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Understanding Yarn Weight: A Comprehensive Guide

When it comes to knitting and crocheting, yarn weight is an important factor to consider. Not only does it affect the drape and texture of your finished project, but it can also impact the size of your stitches and the amount of yarn you need. That's where a yarn weight chart comes in handy.

But with so many different yarn weights on the market, it must be clearer to choose one. In this article, we'll break down everything you need to know about yarn weight, including what it means, how it's classified, and how to use a yarn weight chart to make informed decisions about your projects.

See my Guide on Yarn Types

What is Yarn Weight?

Yarn weight refers to the thickness of a strand of yarn. It's an important factor to consider when selecting yarn for a project because it can impact the gauge (i.e., the number of stitches per inch) and the finished size of your project.

Yarn weight is classified using a standardized system ranging from super fine to bulky. This system is known as the yarn weight standards, and it's used by manufacturers and crafters alike to ensure consistent terminology and measurement. 

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The Craft Yarn Council (CYC) determines the yarn weight standards. This industry organization aims to promote and standardize crochet and knitting terminology. According to the CYC, there are seven categories of yarn weight, which are indicated by a number and a corresponding category name. The categories are as follows:

  1. Super fine (aka sock, fingering, or baby yarn)
  2. Fine (aka sport yarn)
  3. Light (aka DK or light worsted yarn)
  4. Medium (aka worsted or afghan yarn)
  5. Bulky (aka chunky yarn)
  6. Super bulky (aka roving yarn)
  7. Jumbo (aka roving yarn)

Each category is assigned a range of yarn weights in terms of thickness, a suggested gauge range, and needle size. For example, a super fine yarn would be thinner than a fine yarn, typically used with smaller needles to achieve a tighter gauge.

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Yarn Weight Chart

Category Description Thickness Gauge Range (sts/10 cm) Needle Size (mm) Ply Count
Lace Very fine yarn Lace 32-40 sts 2.0-2.75 2-4
Super fine Sock, fingering, or baby yarn Fingering 28-32 sts 2.25-3.25 2-4
Fine Sport yarn Sport 24-27 sts 3.25-3.75 2-4
Light DK or light worsted yarn Light worsted 22-24 sts 3.75-4.5 3-5
Medium Worsted or afghan yarn Worsted 20-22 sts 4.5-5.5 4-6
Bulky Chunky yarn Chunky 18-20 sts 5.5-6.5 5-7
Super bulky Roving yarn Super bulky 14-16 sts 6.5 and up 6-8
Jumbo Roving yarn Jumbo 12-14 sts 8 and up 7-9


This chart includes the lace weight category, a very fine yarn often used for lace projects. It also includes additional information about each category's thickness and gauge range, metric needle sizes, and corresponding ply counts. The ply count refers to the number of strands of yarn that are twisted together to create a single strand. A higher ply count typically indicates a thicker yarn, while a lower ply count typically indicates a finer yarn. 

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The gauge range is based on a 10 cm (4 in) swatch, which is a common size used for gauge swatches in knitting and crochet patterns.
Remember that these are general guidelines and that actual gauge and needle size may vary depending on the specific yarn and your tension. Therefore, it's always a good idea to check the label on the yarn or consult a yarn weight chart to determine the appropriate gauge and needle size for your project.


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How to Use a Yarn Weight Chart

Now that you know the basics of yarn weight, you might wonder how to use a yarn weight chart to select the right yarn for your project. Here are a few tips:

  1. Determine the gauge and size of your project: The first step is to determine the gauge and size of your project. For example, suppose you're making a sweater. In that case, you'll need to consider the size of the finished garment and the tension (i.e., gauge) of your stitches.
  2. Choose a yarn weight based on your desired gauge: Once you know the gauge and size of your project, you can use a yarn weight chart to find a yarn that will give you the desired tension. For example, if you want a tighter gauge, you might choose a finer yarn, such as a super fine or fine weight. If you want a looser gauge, consider a thicker yarn, such as a bulky or super bulky weight.
  3. Consider the drape and texture of the yarn: In addition to gauge, you should also consider the drape and texture when selecting a yarn weight. For example, a super fine yarn might give your project a more delicate and refined look. In contrast, a bulky yarn might give it a more rustic and chunky appearance.
  4. Follow the pattern recommendations: If you're following a pattern, pay attention to the yarn weight recommendations. Many patterns will specify a specific yarn weight and gauge, so it's important to follow these recommendations to ensure that your project turns out as intended.
  5. Experiment with different yarn weights: Feel free to experiment with different yarn weights to see what works best for your project. This can be especially helpful if you're designing your own patterns or looking to create a unique look.


Yarn weight is an important factor to consider when selecting yarn for a project. By understanding the yarn weight standards and using a yarn weight chart, you can choose the right yarn for your project based on gauge, size, drape, and texture. With these tips in mind, you'll be well on your way to creating beautiful and well-crafted projects.

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