“I can not find the featured yarn mentioned in the pattern. How do I know what other yarn I can use?” This question I get a lot. The answer is simple – choose a yarn with the same weight! In this post, I want to explain in a simplified way the yarn weight system and give you some helpful tips to make the process of finding yarn for your project very easy.
What is the yarn weight?
The yarn weight is measured by the diameter or thickness of a yarn strand. The lower the weight number is the lighter /thinner the strand is. Another “term” when it comes to yarn sizes you can see in different charts and on yarn labels is ply which refers to the number of strands twisted together to make the yarn.
For example, 2ply means that two strands were twisted together to form the yarn. The number of ply can vary from 1 to 16, depending on yarn thickness. But 1 ply does not always mean a thin strand – roving or macrame yarns can be 1 ply but their strands are quite thick. Jumbo yarns too most of the time have only 1 strand (see image below).
Types of yarn weight
There are 7 standard yarn weights. On every yarn label, you find a symbol where yarn weight is marked by a number and name.
Unfortunately, the terminology in different countries is not always the same. You can find these common terms for each yarn weight category:
0 – lace: Lace, Baby, Crochet Thread
1- super fine: Fingering, Sock, Baby
2- fine: Sport, Light DK, Baby
3- light: DK or Light Worsted
4- medium: Aran, Worsted, Afghan
5- bulky: Chunky, Bulky, Rug
6- super bulky: Super chunky, Roving
7- jumbo: Jumbo, Roving
Here is a conversion chart for the yarn weight type and hook/ knitting needles you will need.
You can grab this chart in a handy PDF at the end of the post.
Where do I find the yarn weight?
It’s written on the label of the yarn skein. If for some reason your yarn skein does not have a label, you can always google the yarn’s name and manufacturer and see on the product description page all the details you need.
How to swape yarns for the pattern based on weight
When you choose the yarn for your project based on a pattern, it is not always possible to find the featured or suggested yarn. Yarn weight in this case is a very important parameter to look for. Choose the yarn that has the same weight as the yarn featured in the pattern.
This gives quite a big creative freedom to the crafters to choose fiber and colors to their liking. You also can make a design in more than one version – for warmer and colder seasons.
For example, baby pants. Made in cotton they will be perfect for spring or summer, the same design in wool or a mix of wool and cotton can be perfect for autumn and winter.
Yarns swap tool online
There is another way to find a yarn for your project: the online yarn swap tool. Enter in the search window anything you know, for example, one of the following: yarn’s name, weight, category, brand, or fiber content, and … ta-da! You will see a list of compatible yarns with their brand, name, composition, and price range. Clicking on the link, you will find even more info, like where to buy and care instructions. To try this tool, go here.
Well, I hope this post was useful for you. You can grab a handy PDF chart to have on your device or print it: