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Sunday, April 8, 2012

Guide to Yarn: What are weights, different types and how to use them

Many beginning yarn crafters make a common mistake (myself included, many years ago) and this mistake is not knowing enough about yarn.  Different yarn can behave rather differently when you are crafting with it, and it is very important to know what type of yarn you can use with different patterns, hooks, and techniques.  I have experimented with almost every type of yarn out there, and let me tell you, there is a world of difference.  For ease of reference, I will list them from the lightest weight to the heaviest and will discuss each one a little more.

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Category 0-1: Super Fine
   Yarn types: Fingering, Sock, Lace
          Hook Size: 1-3mm
                 Average Number of Stitches per 4 inches: 27-32
                      Used for: socks, lace, doilies, baby wear, delicate work

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Category 2: Fine
    Yarn types: Sport Weight, Baby Yarn
        Hook Size:  3-5
                Average Number of Stitches per 4 inches: 23-26
                       Used for: babywear, sweaters, and lighter throws.

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Category 3: Light
     Yarn types: DK, Light Worsted Yarn
            Hook Size: 5-7
               Average Number of Stitches per 4 inches: 21-24
                   Used for: baby and light-weight adult garments, light-weight scarves

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Category 4: Medium
     Yarn types: Worsted-Weight, Afghan, Aran Yarn
           Hook Size: 7-9
                 Average Number of Stitches per 4 inches:  16-20
                        Used for: Throws, adult garments, blankets, sweaters, outdoor wear
                       *Most Popular Weight for Knitting and Crocheting*

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Category 5: Bulky

     Yarn types: Chunky, Craft, Rug Yarn
          Hook Size: 9-11
               Average Number of Stitches per 4 inches: 12-15
                      Used for: hats, scarves, throws, rugs, jackets, and blankets

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Category 6: Super Bulky
      Yarn types: Bulky, Roving Yarn
            Hook Size: 11 and up
                 Average Number of Stitches per 4 inches: 6-11
                        Used for:  Heavy Blankets and Rugs, Sweaters, Scarves

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For some additional information regarding yarn weights, see the following links:


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Some Typical Mistakes Made by Crocheters When Choosing Yarn:

Pay attention to your pattern.  When a pattern calls for a light sport, don't use a super bulky or your item won't end up looking anything like the pattern.  If you MUST use a different yarn, it's worth doing a test gauge so that you know what changes you should make, like going up or down a hook to get it to the right size.

Don't start with Bulky or Super Bulky.  I know it's tempting, because these yarns are just so lush and inviting, but they're much harder to see where your stitches are, making the learning process even harder.  Instead, start with a DK or a regular Worsted Weight (I highly recommend the worsted weight).

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Well, I hope that helps everyone!  Do you have any beginning yarn stories or advice?  If so I'd love to hear them!!!

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