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  • Unraveling Yarn Weights

    October 11, 2023 4 min read 0 Comments

    Unraveling Yarn Weights - Tangled Yarn

    If you've ever felt a little lost in the world of yarn weights and their lingo, you are not on your own it can be baffling! But worry not you have come to the right place. We're here to explore why yarn weight is a big deal, what those standard categories mean, and, most importantly, why the terminology can be a tad befuddling.

    The Importance of Yarn Weight

    Let's start by understanding why yarn weight matters. It's not just about thickness; it's about how your project turns out. Whether you're crafting a light-as-air lace shawl or a toasty winter sweater, the yarn weight you choose sets the stage for success.

    • Project Success: Yarn weight affects your project's appearance and drape. Using the correct weight ensures your project's intended outcome; the wrong weight can result in an ill-fitting or overly tight/loose fabric.
    • Gauge and Fit: Yarn weight influences gauge, crucial for a proper fit, especially in garments.
    • Pattern Compatibility: Patterns are often designed with specific yarn weights in mind. Deviating from these recommendations may necessitate challenging pattern adjustments.
    • Yarn Substitution: Understanding yarn weight enables informed yarn substitutions and desired project results.
    • Yarn Quantity: Yarn weight directly impacts the quantity required, reducing the risk of shortages or excess.
    • Texture and Aesthetics: Yarn weight determines the texture and aesthetics of your project, making it easier to select the right yarn for your desired style.

    In a nutshell, understanding yarn weight enables you to make informed choices, complete projects successfully, and avoid disappointments! It's a fundamental skill that enhances your creativity and enjoyment in the world of knitting and crocheting.

    Standard Yarn Weight Categories and Confusing Terminology

    So what are yarn weights? Yarn weights are organised into standard categories, such as lace, fingering, sport, worsted, bulky, and super bulky, to help you make sense of your yarn selection and give you a rough idea of what you're purchasing. You can often spot these categories on yarn labels, which is where your yarn adventure begins.

    But, here's where it gets fun. The terminology can be all over the place. Different brands and regions have their own jargon, and you might see words like Aran, Worsted, or #4, all talking about the same thing but using different code words. Luckily for you, we're here to help you crack it with our yarn weight conversion chart!

    Yarn Conversion Chart

    The Importance of Considering Yardage and Weight Variations

    However, even with our hand chart, however, you can run into issues. Have you ever looked at a knitting pattern and under the suggested yarn details read, "...or x (x, x, x, x, x, x, x) skeins of DK weight yarn"?

    It makes total sense in theory; the designer used a DK weight yarn, so if you don't want to use the same yarn as them you can just substitute it for another DK yarn. Not quite, yarn weight can be quite the chameleon, shifting depending on the brand or base, even if they all have the same "weight category" label. A DK-weight yarn from one brand could be worlds apart from another's DK, so it's crucial to check out the yardage, especially if you are substituting yarn. 

    For example, let's take a look at two yarns from The Fibre Co. Lore and Arranmore Light are both classed as DK weight yarns, but Lore has 250m in 100g, while Arranmore has 300m in 100g. 

    Another example from two different yarn companies is dLana Sorrosal and Kokon Merino Fingering. The Kokon has 320m in 100g and is classed as a fingering-weight yarn. Sorrosal has 370m in 100g, so it's a lighter yarn, but it's classed as a sport weight, which is supposed to be heavier than a fingering weight. Do you see how things can get confusing?!

    In both of these examples, there has been a difference of 50m between the two yarns. While it's not a huge difference, it's still good practice to keep yardage in mind as it can still influence your project in a few ways, such as:

    1. Project Completion: As we saw above, yarns with the same weight might have varying yardage, and picking a yarn with less yardage for a big project could lead to playing yarn chicken. Not fun!
    2. Budget: Some lighter-weight yarns can pack more yardage, making them a budget-friendly choice for larger projects. By keeping an eye on yardage, you can stay within your crafting budget without compromising on the projects you want to undertake.

    So, when you're picking your yarn, always keep the yardage in mind, and you'll be crafting the FO of your dreams in no time!

    Final thoughts…

    The takeaway is this; looking at the yarn weight and understanding what it means is a great first step, but remember that no two same-weight yarns are created equal! Always check out the yardage, especially if you are substituting yarn, and as always, swatch!

    By now, you should be well on your way to mastering the art of yarn weight. While the terminology can be puzzling, we're here to tell you that you've got this. Embrace the variety that different yarn weights offer and let your creativity flow.

    We'd love to hear about your yarn weight adventures and any terminology mysteries you've unravelled. And if you're itching to put your new yarn conversion chart to use and do a little shopping, hop on over to check out our virtual shelves!