Your Yarn BFF: Get to Know Worsted Weight Yarn

Worsted weight yarn is probably your BFF in knitting and crocheting. In fact, if worsted weight yarn were a wrestler, it would be the middle-weight champion. As the medium-weight yarn in a pack of multiple yarn weights, it’s the yarn you always turn to when other yarns fail you. It’s your go-to yarn even when there are chunky yarns and sport-weight yarns calling your name. But how much do you really know about worsted-weight yarn?

S. Charles Collezione Sade Yarn - Craftsy Yarn Store

History of worsted weight yarn

Worsted-weight yarn is named for a village called Worstead, England. Worstead was a hub for manufacturing fiber, both yarn and cloth, in the 12th century. Although Worstead is no longer the center of worsted-fiber manufacturing, the yarn still bears its name today.

Craftsy: Cascade Cherub Aran Yarn, Multiple Colors

Working with worsted-weight yarn

Worsted-weight yarn falls into the medium-weight category as defined by the Craft Yarn Council of America. Sometimes when shopping for worsted-weight yarn, you’ll find a symbol with the number 4 on the label that matches the Craft Yarn Council’s weight system symbol.

There are no limitations to what type of worsted-weight yarn you can knit with. You can find worsted-weight synthetic yarn, like Cascade Cherub yarn that’s made from nylon and acrylic. You can even find worsted-weight yarns in cozy alpaca. (Rowan Lima yarn, anyone?)

I love using worsted-weight yarn when I’m testing a new stitch or learning a new technique because the weight makes it easy to work with while also showing me the stitch definition. Use a lighter-colored worsted-weight yarn if you’re trying something new so that if you make a mistake, you’ll be able to easily see it.

Most worsted-weight yarns, like any other yarn weight, can easily be substituted for another worsted-weight yarn. And because worsted-weight is such a popular yarn, you’ll have plenty of substitution options to choose from!

Worsted-weight patterns

Grey Emplme Cowl - Knitting Kit

Empalme cowl

Worsted-weight yarns look fantastic when you knit them with a lot of texture. This Empalme Cowl, with its combination of stockinette stitch and trinity stitch, is no exception!

Get the complete Empalme Cowl Kit.

Craftsy Member Pattern - Felted Knit BagPhoto via Craftsy member Evelyn_S

Brown cabled felted bag

Worsted-weight wool is a great option for felting — further proof of its versatility. This cabled bag is felted just enough that it doesn’t lose the stitch definition completely. Finish it off with some professional-quality handles.

Get the Brown Cabled Felted Bag pattern.
Blazing blocks knit afghan

Photo via Craftsy member LionBrandYarns

Blazing blocks afghan

A little intarsia goes a long way in this super colorful afghan knit using worsted-weight Lion Brand Homeland yarn. There are so many different colors to choose from. Picking a color palette is almost as fun as knitting the actual afghan — almost.

Get the FREE Blazing Blocks Afghan pattern.



Hi, I was really hoping you would mention how well, or not it washed.I read that it was anti pile and was surfing the net to find out if that was really true. Lynne

Lynn Owens

I believe that Worsted weight yarn is equivalent to UK Chunky. HTH

Beverley Micklethwaite

Is worsted wool the same as aran and can it be knitted on size 4.5 needles. thank you


I was wondering how much ply worsted weight is. I am in India and its harder to pick yarns as they go by ply and not by worsted weight, sport weight etc. Ply also varies from country to country as Indian ply is thinner than Australian ply. Can you help?

ann lander

I love double knit, and chunk y and is worsted yarn ideal for any pattern


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