September 19, 2022 4 min read

Yarn weights can be very confusing.  Even for experienced knitters, sorting out the terms, gauge, and needle size for each weight is a lot.  The Craft Yarn council of America has created a standard yarn weight system with eight categories, from 0 to 7, and organized the yarn into those categories.  It's a good idea, but still confusing since most yarn store yarn is not labeled with the Craft Yarn Numbers. 

Here's a handy reference to the way yarn stores group yarn.  Please note that the yardages given for each weight of yarn are only approximations. Yardage depends on a number of factors including, spinning technique, fiber composition, and ply. Same with needle sizes required.  Knitters will want to swatch and choose the correct needle size based their knitting tension

What is Lace weight Yarn? (CYCA 0 Lace)

Most lace weight yarn has about 800 yards per 100 grams, although cobweb lace yarn can have more than 1000+ yards per 100 grams.  it is used on its own, to make a super delicate fabric for fine lace shawls.  It can also be carried with other yarns to add texture, color, or heft.  It is worked on very fine needles at a gauge of 32 stitches per 4" to more than 40 stitches per 4 inches.

What is Fingering weight yarn? (CYCA 1 Super fine)

Fingering weight yarn is about twice as heavy as lace weight yarn light weight yarn with around 400 yards per 100 grams. It is often called 4-ply yarn. Baby garments are often knit in this gauge of yarn, so it is sometimes referred to as baby weight yarn.  Most socks are knit in this gauge yarn, so it is also called sock yarn, but it's important to know that not all fingering weight yarns are sock yarns, and not all socks are knit in fingering weight yarn. Fingering weight yarn is typically knit at a gauge of 27-32 stitches per 4" on a US 2 or 3 needle, although it is often knit more tightly for socks and more loosely for sweaters and shawls. When a fingering weight yarn is woolen spun, it is often called jumper weight

What is Sport weight yarn? (CYCA 2 Fine)

Sport weight yarn is heavier than fingering weight yarn  but lighter that DK weight yarn.  It typically has about 350 yards per 100 grams. It is sometimes called 3-ply.   It is also used for baby garments and so is sometimes called baby weight yarn, which adds to the confusion.  Sport weight yarn is knit at a gauge pf 23-26 stitches per 4" on a US 4 or 5.  

What is DK weight yarn? (CYCA 3 Light)

The term DK is short for double knitting.  It is heavier than sport, but lighter than worsted. It is often called 6-ply in some countries  It is perfect for all sorts of garments, from baby items to accessories and sweaters. it typically has 240 to 270 yards per 100 grams.  Dk weight yarns knit at a gauge of 21 to 23 stitches per 4" on a US 5 or 6 needle

 

What is Worsted weight yarn? (CYCA 4 Medium)

Worsted weight yarn is about twice as heavy as fingering weight yarn with approximately 200 yards per 100g.  Two strands of fingering weight yarn held together knit at about a worsted gauge.   In the CYCA system, worsted includes yarn that knits at 16 stitches to 4 inches and yarn that knits at 20 stitches to 4 inches.  This is a huge jump, because a yarn that is happy at 16 stitches per 4 inches is going to be way too tight at 20, and vice versa. Think of worsted weight yarns as falling into either light worsted  or heavy worsted. Light worsted yarns knit between 19 and 20 stitches per 4 inches on a US 7 needle and have about 180 yards per 100 g, while heavy worsted yarns knit between 16 and 18 stitches per 4 inches on a US 8 or 9 and have 215 yards per 100g

What is Chunky weight yarn? (CYCA 5 Bulky)

Chunky yarns are about twice as heavy as dk weight yarns with 130 yards per 100 g.  Chunky yarns usually knit up at a gauge of 12 to 15 stitches per 4 inches on a US 10-11 needle.  These yarns are often used for outerwear as they create a thicker fabric.  Depending on the fiber and construction, they can be heavy or quite light.  

What is Super Bulky weight yarn? (CYCA 6 Super Bulky)

Super bulky yarn is very thick, and is favored for things that knit up quickly into cozy sweaters and fun accessories. Super Bulky yarns are worked at a gauge of 7  to 11 stitches per 4 inches on US 13 to 17 needles and have about 40-80 yards per 100 grams.  Again, this is a big gap, as a yarn that knits at 7 stitches per 4 inches is almost twice the size of a yarn that knits at 11 stitches per 4 inches.  

What is Jumbo weight yarn? (CYCA 7 Jumbo)

Jumbo yarn is often more like a lightly spun roving. It has a gauge of 6 or fewer stitches per 4 inches and knits on US size 19, 35, or 50 needles.