Fiber craft patterns always give a yarn weight. I've seen things like medium and light, but also "worsted yarn" or "DK yarn".

What does this mean?

  • Don't the replies to How can I determine a yarn's weight answer this question as well?
    – skg
    Commented May 7, 2016 at 20:44
  • @skg Not really. That question asks how to figure out the weight of loose yarn, but assumes you know what yarn weight actually is and no one bothers explaining it.
    – Kareen
    Commented May 7, 2016 at 21:08
  • Have you seen en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yarn_weight? Are you asking for anything more than given in the table there?
    – Earthliŋ
    Commented May 8, 2016 at 21:13
  • 1
    @Earthliŋ Yes, I have seen it. I was actually expecting someone to post an answer based on it. I asked this question as a beginner question that I figured would get asked once the site opens up, similar to What is paper weight? Trying to populate the site, I guess.
    – Kareen
    Commented May 8, 2016 at 22:42
  • You're more than welcome to create "beginner FAQ" type questions whole cloth, with both the question and the answer. I've done it in a couple of cases and they've both been pretty successful, I think. Self-answering is perfectly fine :)
    – Catija
    Commented May 17, 2016 at 16:19

1 Answer 1


Yarn weight is basically the thickness of a given yarn. There are several ways to refer to yarn weight, but the category, the number of plies, the number of wraps per inch and the gauge range (for both knitting and crocheting) are the most commonly used. The weight of your yarn will affect the size of your finished product, and the size of the needles or hook you will have the most ease to work with. You will always it on your skein package.

Yarn label featuring category and gauge range

There are 8 categories of yarn as defined by the Craft Yarn Council: Lace, Super Fine, Fine, Light, Medium, Bulky, Super Bulky and Jumbo. Each category refers to a specific range of the measurements methods. Some categories will sometimes be substituted for a type of yarn, like Worsted for Medium or DK (Double Knitting) for Light.

The number of plies is nowadays probably the least consistent way to talk about yarn weight. Back in the day when knitting was done with actual sheep wool, yarn was measured by the number of single wool yarns in the finished yarn, but with synthetic yarn, it's more difficult to be consistent. For example, a 5 ply yarn in Australia will be called a 6 ply yarn in Germany, but not be standardized in the UK. Yarns below 5 ply are generally pretty consistent though.

Wraps per inch (wpi) is the the number of times you can fit a yarn within an inch. The thicker the yarn is, the lower its wpi will be.

The gauge range is the number of stitches you can make in a 4 inch or 10 centimeter swatch. This measurement is always double, once for knitting and once for crocheting.

Here is a table I made:

Yarn weight table

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