May 28, 2023

Famous Why

The Knowledge Is Yours

Knitting Yarn Selection: Types and Weights

3 min read

How do you choose which yarn to use for your next knitting project, given the rainbow of options? To obtain all the necessary information, look no further than the label.

What kind of yarn is best for beginners?

Most inexperienced knitters will use thick wool yarn and large needles that they can get from an online yarn store. Although novelty yarn can be difficult to work with, yarn type has little bearing on the difficulty of knitting. Wool is a readily available, low-cost yarn that is easy to work with.

Beginners can start with simple knitting patterns and designer-recommended yarn. You can start substituting yarns after experimenting with a few patterns to determine how different fiber types feel when knitted.

What is yarn?

Yarn is typically made from animal fibers such as wool, mohair, and angora. Furthermore, yarn is frequently made from plant fibers such as cotton, hemp, and silk (polyester, nylon, rayon). These tangled fibers are spun into plies, which are thicker filaments.

Weight Categories

The number of plies influences the drape, stitch definition, and overall texture of the yarn (for instance, single-ply vs. two-ply yarn). The number of plies considers the following categories:

Category 0: Lace (Approximately equal to 1 ply).

This lightest weight is ideal for doilies and other delicate lace designs. As a result, handle it with caution to avoid tangling or breaking.

Categories 1–3: Super Fine, Fine, and Light (Approximately equal to 2-5 ply).

This is appropriate for small items such as socks, gloves, hats, or infant and child clothing. Cast carefully both on and off the water. A “sport weight” or fingering yarn is exceptionally fine.

Category 4: Medium (Approximately equivalent to 8–10 ply).

Because of its superior stitch definition in sweaters, scarves, hats, and gloves, this weight, also known as “worsted,” is preferred by knitters of all skill levels. Chunky knitting stitches can increase the warmth of this weight of traditional Aran yarn.

Categories 5 and 6: Bulky and Super Bulky (Approximately equivalent to 12-14 ply).

This yarn weight enables fast knitting on large needles. Think about thick throws, blankets, and scarves. This yarn is suitable for novice and experienced knitters who want to make a one-of-a-kind item by knitting with large, loose stitches for maximum loft. Knits made from unevenly spun yarn, such as boucle, chenille, or slubby yarn, will have poor stitch definition and uneven texture.

Identifying the Label

The fiber content, weight, quantity, care instructions, needle size recommendation, gauge, and dye lot number are all listed on the label of each yarn.

Fiber Content 

It describes the composition of the yarn: 90% merino wool, 5% alpaca, and 5% cashmere.


Wraps per inch are a standard unit for measuring the overall thickness of yarn (WPI). The ply count is also important, as it can range from the lightest to the heaviest weights (usually between 1-ply and 14-ply). In the United States, these symbols currently influence how categories are divided.


The yarn’s total length is given in yards and ounces.

Dye-lot Numbers

It specifies the yarn’s color, like urth yarn. When making multiple purchases, make sure the quantities match. Even if two balls of yarn appear to be the same color, the finished knitted object will differ slightly.

Care Instructions

This section includes washing and drying instructions for your knitted item.

Standard needle and gauge yarn 

The yarn gauge is determined by the number of stitches and rows worked.

What kind of yarn should you use for your project?

Choose the yarn that is most appropriate for your project. The instructions frequently include yarn weight and needle size recommendations. Because changing the yarn can significantly impact the pattern’s outcome, use the recommended yarn or an exact substitute.


Before you begin knitting from your design, consider whether you want your knitted item to be machine-washable. Is it intended to keep you warm in the winter or cool in the summer? What are the item’s size and shape? Winter mittens made of hardy merino wool, as well as a rosette-shaped mohair scarf, are ideal. You are solely responsible for knitting the perfect item.