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?
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.
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 for knitting and crocheting
1. Empalme Cowl
Photo via Craftsy member MicahMakes
2. Mug Coaster Cozy
It’s a coaster and a cozy combined into one! Worsted-weight yarn is perfect for those little gifts you want to stitch. These coaster cozies were crocheted with a cotton yarn that’s durable and washable.
Photo via Craftsy member valknitting
3. “Leaves” Fingerless Gloves
Lace knitting doesn’t have to be stitched with a lace-weight yarn. Work those lace motifs up quickly when you use worsted-weight yarn to create this beautiful leaf lace pattern on fingerless gloves.
Photo via Craftsy member Evelyn_S
4. 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.
Photo via Craftsy member Gwenbee
5. Basic Slipper Boots for Women
We often think of slippers and socks as projects best left to finger-weight yarns, but that’s not always the case. These crocheted slipper-boots can be customized to fit anyone’s foot. You can even add extra embellishments to make each pair totally unique.
Photo via Craftsy member LionBrandYarns
6. 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.
Photo via Craftsy member CarolynMac
7. Highland Travel Shawl
You don’t have to knit a shawl with lace- and finger-weight yarns. Worsted-weight yarn works just as well to give you a shawl that not only works up quickly but is also cozy and warm. Add a button in the front to make sure the shawl stays put on your shoulders.
Photo via Craftsy member Tafadzwa
8. Infinity Scarf
When you’re in the mood to stitch a cold-weather accessory, worsted-weight is a great go-to yarn. This crochet infinity scarf uses just 400 yards of worsted-weight yarn. You can even add more stitches and use the pattern to create a blanket!
Photo via Craftsy member AshleyDesigns
9. Addison Ear Warmer
This is a great project for scraps or small skeins of worsted-weight yarn hanging around. The crochet stitches are simple enough even for a beginner. Plus, the ear warmer is sized from baby to adult, so you can make one for everyone on your handmade gift list.
Photo via Craftsy member Squet
10. Amigurumi AmiBabies Baby Bird
Worsted-weight yarn is commonly used for amigurumi. If you have a lot of worsted-weight scraps, save them for amigurumi features like tiny eyes, noses, and mouths. Patterns like this crochet baby bird use a very small amount of yarn, so you don’t have to spend money to stitch them.
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