What does worsted weight mean anyway?

Many times I am asked the question, “What does worsted weight mean?” It’s a good question! There are several thicknesses of yarn which we refer to as weight. Don’t confuse this with the actual gram or oz weight listed on the label which reflects the heaviness of the yarn. I am referring to weight as it is called for in a pattern, such as sock weight, worsted weight or bulky weight, to name a few. It can be a mind boggling affair and it is not uncommon for two experienced knitters to disagree about the weight of any particular yarn they are considering.

Enter The Craft Yarn Council of America! This fine institution has for many years now made a valiant attempt to standardize the Craft Yarn industry. Many larger yarn companies and publishers use this standardized system when labeling yarn and patterns as you see below:

Standard Yarn Weight System

Categories of yarn, gauge ranges, and recommended needle and hook sizes

Yarn Weight Symbol
& Category Names
lacesuper finefinelightmediumbulkysuper bulky
Type of
Yarns in
Category
Fingering
10-count
crochet
thread
Sock,
Fingering,
Baby
Sport,
Baby
DK,
Light
Worsted
Worsted,
Afghan,
Aran
Chunky,
Craft,
Rug
Bulky,
Roving
Knit Gauge
Range* in
Stockinette
Stitch to 4 inches
33–40**
sts
27–32
sts
23–26
sts
21–24
st
16–20
sts
12–15
sts
6–11
sts
Recommended
Needle in
Metric Size
Range
1.5–2.25
mm
2.25—
3.25
mm
3.25—
3.75
mm
3.75—
4.5
mm
4.5—
5.5
mm
5.5—
8
mm
8 mm
and
larger
Recommended
Needle U.S.
Size Range
000–11 to 33 to 55 to 77 to 99 to 1111
and
larger
Crochet Gauge*
Ranges in
Single Crochet
to 4 inch
32–42
double
crochets**
21–32
sts
16–20
sts
12–17
sts
11–14
sts
8–11
sts
5–9
sts
Recommended
Hook in Metric
Size Range
Steel***
1.6–1.4
mm
2.25—
3.5
mm
3.5—
4.5
mm
4.5—
5.5
mm
5.5—
6.5
mm
6.5—
9
mm
9
mm and
larger
Recommended
Hook U.S.
Size Range
Steel***
6, 7, 8
Regular
hook B–1
B–1
to
E–4
E–4
to
7
7
to
I–9
I–9
to
K–10 1⁄2
K–10 1⁄2 to
M–13
M–13
and
larger
* GUIDELINES ONLY: The above reflect the most commonly used gauges and needle or hook sizes for specific yarn categories.** Lace weight yarns are usually knitted or crocheted on larger
needles and hooks to create lacy, openwork patterns. Accordingly, a
gauge range is difficult to determine. Always follow the gauge stated in
your pattern.*** Steel crochet hooks are sized differently from regular hooks—the
higher the number, the smaller the hook, which is the reverse of regular
hook sizing

I recommend you print this handy guide out and tuck it into your pocketbook. You will always be able to figure out what yarn you need or want based on the information here even if it isn’t marked with the standardized system! Alpaca Direct has also incorporated the Standard Yarn Weight System into
our website! What a great resource when shopping for yarn. I am so
excited about this new feature. Let us know how it helps you!

 

One thought on “What does worsted weight mean anyway?

  1. I started crocheting as a child. I started with cookies, then migrated Afghanis. When I get sleepless at night, I find a piece to work on to get me back to sleep. I usually give them as gifts.

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