When I first started knitting several years ago, all I used was worsted weight yarn. I just picked up a skein of yarn that looked like good and worked with as size 8 needle. For a while, that’s all I ever knit with. But after a couple of years, I began to branch out and look at other patterns and realized there were many other types of yarn in different weights. Now my abilities and yarn stash have grown. However, I’m regrettably stuck with a lot of worsted weight yarn.
I’m here to save you from limiting yourself to one yarn. Not that there’s anything wrong with loving one yarn weight in particular. You work with what you’re comfortable with. But if you’re new to knitting or crochet, or have niched yourself into one type of yarn, be aware that there are so many options out there, and they can all be used to create different knit or crochet materials and projects of size.
Yarn comes in 6 different weight. Each type of weight works better for certain project than another. And each weight also gauges best with specific knitting needles or crochet hooks.
Lace – 0
This is ideally used for lacework. It’s very fine and delicate. If you haven’t used lace weight yarn, you’re in for a difference in gauge and work flow.
The recommended size knitting needles for Lace weight yarn is 000-1. Recommended. hook size is 6,7,8, or B-1.
Sock/Fingering/Baby – 1
Create socks or items for babies with fingering weight yarn. It’s still lightweight, but it will hold up better than Lace. It also works well for creating light fabrics for knit or crochet accessories such as shawls, scarves, and hats.
The best size knitting needles for this is 1-3. For crochet hooks, use sizes B-1 to E-4.
Sport – 2
DK/Light Worsted – 3
Sport and DK/Light Worsted weights obviously fall between Sock and Worsted weights. They’re provide a great compromise when you don’t want something too light or too heavy. Use this yarn to create tops, thin sweaters, accessories, or even stuffed animals.
For Sport weight, use size 3-5 needles and E-4 to 7 hooks. For DK weight, use size 5-7 needles, and for hooks try 7 to I-9.
Worsted/Afgan/Aran – 4
Good old worsted weight. You can basically do anything with it. It’s creates a solid fabric with some warmth. Use it to make cozy hats and scarves, blankets, toys, sweaters . . . the list goes on. (Mind you, it’s what I started with, so I’m a little bias.)
Works best with size needles 7-9 and hooks I-9 to K-10.5.
This weight is so cozy. Use it to create comfy blankets, warm and wooly sweaters, and fun scaves and cowls.
You’ll be moving up to some chunky needles as well with size 8-11. For hooks, use sizes K-10.5 to M-13.
Bulky/Roving – 6
The biggest weight in yarn is Bulky/Roving. Roving is bascially tendrils of unspun fiber. It can be used in a number of fiber crafts for different results. You can still knit or crochet with it but it will not have the same look or hold as spun yarn. Bulky yarn carries some weight and takes up more space. Use it to create huge blankets, rugs, and extra big sweaters.
When knitting with bulky yarn, you can use any type of needle from size 11 and up. Hooks will be sizes M-13 and larger.
And this concludes my crash course in yarn weights. Crafts store carry a little bit of everything, but to really get a feel for yarn weights, check out your local yarn shop. Get out there and explore!