Alpaca Direct Blog

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
lace super fine fine light medium bulky super 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
000–1 1 to 3 3 to 5 5 to 7 7 to 9 9 to 11 11 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!  


Posted by Mary Wade on Wed, Oct-05-2016, 17:57

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.

Post a Comment!



About Alpaca Direct addi adknitalong ADsockalong afghan knitting patterns alpaca alpaca direct Alpaca Socks alpaca store alpaca yarn company Alpacas alpacor amex apparel store arnold austermann step baby baby janes backpacking bag bay area shopping beginner beginning knitting beginning spinning bind-off blocking booties brentwood brioche knit building blocks building in color bulky bulky yarn Cable Knitting cardigan cascade heritage Cascade Pacific cascade ultra pima cascade yarn cashmere cast on challenge Challenges charity chunky chunky yarn circular needles Classes cnn coeur d'alene cold cold feet color work cotton cowl craft crafts crochet crochet along crochet class crochet classes crocheting Customer Stories dahlgren darning needle dead fish hat debbie bliss DIY dog sweater dress casual drop spindle dropped stitch duplicate stitch dye dyeing wool earth day easter egg dye eco-craft end of summer environment fair fall fashion felting fiber fiber prep figure eight fingerless finish free finishing knitting fish Fixitfriday footwear fortune foster kids frank free freshwater friendship gift giveaway gloves golf great wheel groupon hand dye yarn hand spinning hat hayden health heel hiking hiya hiya how to how to crochet idaho ideas iluvalpacadirect Image independent Independent's Celebration inspiration jack James Hobart Jennifer Wood jessica jewelry jody-moody KAL karbonz kelley-hobart kitchener stitch kjirstine knit knit along knit group knit ribbing knit shawl patterns knit toys knitted hat knitting knitting classes knitting group knitting in the round Knitting News knitting notions knitting patterns knitting problems knitting retreat knitting techniques knitting tips Kollage Needles koolaid lace lace knitting lace weight yarn learn to crochet learn to knit madelinetosh madelinetosh yarn magic loop malabrigo malabrigo nube malabrigo rasta malabrigo rios malabrigo worsted man hat mari Maria Welke mattress stitch memory mentoring misti alpaca mittens mom neckwarmer needle felting needles nicklaus north face north idaho fair northern california obermeyer old shale open knitting Our Alpaca Ranch owl owls palmer Palouse Yarn Company Panda Sock Patterns pearl performance peru pet photo contest picot pima plarn plastic plymouth yarn pollution powerreviews prize product review Products Reviews project red scarf Projects Promotions purl side Queensland Llama Lace rasta reading recycle red scarf project retail reuse review ribbing roving scarf Seamed sweaters sewn bind off shawl shawl knitting patterns sheep Shooting Yarn Shop Small short rows shrug sinatra ski slippers slouch hat small business saturday snow sock sock blockers sock heel sock knitting sock monkey sockalong socks socktober sox stix speckled yarn spin Spin In spindle spinning spinning classes spinning group spinning wheel spinzilla spinzilla2014 split stitch sports spring knitting patterns stitch patterns stitches west Store News stranding stretchy stretchy bind off stretchy cast on summer super bulky yarn super stretchy superwash sweater knitting patterns sweaters SweetGeorgia Yarns t-shirt teamalpacadirect techniques throw toe up toe up socks top 10 lists top down trail trekking xxl turkish cast on tutorial Tutorials twins Uncategorized unisono upcycle vest waves win winter women wool wrap yarn yarn show yarn store Zauberball Sock Zen Yarn Garden zitron