Yarn weights and their corresponding number refer to the thickness of the yarn.

I reviewed, fact checked and updated this post on March 25, 2023.

Table Of Contents

What Are The Different Weights Of Yarn?

Here’s a guide according to the Craft Yarn Council Standard Yarn Weight System in the United States. Yarns have different thicknesses, aka the different yarn weight categories. Here are the yarn standards in increasing weight 0-7.

  • Lace – 0
  • Super Fine -1
  • Fine – 2
  • Light – 3
  • Medium – 4
  • Bulky – 5
  • Super Bulky – 6
  • Jumbo – 7

Want the complete subject? I’ve covered them in supporting articles. First, I go into more depth explaining lace weight yarn. For a summary, read on.

Checking the right Yarn weight for a knitted project is important.

Lace

#0, Lace weight is the lightest weight of yarn and the thinnest type of yarn of the different categories. Lace weight is used in lace knitting patterns, like shawls and scarf lace patterns. Or if you’re feeling adventurous, delicate baby items.

Lace Weight Facts
  • US Knitting Needle Size – 000 to 1
  • US Recommended Crochet Hook Size – Steel 6, 7, 8 or B-1
  • United Kingdom – 1 Ply
  • Australia/NZ – 2 Ply
  • AKA – Thread, cobweb, light fingering yarn, crochet thread
  • Wraps Per Inch (WPI) – 30 – 40+

Super Fine

#1 on the chart, Super Fine yarn, includes sock and fingering yarn. Also used for shawls, hats, baby garments, and mittens, these yarn weight types are thicker than lace.

Want your stitches to be fine? This is the weight to choose. It’s commonly used for sock making. People with time could make a sweater knit from super fine yarn. The results are gorgeous!

Super Fine Weight Key Facts
  • US Knitting Needle Size – 1 to 3
  • US Recommended Crochet Hook Size – B-1 to E-4
  • UK – 3 Ply and 4 Ply
  • AUS/NZ/South Africa – 3 Ply and 4-ply yarn
  • AKA – Sock, fingering, sock fingering yarn
  • Wraps Per Inch (WPI) – 14 – 30

Fine

This is 2 in the chart of yarn weight numbers. Fine yarn (confused with light yarn, which is thicker) includes sport weight and baby weight yarn. A great all-rounder yarn and the right choice for projects like hats, socks, scarves, cardigans, baby clothes, and sweaters.

Fine Weight Facts
  • US Knitting Needle Size – 3 to 5
  • US Recommended Crochet Hook Size – E-4 to 7
  • UK – 5 Ply
  • AUS/NZ – 5 Ply
  • AKA – Sport, Baby
  • Wraps Per Inch (WPI) – 12 – 18

Light

#3 on the chart, DK weight (this stands for double knit), and light worsted are within this category. Light weight yarn is great for sock knitting.

Light Weight Facts
  • US Recommended Knitting Needle Size – 5 to 7
  • US Recommended Crochet Hook Size – 7 to I-9
  • The UK – DK
  • AUS/NZ – 8 Ply
  • AKA – DK, light worsted
  • Wraps Per Inch (WPI) – 11 – 15

Pin For Later

My Guide To The Different Yarn Weights

Medium

#4, medium weight yarn includes worsted yarn and Aran yarn. It’s popular with beginner knitters and is suitable for many knitted projects. You find many free patterns for this!

Medium Weight Facts
  • US Knitting Needles Sizes – 7 to 9
  • US Recommended Crochet Hook Size – I-9 to K-10 1⁄2
  • UK – Worsted weight yarns, Aran
  • AUS/NZ – 10 Ply
  • AKA – Worsted weight yarn, Aran weight yarn
  • Wraps Per Inch (WPI) – 9 – 12

Bulky

#5 on the chart, chunky yarns and rug yarns fall into this category. Excellent for knitting up a project quickly. As the name suggests, the result is bulky but makes for a cozy scarf or cowl.

Bulky-Weight-Facts
  • US Knitting Needle Size – 9 to 11
  • US Recommended Crochet Hook Size – K-10 1⁄2 to M-13
  • UK – Bulky or Chunky yarn
  • AUS/NZ – 12 Ply
  • AKA – Bulky weight yarn, chunky weight yarn, rug yarn
  • Wraps Per Inch (WPI) – 6 – 9

Super Bulky

#6 on the chart, Super bulky yarns make knitting up a hat fast! These heavier weight are warm and have a bulky look, hence the name super bulky yarn.

Super Bulky Weight Facts
  • US Knitting Needle Size – 11 to 17
  • US Recommended Crochet Hook Size – M-13 to Q
  • UK – Super Chunky
  • AUS/NZ – 16 Ply +
  • AKA – Roving yarn
  • Wraps Per Inch (WPI) – 5 – 6

Jumbo

#7 on the chart, the Jumbo category, is a relative newcomer to the chart. Jumbo and Roving fall in this category. This thicker yarn is popular for arm knitting scarves, blankets, and home décor.

Jumbo Weight Facts
  • US Knitting Needle Size – 17 and larger
  • US Recommended Crochet Hook Size – Q and larger
  • The UK – Jumbo
  • AUS/NZ – Jumbo
  • AKA – Roving yarn
  • Wraps Per Inch (WPI) – 1 – 4

Yarn Weight Comparison Chart

Here’s a yarn weight conversion chart with the yarn weights and category names.

Yarn Weights Explained - A yarn weights chart.

Want a visual representation of the different thicknesses of craft yarn? Watch the video below.

FAQS About Yarn Weights

What Does Ply Mean?

When you see the terms 2 ply, 4 ply, 8 ply,10 ply, 12 ply it means 2 or more single strands are twisted together. To ply yarn, individual singles are spun together.

The twist is worked in the opposite direction from how they spun the singles. As a general rule, the number doesn’t determine how thick the yarn is.

You can have a bulky two-ply yarn or a thin four-ply yarn, depending on the thickness of the single strands.

What Determines The Weight Of Yarn?

This is confusing, but the physical weight (measured in ounces or grams usually) has nothing to do with the yarn weight! Instead, it’s determined by the width of the yarn strand. This is measured by a system called WPI, (Wraps per inch)

What Is WPI?

Wraps per Inch (WPI) It’s a method of determining the weight of the yarn. To do it, take a strand of fiber and wrap it around a ruler until one inch is completely covered.

Count the wraps, and it’ll tell you what you’re working with! This is an excellent way to tell what weight a yarn is when you’ve lost the label.

Ply VS WPI

  • Ply – a measurement of how many strands make up one strand of yarn
  • WPI – how many times a yarn strand wraps around a width of one inch

Are Yarns In The Same Category The Same Yarn Weight?

The answer is no. Sometimes it changes between yarn manufacturers. For example, yarns labeled with 4 (Medium Weight) may not all be the same thickness. Variables that affect this include:

  • Materials – wool is thicker than cotton, for example
  • Twist – a tightly twisted yarn is thinner than one loosely twisted
  • Spinning Method – hand-spun yarns vary

How Do I Tell What Yarn Weight?

Here’s a helpful video tutorial on how to tell your yarn’s weight. It’s all about Wraps per Inch.

If you get stuck, ask someone at your local craft store. They’ll be knowledgeable on things like yarn labels, the suggested needle size and the gauge range.

How Do You Substitute?

If you’re substituting one yarn weight for another in a pattern, ensure the new yarn is close to the recommended gauge. To test it, make a gauge swatch before starting the main project. Remember, yarn weight matters for your final project!

Which and how much yarn you use has a big impact on the result. Have enough yarn for your knit or crochet patterns! For example, if a pattern calls for DK yarn and you want to use worsted, choose a worsted with a gauge similar to the DK.

How Do You Read The Weight Of Yarn On A Label?

Every yarn has a label with info like the weight number and weight category. Sometimes they’ll have a symbol on the yarn label. Different countries sometimes have varying names for the same weight. To learn those terms, watch this video.

It’ll be super helpful for understanding the different weight names.

Conclusion

Hope you found this guide to the different yarn weights helpful! Get out there and make something with any yarn size! Have fun with your knitting or crochet projects. If you have questions or are struggling with understanding yarn weights, leave them in the comments. (Your email address is never published.)

References

  1. “Standard Yarn Weight System.” Accessed October 2, 2022. https://www.craftyarncouncil.com/standards/yarn-weight-system.
  2. “How to Measure Wraps Per Inch (WPI)” Accessed October 2, 2022. https://www.craftyarncouncil.com/standards/how-measure-wraps-inch-wpi.
  3. Www2.cs.arizona.edu. 2022. [online] Available at: <https://www2.cs.arizona.edu/patterns/weaving/books/wt_yarn.pdf> [Accessed 2 October 2022].
  4. The 4-H Crocheting Handbook. n.d. Accessed October 2, 2022. https://extension.usu.edu/utah4h/files/crocheting-handbook.pdf.
  5. Standards & Guidelines for Knitting and Crochet. n.d. Accessed October 2, 2022. https://scknittingguild.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/CYC_YarnStandards-2018-02-05.pdf.
  6. https://4h.extension.wisc.edu/Files/2021/10/Saturd.. n.d. Accessed October 2, 2022. https://4h.extension.wisc.edu/files/2021/10/Saturday-Session-Descriptions-1.docx.
  7. The 4-H Knitting Handbook. n.d. Accessed October 2, 2022. https://digitalcommons.usu.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=2480&context=extension_curall.
  8. Knitting-and-Crocheting-Evaluation-Intermediate.Pdf. n.d. Accessed October 2, 2022. https://extension.umaine.edu/hancock/wp-content/uploads/sites/29/2019/04/Knitting-and-Crocheting-Evaluation-Intermediate.pdf.

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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Frustrated Teacher Quits In Disgust, Sells The Farm, Moves The Family Halfway Across The World And… Starts Knitting

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Comments

    • Hi Loretta. Double Knit weight yarn also labeled DK Yarn is usually 8 ply yarn.

      In your pattern does it mention the gauge, that is how many stitches per 4 inches? Let me know. Cheers Jodie

      Reply

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