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All About Knitting:

Types of Yarn for Knitting - Yarn Weights


Learn about different yarn weights for knitting.

When you look at your first pattern it may contain quite a bit that you donít understand, like information about yarn weight. A yarnís weight refers not to the kind of yarn it is, like wool or acrylic, but the thickness of the yarn. For example, the yarn you would use to make a lacy and elegant shawl is very different from the yarn you would use to knit a small rug for a mudroom. Patterns will always tell you what kind of yarn to use, but itís up to you to figure that out when working on a project youíve come up with yourself.

Another reason paying attention to weight is so important is gauge. Gauge refers to the size the pattern is assuming your work will be. Some knitters donít like to waste time checking it, but a wise knitter always does, especially for important projects. All the details are based on this and the pattern usually gives it to you in a format telling you how large a specific square should be. For example, if the pattern calls for a gauge thatís 22 stitches and 30 rows = 4ííx 4íí, that means your square with those amount of stitches and row should also be 4ííx 4íí. Gauge is not an exact thing, but you should keep it as close as possible. Ensuring this is where weight comes in. If the weight of your yarn is very different from the weight in the pattern, your project will be dramatically bigger or smaller than what you might expect.

Types of Weight

Fingering Weight Ė (Also called Baby Weight or 4 Ply Weight) This is very thin and very light yarn. It works best for lacy items and, like one of the names suggests, is great for baby clothes, especially newborns.

Sport Weight Ė (Also called Double-Knitting Weight or DK Weight) This yarn is also light and thin, but slightly thicker then the Baby Weight. Itís great for smaller projects as well as projects with a lot of intricate stitch work, youíll be able to see your talents.

Worsted Weight Ė (Also called Aran Weight) This is the most commonly found weight yarn. Itís great for sweaters because itís warm but not too thick. Itís also easy to find as itís always available in craft stores and yarn shops in a wide variety of yarn types from cashmere to acrylic.

Bulky Weight  - (Also called Chunky Weight) This yarn is exactly what is sounds like. Itís about twice as thick as worsted weight and itís really good for scarves because itís so thick and warm. Making a sweater probably isnít the best idea because not only would it be too hot, but the size of the yarn isnít exactly flattering on larger items like sweaters.

Extra Ė Bulky Weight Ė (Also called Super Ė Bulky Weight) This yarn is a lot of fun to knit with, though it can only be used with certain projects. Itís very thick, about the diameter of a dime and using this yarn always means also using very large needles, as small needles simply canít work with yarn this thick. The great thing about this yarn is that you can have a scarf done in just an hour or two of work.


If I'm a sittin', I'm a Knittin',

Sarah Carbone






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