Knitting yarn weights can be overwhelming, especially for a beginner knitter. What's the difference in this green sport yarn and that purple bulky yarn? Why make a doily with lace-weight yarn instead of worsted weight? What will happen if I knit this lace shawl with a worsted-weight yarn? If you're going to branch out in the world of knitting, you need to know about different yarn weights.
Why yarn weight matters
Yarn weight can tell you a lot of important information. It tells you the gauge of the yarn, allowing you to make yarn substitutions when you can't afford or find the type of yarn you need for a new project. Yarn weight is also a factor in determining the drape of your project. For example, if you're in the mood for a light shawl that's flowing and folds up easily, you don't want to use a bulky-weight yarn. It wouldn't wrap around you very easily, and it might even look like you're wearing a rug on your shoulders instead of a shawl!
Getting familiar with yarn weights takes time and experience, so don't expect to be an expert overnight. Start off with this guide to discover the different weights of yarn and what types of projects you'll use them for.
Types of knitting yarn weights
- Yarns: fingering, thread
- Check out: Fyberspates Scrumptious Lace Yarn, and other smooth and delicate lace weight yarns
- Craftsy classes focused on lace-weight yarns: Lace Knitting Basics and Beyond, Mastering Lace Shawls, Lace from the Inside Out, Heirloom Lace Edgings and New Directions in Lace
- Used to make: Doilies or other delicate projects, like this airy shawl from Grace Akhrrem's Laera Shawl Knit-Along
- Yarns: sock yarns and baby yarns
- Check out: Cascade Heritage Yarn or Brown Sheep Nature Spun Fingering Yarn
- Used to make: baby items, socks, airy shawls and wraps
- Yarn: sport and baby
- Check out: Cascade 220 Sport Yarn or Brown Sheep Nature Spun Sport Yarn
- Used to make: baby items, lightweight throws
- Yarns: DK
- Check out: Cascade Cherub DK Yarn, Artyarns Ensemble Light or Artyarns Silk Rhapsody Light
- Used to make: baby clothes, socks, and other lightweight clothing
- Yarns: worsted
- Check out: Brown Sheep Lamb's Pride Worsted Yarn, Cascade Venezia Worsted Yarn or other worsted weight yarns
- Used to make: practically anything. This is the weight of yarn used most often in knitting. If you're a beginner, it's a great weight to practice your stitches with.
- Yarn: rug yarn, chunky
- Check out: Brown Sheep Lamb's Pride Bulky Yarn or other top-rated bulky yarn
- Used to make: home decor, bulky winter items like hats and scarves. This Cable and Lace Cowl Kit from Stefanie Japel's Knit Lab: In the Round class is knitted using a bulky-weight superwash wool
- Yarns: roving
- Check out: Lion Brand Wool-Ease Thick & Quick Yarn or Lion Brand Hometown USA Yarn
- Used to make: heavy scarves, hats, home decor items, or anything else you'd like to knit up quickly
For more information on each weight, including gauge and recommended needles, see the Craft Yarn Council's standard yarn weight system chart.