Understanding Yarn Weights

1640 South 600 East * Salt Lake City~ UT * 84105 * 801.668.0563

So what's all the fuss with weights of yarn and yards per pound and woolen and worsted and ..... well - it boggles my mind !!! HELP!!!!!!!!!

It can be confusing but we will try and break it down for you.

There are a few types of yarn descriptions in use today:

North American yarn descriptions are used the most and though they are approximate and less precise than the other two systems, they tend to be more comfortable to use for many of us involved in the wool crafts.

The numbers will vary somewhat depending on the type of fiber used to make the yarn. The yarn itself may be 2 or more strands also called plies.

The photos below show what we mean by "types" of fibers used. The heavier the fiber the heavier the yarn and it may NOT look to your eye to be a certain weight, but will calculate to the number of yards per pound.

Spinderella's Pound of varied fibers

The Standard Yarn Weight System

Categories of yarn, wraps per inch or WPI, gauge ranges, and recommended needle and hook sizes will give you general starting place.

Remember: Many manufacturers have their own standard weights of yarn.

Please note: that a gauge range is difficult to determine, and following the gauge stated in your pattern is the best way to insure success. For instance- Lynn almost always goes down 2 needle sizes from the suggested in the pattern. She is a loose knitter and knows 2 sizes smaller is a good starting point. Learning to gauge saves time and head aches.

A Side note: Steel crochet hooks are sized differently from regular crochet hooks—the higher the number, the smaller the hook, which is the reverse of regular hook sizes.

You will find our spinning weights are a bit different due to the many weights- we simplify our spinning prices for ease of invoicing.

Wraps Per Inch

What is it and how do you come up with a number? Click here for a PDF chart for you to use:
Yarn and Weights Chart

Worsted Weight Yarn

Worsted wool is nothing to do with worsted weight yarn. Worsted wool is wool which is carded and then combed so that all the fibers are aligned in a parallel manner. Woolen measure or also called Yorkshire wool is carded only, then spun to create a loftier yarn. Pencil roving that so many hand spinners use and some knitters with the "cakes" are actually a woolen processed "pre-yarn". Worsted wool is usually very fine and used for suits and fine fabric, many weavers use a worsted yarn. Hand knitting yarn is usually a woolen type yarn or possibly a semi worsted yarn, as we spin at Spinderella's Fiber Mill. Occasionally, manufacturers will specify "worsted" or "woolen" which means the method in which the fiber was spun, not the weight of the yarn. Most do not!


Jim and Lynn Snell
1640 S. 600 E
SLC,UT 84105
email: spinderellas523@msn.com

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