Skeins of thread and knitting wooden needles for needlework. Studio Photo

Yarn Weight – What does it mean?

by Cheryl Moreo

Yarn weight – No, we aren’t referring to how much a ball, skein, or hank weighs. In this case, it refers to the thickness of the yarn.

As a beginner knitter or crocheter, one of the most challenging things to figure out is yarn sizes. What is that number on a yarn label anyway?

Most patterns specify the yarn used by a term such as “worsted” or “lace.” In addition, they may display one of the Craft Yarn Council’s numbers like “4”. As depicted in the Craft Yarn Council’s image below, there are eight yarn categories.

Yarn category symbols
Yarn Weight - What does it mean? 5

Most yarn labels will also display these numbers.

But what do the numbers mean? They refer to the thickness of the yarn. They start with the finest up to and end with the thickest. Also, they have names associated with each number. Some numbers cover more than one yarn thickness. With experience, one will soon learn to check the yarn labels for the yardage information for the project yarn. Therefore, helping you to discern whether it is a light worsted or a heavy worsted. Remember, this blog and the charts information are just a starting point. It is always best to complete a gauge swatch to ensure that you have the suitable yarn for your project. Save time, knit a gauge swatch.

Yarn Weight and Needle/Hook Sizes Chart

yarn weight chart
Symbols Source: Craft Yarn Council’s Chart prepared by Cheryl Moreo of

The above chart is a free download on our FREE RESOURCES page. All of our newsletter subscribers have free access to the FREE RESOURCE page. If you aren’t a subscriber, complete one of the forms on this page.

The Yarn Weights Explained

0 Lace:

Yarn Types

Fingering or Cobweb Lace:  This is not the same weight as 1 Super Fine. Indeed a lace weight that is cobweb thin.

Thread:  Lace yarn includes 10-COUNT crochet thread.

Per skein: 500–1000 yards per 100 grams


Used to make lace, doilies, shawls, and other delicate items.

Most lace patterns call for larger needles/hooks than specified in this blog or chart to achieve an open, light, and lacy design.

Other Terms Used for Lace Weight

In the UK, lace weight is called a one-ply yarn. But, in Australia, lace weight is called two-ply.

1 Super Fine:

Yarn Types

Sock:  As the name implies, this is your go-to yarn for socks. These yarns generally have a synthetic blend of fibers to help ensure long-wearing durability and machine-washability.

However, German sock yarn manufacturers may create their sock yarn in ‘4-fache’ and ‘6-fache’ weights. A 6-fache thicker yarn is closer to a DK or sport weight. Therefore, remember the term sock weight can include fingering weight yarn as well as DK or sport weight yarn.

Fingering:  Fingering weight yarn is one of the most versatile yarn weights available. Perfect for garments and accessories. Fingering weight yarns are for projects with a knitting gauge of 7–8 stitches per inch.

Per skein: 380–500 yards per 100 grams


Create socks, shawls, scarves, and baby items with this yarn weight category.

Other Terms Used for Super Fine

6-fache is a term that some German yarns use for DK or sport weight. The UK calls fingering yarn 2-ply. Australians call fingering yarn 3-ply. Sock yarn is three-ply in both the UK and Australia.

2 Fine:

Yarn Types

Sport or Baby:  Heavier than sock yarn.

Per skein: 300–380 yards per 100 grams


This yarn weight makes cozy slippers and socks.

Sport weight yarn works best for sweaters, scarves, shawls, hats, mittens, and baby things. Also, this is a good yarn for knitting machines.

Other Terms Used for Fine

Fine or sport yarn weight is four-ply in the UK and five-ply in Australia.

3 Light:

Yarn Types

DK or Light Worsted:  The American term for DK or double-knitting yarn in weight is between sport and worsted weight.

Per skein: 190–300 yards per 100 grams


Nearly every kind of project is suitable for DK weight yarns. The lighter weight of DK yarn makes it ideal for pieces like baby blankets, spring cardigans, shawls, and cowls.

Other Terms for Light Yarn

DK yarn or light worsted yarn weight is eight-ply in Australia.

4 Medium:

Yarn Types

Worsted/Afghan:  Worsted yarn is thicker than Weights 0-3 but is not chunky or bulky. It is slightly thicker than DK but is thinner than Chunky. Worsted yarn is the best selling of all the categories. Red Heart Super Saver yarn is the most recognizable example of this yarn.

Aran:  Aran weight yarn is slightly larger than worsted weight. It is sometimes called heavy worsted. (Aran weight yarn and Aran sweaters are not the same things.)

Worsted and Aran aren’t exactly interchangeable. Therefore, making a gauge swatch is necessary if you substitute Aran yarn in a pattern.

Per skein: 190–240 yards per 100 grams for worsted and 140–190 yards per 100 grams for Aran


Both Worsted and Aran weight yarn are very versatile for various projects. Use worsted or Aran yarn weight for sweaters, blankets, hats, scarves, and mittens. Aran weight is especially perfect for warmer items.

5 Bulky:

Yarn Types

Also known as chunky or 12-ply weight yarn, this weight has an excellent stitch definition. Bulky yarn makes beautiful cables and textured stitches.

Per skein: 100–140 yards per 100 grams


Choose a bulky weight yarn for cozy blankets, warm sweaters, or quick-to-finish accessories.

6 Super Bulky:

Yarn Types

Super bulky yarn is a thick yarn that works up quickly. The super bulky yarn is considered super chunky in the UK and 14 -ply in Australia.

Per skein: 40–100 yards per 100 grams


Use this yarn weight for cowls, scarves, and hats.

7 Jumbo:

Yarn Types

Jumbo/Roving yarn is usually roving.

Per skein: 5–40 yards per 100 grams


Use this yarn weight category in tapestry weaving and arm knitting. Blankets and cowls are arm-knitted using this roving.

Related Post

Using a suitable yarn for your project is essential. Your gauge is vital to ensure you have the correct yarn for your project. To find out more, read my post on gauge: Save Time: Swatch a Gauge Square

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