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What you need to know about yarn weight

 

I’m working with Red Heart’s Baby Hug Light and Medium yarn this week and thought it would be important to go over yarn weights. This is one thing new knitters — and not so new knitters — struggle with. When a pattern calls for medium yarn, what does that mean? There’s a standardized yarn weight system so you can confidently interchange yarns.

The Craft Yarn Council keeps everything standardized to very explicit criteria, this is a link to their page about yarn standards, but below is an image with specifications normally found on ball bands.

 

All the categories of yarns weights there are out there.
All the categories of yarns weights there are out there.

 

Lace

The kinds of yarn in this category are things like 10 count crochet thread or very fine yarn. Mohair would also be in this category, not mohair spun with another yarn, but strands of mohair itself. Things that would commonly be knit with yarn this weight are projects that include lace work; shawls, scarves, intricate light sweaters.

Super Fine

This category includes fingering weight, sock yarn, and baby yarn. As you can guess, socks are one of the more common products of this type of yarn. There are many things that can be knit with this weight of yarn, including more durable shawls, baby clothes, sweaters, and color work mittens. This weight of yarn has been picking up in popularity because of the intricacy that can be achieved and the fact that most of it has nylon in it to add durability. Heart and Sole yarn is an example of this weight.

 

Red Heart's Baby Hugs yarn in colors Shell, Lilac, Pool, Aloe, and Frosting
Red Heart’s Baby Hugs yarn in colors Shell, Lilac, Pool, Aloe, and Frosting

 

Fine

Our next category includes sport weight and baby weight yarn. At this point you’re going to notice there is a bit of overlap between the two weights. Baby yarn is in both Super Fine and Fine. If the lines between the two are drawn thin, there could be a heavier and lighter version of a yarn. Therefore, Baby yarn can be classified as light or heavy and fit into both Super Fine and Fine. Projects common for this weight are sweaters, heavy socks, lighter outerwear, and baby items.
Light

In this category, double knitting (or DK) weight and light worsted weight. In here is where Baby Hugs Light and Cutie Pie yarn fit! Common projects for this weight are Icelandic sweaters, hats, mittens, prayer shawls, and cowls.

 

Baby Hugs Light (left) and Baby Hugs Medium (right) in the same color, Dolphin. See the difference between the two weights.
Baby Hugs Light (left) and Baby Hugs Medium (right) in the same color, Dolphin. See the difference between the two weights.

 

Medium

Here we find worsted, afghan, and aran weights. Red Heart’s Baby Hugs Medium, Unforgettable Waves, Crème de la Crème, and With Love are all in this category. This is one of the most universal sizes of yarn. The lighter weights of yarn show a lot of detail and intricacy, but knitting the same patterns with a Medium weight yarn shows the complexity of stitches while knitting up much faster. Common projects include heavier outer wear, afghans, blankets, and stuffies.

Bulky

Trucking right along to the heavy end of the spectrum, we come to the category that includes chunky, craft, and rug yarn. Red Heart’s Cordial yarn and Comfort Chunky are here in this category. Typical projects for this weight of yarn are blankets, afghans, rugs, chunky cowls, and market bags.

 

Baby Hugs yarn in Shell (top), Pinkie (bottom left), and Frosting (bottom right)
Baby Hugs yarn in Shell (top), Pinkie (bottom left), and Frosting (bottom right)

 

Super Bulky

This is where we get into the really heavy stuff, like roving and super bulky yarns. We’re talking about using US size 11-17 needles on this stuff. Projects for this weight of yarn are the same as above, but you get a much thicker fabric.
Jumbo

This is a new Craft Yarn Council designation, implemented because of the growing trend in arm knitting and super-bulky knits. For arm knitting you need really thick yarn, or roving, and there wasn’t a term for yarn that thick. Now, for your arm knitting pleasure, Jumbo yarn is here!

 

Baby Hugs Medium weight yarn in the colors Ladybug and Dolphin
Baby Hugs Medium weight yarn in the colors Ladybug and Dolphin

 

That’s yarn weights in a nutshell. There are a lot of intricacies within yarn weight, but you can feel confident that when you’re looking at a pattern calling for a medium yarn, you’ll be able to find that designation on the label of Baby Hugs Medium and know what it means! Join me tomorrow for more fun with Red Heart’s Baby Hugs yarn.

 

This is part 2 of 5 in this series.
Go back to part 1: 1 knitting pattern to show someone you love them

Go to part 3: Knit the best wrister pattern EVER!

About Michelle Nguyen

Michelle Nguyen is founder and creative director of Stitch Please Yarns. She originally got into the fiber arts business writing about knitting at her blog Stitches be Slippin, and now, also writes for KNITmuch.com.

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