A Simple Guide to Yarn Weights

By Tameko Barnette – 17 Comments

Have you ever noticed how some of your creations may not look and feel exactly how you imagined they would during or after creating them? Or, have you ever noticed that your creations may not look exactly like the images used in the magazine or crochet article?

Quite often, most crocheters from way back will use the yarn weight they have available to them at the time because it is cost effective and easily accessible. Perhaps, we may not even know about or use all of the yarn weights available, even if the patterns may call for a different yarn weight other than the most popular number four (4).

Here, in this piece, I have decided to compile a very simple guide to the various yarn weights and what each of them can be used for when we’re creating our items this year. This will be excellent for those crocheters who like to create their own patterns. You can start to explore the various types of yarn weights to see what works with your creation.

The basic yarn weights range from zero (0) to six (6). Here’’s a quick guide below of those weights:

– Yarn Weight 0 – crochet thread – recommended hooks are 6, 7, 8 or B-1
– Yarn Weight 1 – sock, baby – recommended hooks are B-1 to E-4
– Yarn Weight 2 – sport, baby – recommended hooks are E-4 to 7
– Yarn Weight 3 – light weighted – recommended hooks are 7 to I-9
– Yarn Weight 4 – worsted, afghan, medium weight – recommended hooks are I-9 to K-10 1/2
– Yarn Weight 5 – craft, rug, bulky – recommended hooks are K 10 ½ to M-13
– Yarn Weight 6 – super bulky – recommended hooks are M-13 and larger

Now, this list is a guide only. Of course, we have used a variety of crochet hooks with any given yarn weight we had available. I have created several scarves and prayer shawls with very large hooks, such as a L, M, or N with Yarn Weight four (4), which is a worsted yarn that is generally used for most popular patterns.

Therefore, we don’t have to keep ourselves tied down to any particular recommendation on the above list. It is a unique guide to keep in one’s mind about our crochet creations. We are always looking to try out new ways of creating crocheted items. I figured for the New Year we could start by looking at the various Yarn Weights and the crochet hooks that are typically recommended with each of them.

Have you ever used any of the other Yarn Weights besides the popular Worsted Yarn Weight number four (4)? If so, please share your experiences and share your recommendations?

Resource: http://www.craftyarncouncil.com/weight.html

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  1. Twinkie Lover says:

    Thanks for this very helpful guide. Where does “super bulky” fit in? I have only used baby, sport and worsted yarn. I buy a lot of secondhand yarn so it’s kind of hit and miss what I end up with.

    I have a question: by using more than one strand of worsted, can you substitute it for the heavier yarns? As long as it’s approximate that would be fine with me since I don’t enjoy making clothing items; it won’t have to be a perfect fit. I never pay attention to gauge or make a gauge swatch. I like making stuffed animals and blankets and would like to make some rugs.

    • Maggie says:

      “Super bulky” is yarn weight 6. Yarn weight 5 is commonly called “bulky” (it’s right there on the label).

  2. Lilli Johnson says:

    I have always wished someone would publish a chart indicating the size of the yarn if used doubled. Like if I’m using 2 strands of worsted weight held together, does that equal to a #5 or #6, etc. for various weights held 2 together or 3 or 4.

    • Panya says:

      You could always do a wrap test to see how many wraps per inch [wpi] there are. Make sure to twist the strands together slightly first, as they would be while working. For example, I just tested the yarn I have sitting next to me and it has 10 wpi [aran/worsted/4/medium] normally, but 7 wpi [heavyworsted/5/bulky] when doubled. [Note: wpi charts will vary!]

  3. Darlene says:

    I guess I have used them all from size 30 crochet thread (that’s as fine as I am willing to go) to super bulky 6. I can’t imagine limiting myself to just worsted weight (4) yarn. Come on ladies (guys too) expand your abilities. Get out of your rut. Try a different weight yarn and another size hook for the new year!

    • Panya says:

      Ditto this! My husband has used both baby and worsted to make blankets, and most of my work is done in thread [embroidery thread is my favorite], baby, and worsted, but I’ve used all weights!

  4. Nancy says:

    Is there a difference between Steele crochet hooks and regular hooks? I would like to try a pattern with crochet thread but the patterns call for Steele hooks. Do I need to buy a separate set of hooks? Thank you.

    • Panya says:

      Steel hooks are smaller. I have steel hooks from size 16 [0.60 mm] to size 00 [3.5 mm]. My smallest regular aluminum hook is size D-3 [3.25 mm] (so in the hooks I own, 0 = D-3 and 00 = E-4). The smaller hooks are made from steel because it’s a harder metal than aluminum [which would bend/break if made that small].

      I typically use a size 6 [1.8 mm] steel hook when working with embroidery thread, which is the same size as size 10 crochet thread. I made this bag [to hold my EpiPen] using that thread and hook: http://i6.photobucket.com/albums/y236/Panya/crafts/8dd4fa5d.jpg

      Whether you need a new hook depends on what you want to make and whether the size of that item matters. Using even a small regular hook with thread would result in something extremely lacy, with very large holes. It’s much easier to either use the proper hook size to go with the yarn weight you want to use, or use the proper yarn weight to go with the hook size you want to use.

  5. Jean says:

    I crochet using worsted weight yarn and crochet hooks sized F on up. I want to make a doily out of cotton thread using a size 10 steel crochet hook without much success. Would it be a good idea to practice using sport weight yarn and a small hook and keep going down on sizes? Any suggestions would be appreciated. Thanks.

    • Panya says:

      Yes; your tension needs to change a bit when you use different sizes, so stepping down [or up] gradually is a great idea. As a plus, you’ll likely have the pattern memorised and all of the kinks worked out by the time you get to the final size. 😉

      • Jean says:

        I never thought about the part of having the pattern memorized with all of the kinks worked out! Thank you for the tip.

  6. Nancy says:

    Thank you so much on the information about steel hooks. I really appreciate it and will get some too!

  7. Lin Naylor says:

    Good morning to you – A pattern that I am attempting (without success) calls for ‘Lily – Sugar and Cream 200 Yard Skein’ I’ve never heard of it – do you know what size / weight this yarn would be?

    Many thanks

  8. Lin Naylor says:

    PS – this yarn also calls for a crochet hook size of “G” and “H”

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