fingering, worsted, dk, bulky… huh ?

Ok this is going to be a long story! 😅

Sit down and have a cup of coffee or take a glass of wine. At the bottom of this page is also a diagram with the concise information you can download and save. 😁

I often hear “for a sweater I need 500 grams of wool”? The only thing I can answer is it could be, but it depends on how thick your yarn is and of course the pattern.

In the Netherlands we generally talk about fine, thin and thick yarns. These are fairly limited concepts for the amount of yarn types that are available. Especially if one person calls a yarn thin and the other thinks it is already a thick yarn.

In English speaking countries they have a wider range of yarn terms and they are used in patterns to indicate the yarns used such as lace, fingering, sport, dk. or eg.worsted. The advantage of this is that once you know what the terms means you immediately know how many meters there are ± per ball/skein of 100 grams and for which needles the yarn is suitable. In addition, it is also easier to find an alternative yarn for the pattern you want to make.

To make it more confusing, the English-speaking countries do not use the same names everywhere. In the UK and Australia, for example, they like to use 4 ply, but the term fingering, sock or baby is also used for it. But the other way around, not every fingering is a 4 ply, because that implies every fingering would consist of several plys, which is not the case. The term sock is often confusing to us because it is then thought that it is made especially for socks, but that it is not (but it is possible). Do you still get it? 😅

The Craft Yarn Council has therefore established a coding system with numbers for international use that yarn manufacturers can use to indicate the type of yarn. ‘Fashion yarns’ such as bouclé, warp and mohair yarns often have a different loop length and recommended thickness due to the construction. Below are the number codes with explanation and examples. The number codes contain a link that takes you to the yarns, the needle size I mention is for knitting needles, the diagram that you can download also lists the crochet hooks.

Code 0 – Lace

Other names for Lace include: Fine lace, 1 ply, 2 ply, Single, Cobweb and Thread.

Per 100 grams, this yarn has a running length between 600 – 1200 meters. The recommended needle size is 1.5 – 2.25 mm with a gauge of 33 – 40 stitches per 10 cm (4 inches).

Lace yarns are also often knitted on thicker needles in lace patterns to show the openwork structure better, such as in the scarf pattern‘Fine Lace defenition scarf’.

Lace yarns with mohair such as ‘The Coloured Cat – Persian Fluf’ or the ‘Rowan – Kid Silk Haze’ can also easily be knitted on a larger needle. Because the hairs of the mohair interlock, you get an airy yet warm knit. This is possible for sweaters, but also for shawls, depending on the transparency you want you can easily knit this thin lace yarn in 4.5 mm.

Code 1 – Super Fine

Other names for Super fine that are more commonly used include: Fingering, (most commonly used), Light Fingering, sock, 3 ply , 4 ply and Baby.

Per 100 grams, this yarn has a running length between 400-500 meters. The recommended needle size is 2.25 – 3.25 mm with a gauge of 27 – 32 stitches per 10 cm.

Fingering yarns are also more often knitted on thicker needles, for example to give a scarf a better drape, such as the ‘Lace Defenition scarf’ (the brother of the scarf above).

In a conversation I usually use the term fingering for this weight, because I find this the easiest name, there are no misunderstandings about whether something is twisted or not and whether it is suitable for socks or not.

An example of untwisted fingering (single ply) is the Madelinetosh – Tosh merino light. An example of a twisted fingering is The Coloured Cat – Purr-fect Twisted and an example of a fingering that is also suitable for knitting socks is The Coloured Cat – Soft Paws.

Patterns in this yarn are e.g. ‘No Point Intended’ and ‘Tosh meets Artemis’.

Code 2 – Fine

Other names more commonly used for Fine include: Sport, Baby, 5 ply.

Ingesproken tekst vertalen 70 / 5.000 Vertaalresultaten Per 100 grams, this yarn has a running length between 300 – 400 meters. The recommended needle size is 3.25 – 3.75 mm with a gauge of 23 – 26 stitches per 10 cm.

An example of a smooth sport yarn is the Madelinetosh – Tosh sport. Another example of a sport yarn is the Fonty – Alpaga and the Rowan Felted Tweed. The latter has a lot more meters on a ball and this is due to the way of spinning which is quite loose, which gives the knit a completely different appearance than if you would make it in the Madelinetosh – Tosh sport.

Code 3 – Light

Other names for Light that are used more often include: DK (Double knit), Light worsted, 8 ply.

Per 100 grams, this yarn has a running length between 240 – 300 meters The recommended needle size is 3.75 – 4.5 mm with a gauge of 21 – 24 stitches per 10 cm.

An example of a twisted DK yarn is The Coloured Cat – Maine Coon DK. Another example of a DK yarn is the Tulliver Yarn – Blue Faced Masham DK and the Malabrigo – Susurro. The Maine Coon Dk is a slightly more twisted yarn, which gives it a firmer and smoother knit, the Blue Face Masham is spun and twisted a bit more loosely, creating a somewhat woolier image and the Susurro is a single ply yarn that has a slightly shiny image through the linen and silk.

Code 4 – Medium

Other names more commonly used for Medium include:Worsted (american), Aran (english), Afghan, Tripple Knit, 10 ply

Per 100 grams, this yarn has a running length between 120 – 240 meters. The recommended needle size is 4.5 – 5.5 mm with a gauge of 16 – 20 stitches per 10 cm.

An example of worsted yarn is the Cascade – Cascade 220 heathers. Other examples of worsted yarn are the Malabrigo – Rios, The Coloured Cat – Colocola and Fonty – Polaire. The Rios is a smoother yarn and the other 3 are a bit woolier.

Code 5 – Bulky

Other names commonly used for Bulky include: Chunky, Craft, Rug, Double Double knit, 16 ply.

Per 100 grams, this yarn has a running length between 100 – 130 meters. The recommended needle size is 5.5 – 8 mm with a gauge of 12 – 15 stitches per 10 cm.

An example of bulky yarn is the Fonty – Pole, since our winters are not that extreme cold, this yarn is usually only used for hats and scarf. To get a Bulky yarn look you can of course also knit several threads together, this can produce nice color effects, but that is for another blog. An example pattern in a bulky yarn is the ‘Hood & Pocket scarf’.

Code 6 – Super Bulky

Other names that are more often used for Super Bulky include: Super Chunky or Roving.

Per 100 grams, this yarn has a running length of less than 100 meters and more than 50 meters. The recommended needle size is 8 – 12.75 mm with a gauge of 7 – 11 stitches per 10 cm.

An example of super bulky or super chunky yarn is the Malabrigo – Rasta, a beautiful thick hand-dyed yarn for lovely thick scarves, blankets, hats and mittens such as the ‘speedy mits’ and the ‘Cowl Cape’.

Code 7 – Jumbo

Another name more commonly used for Jumbo is Roving.

Per 100 grams, this yarn has a running length of less than 50 meters. The recommended needle size is 12.75 mm and larger with a knitting tension of 0-6 stitches per 10 cm. 0 sounds a bit strange, but sometimes the yarn is so thick that half a stitch is 1 cm.

At the moment we no longer have Jumbo yarns in the collection. In the past we have had thick wicker wool for pillows and poufs. If you still want the appearance of a jumbo yarn, knit or crochet 2 or 3 strands of the Malabrigo -Rasta together.

Nifty! An overview diagram to keep

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