What is a basic explanation of yarn weights?


Quick Answer

Yarn weights are used to differentiate between the thicknesses of different yarns. Traditional ways of expressing a yarn's weight include the number of plies and the gauge of the yarn, which is the number of stitches in four inches.

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Full Answer

Pattern makers sometimes use terms such as lace, superfine, medium or bulky to describe the weight of specific yarn appropriate for a project. Knitting or crocheting with lace yarn when the original pattern calls for super bulky creates a much smaller project.

Knowing a yarn's weight helps you make appropriate substitutions. If you do not know the weight of a yarn, knit or crochet four inches of stitches and then count them to determine the yarn's gauge. Alternatively, if you want to check whether two yarns have equivalent weight, wrap each around one inch of an object, such as a ruler. Then compare the number of times each yarn wraps around the ruler. If each yarn wraps the same number of times, the yarns have equivalent weight and can be substituted for one another in a project.

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