Wednesday Question: What Is ‘Yarn Weight Classification?’

All knitters have questions about the best way to do things, why different things happen while they are knitting, how to fix knitting mistakes and more. Here is this weeks questions posed by Jenny Cambell in Scotland.
 Question : What is meant by “Yarn Weight Classifications?”

Answer: The “yarn weight classification” does not refer to how much a yarn “weighs” but is a standard designation for the size (diameter) of the yarn. The “yarn weight” required for a project and the amount of yarn needed to complete a project is specified in the project instructions. The thickness or thinness of a yarn is referred to as the yarn weight. Each weight has various names depending on what country you live in. Ply, in this case, does not refer to the number of strands that make up the yarn as it is spun together; rather, it is a term used in the UK and Australia to refer to how thick or thin the yarn is.

Here are terms used to refer to these weights of yarn in addition to the suggested gauge for each weight and the appropriate needle size.
Weight Sts Per 4″ (10 cm) Suggested Needles
Category 1
4 Ply
28-32 0-3 US
Category 2
5 Ply
24 3-6 US
Category 3
8 Ply
22 4-6 US
Category 4
10 Ply
20 6-9 US
Heavy Worsted
12 Ply
16-18 8-10 US
Category 5
13 Ply
12-14 10-11 US
Category 6
Super Bulky
14 Ply
8-10 11-15 US

Most yarn manufacturers make it easy for you to determine the weight of a particular yarn. Many of the mass-produced yarns use the yarn standards ranking system and will have the number and weight printed right on the label.

Other manufacturers don’t make it as easy, but they should have a gauge statement that will say something like “24 stitches and 22 rows per four inches on size four needles.” If you know a little bit about yarn weights (which you will when you consult the chart ) you’ll know that the yarn in question is sport weight.

Have fun, and happy knitting!

If you have a knitting question for Knitting Galore, please email it to :  or  Please  post it as a comment here.  All questions will be answered, and many are selected and answered each wednesday here on the Blog. 


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