How to know the difference between yarn ‘weight’

**This post contains affiliate links for This means that if you click on one of these links and purchase something, I’ll receive yarn-money (at no extra cost to you) to assist me in continuing to design patterns!**

The yarn ‘weight’ I’m talking about here isn’t actually the grams provided on the yarn ball label. It refers to the thickness of the yarn; and the thickness of the yarn will have a huge impact on the finished product, as well as how much yarn is need and how much time it takes to complete the project.

*Surprise surprise* unfortunately there isn’t global unity in regards to yarn weights – just like crochet terms and hook size labels… BUT the different terms for different yarn weights generally cross over, so it’s a good idea to know them. Alternatively (and much easier on the brain) you can just download the handy chart I’ve made for you to help you compare different yarn weight terminology and to help you determine what exactly you’re buying, no matter where you are in the world! You can find my chart at the bottom of this post…

First, let’s have a look at the different ‘weight’ yarn available and what you might use them for. I’ll also try and provide some example brands and names of yarn for you to look for – I’ll list ones from Spotlight (as that’s my regular stomping ground here in Aust) and I’ll also list some from Love Crochet as they ship pretty much everywhere!

Lace / Crochet Thread (0)

Lace yarn is used for extremely fine work – just like the doilies your grandma has around her house… Everywhere… So. Many. Doilies… Or, to go a bit more modern, you could make these super cool ‘Go Incognito Masks’ by Red Heart! *Who’s up for a masquerade party?!*

At Spotlight you might find:

  • DMC Cordonnet / Petra
  • Milford Mercer / Jumbo / Metallic / Soft

On Love Crochet you might find:

  • Bernat Handicrafter Crochet Thread / Ombres
  • DMC Babylo / Cebelia
  • Rico Essentials / Glitz
  • Anchor Aida / Artiste Mercer / Artiste Metalic
  • Lana Grossa Meilenweit
Bernat Handicrafter Crochet Thread Ombres

Super Fine / Fingering / Baby / Sock (1)

Super fine yarn is also known as ‘fingering’ yarn (no laughing!), ‘baby’ yarn and ‘sock’ yarn. So, funnily enough, this yarn is often used to make baby stuff and socks! Here in Aust, you’d be looking for 3-ply or 4-ply written on the yarn ball label.

At Spotlight you might find:

  • Patons Big Baby 3-ply
  • Patons Regal 4-ply
  • Moda Vera ‘Not Just Socks’
  • Bella Baby Bamibini 4-ply
  • Moda Vera Gelato 4-ply

On Love Crochet you might find:

  • DMC Natura Just Cotton
  • Patons Fairytale Fab 4-ply
  • Stylecraft Head Over Heels
  • Red Heart Precious
  • James C Brett Baby 4-ply
DMC Natura Just Cotton

Fine / Sport (2)

Fine yarn (or ‘sport’ yarn – I’ve no idea where that name came from) can be used to make light, summer jumpers / sweaters, baby stuff and other accessories. In Australia, you’re to look for 5-ply for a similar thickness yarn.

At Spotlight you might find:

  • Patons Classic Bluebell 5-ply

On Love Crochet you might find:

  • MilliaMia Naturally Soft Cotton / Merino
  • Bernat Baby Sport
  • Red Heart Miami
  • Lang Yarns Baby Cotton / Alpaca
MilliaMia Naturally Soft Merino

Light / Light Worsted / Double-Knitting (DK) (3)

‘DK’ is the most common name for this weight yarn. DK yarn is often used to make jumpers / sweaters, light blankets and fine scarves. I also like using this yarn to make toys (i.e. amigurumi). In Aust, try looking for 8-ply yarn.

At Spotlight you might find:

  • Cleckheaton California Wool 8-ply
  • Pattons Souffle 8-ply
  • Moda Vera Fayette
  • 4-Seasons Marvel & Marvel Soft 8-ply
  • Pattons Cotton Blend 8-ply

On Love Crochet you might find:

  • Stylecraft Special DK
  • Paintbox Yarns Cotton / Simply DK
  • Rico Baby So Soft DK
  • James C Brett Baby Shimmer DK
Stylecraft Special DK

Medium / Worsted / Afghan / Aran (4)

Medium, worsted yarn is also used to make jumpers / sweaters and blankets (i.e. afghans – who knew!?), as well as hats and beanies and gloves. I often use this yarn to make toys (i.e. amigurumi) too. If you’re buying yarn in Australia, look for 10ply (although I find it quite hard to come by, so often revert to 8-ply).

To be honest, I don’t find much difference between light and medium worsted yarn… Both Medium worsted and DK yarn are the most popular weight yarns for crocheting (and knitting).

At Spotlight you might find:

  • Moda Vera Harmony
  • Lionbrand Heartland
  • Moda Vera Bouvardia
  • Caron Cakes
  • Red Heart Soft Baby Steps

On Love Crochet you might find:

  • Lily Sugar ‘n Creme
  • Lion Brand Vanna’s Choice
  • Paint Box Yarns Simply Aran
  • Caron Simply Soft
  • Bernat Handicrafter Cotton
Bernat Handicrafter Cotton

Bulky / Chunky (5)

According to Love Knitting, “Bulky and chunky yarns can vary a lot in thickness. Frequently, yarn companies will lump all yarns thicker than aran or worsted into this one category. As a result, finding successful substitutions can be difficult.”

So apparently anything from 12-ply up could be considered ‘bulky’ or ‘chunky’ – just choose which one suits your project the best.

At Spotlight you might find:

  • Patons Jet 12-ply
  • Cleckheaton Lawson Tweed 12-ply
  • 4-Seasons Marvel 12-ply
  • Moda Vera Tolve 12-ply
  • Patons Inca

On Love Crochet you might find:

  • Lion Brand Unique
  • Bernat Baby Blanket Big Ball
  • Rico Creative Melange Chunky
  • Stylecraft Carnival
  • King Cole Chunky Tweed
Bernat Baby Blanket Big Ball

Super Bulky (6)

Super bulky yarn is my favourite. It works up incredibly quickly and creates something so soft and comfy, so I love using this yarn to make beanies and chunky scarves. Super bulky yarn is great for making heavy blankets and floor rugs.

Bulky and Super Bulky yarn is often mixed up together, so potentially anything from 12-ply up could be considered ‘super bulky’.

At Spotlight you might find:

  • Panda Soft Cotton Chunky
  • Moda Vera Shiver
  • Lionbrand Heartland Thick & Quick

On Love Crochet you might find:

  • Stylecraft Weekender Super Chunky
  • DMC Natura XL
  • King Cole Gypsy Super Chunky
  • Red Heart Lisa Big
  • Knit Collage Pixi Dust / Gypsy Garden
Stylecraft Weekender Super Chunky

Jumbo (7)

Jumbo yarn is super thick and creates a very heavy finished product. Jumbo yarn is slowly gaining popularity so you may not find much jumbo yarn in the shops just yet; but if you do, I’d think it’d be good for floor rugs and baskets or insanely giant and squishy blankets! And make sure you get yourself a crazy huge hook too – like a size 20mm, or even just use your arms!

Extreme crochet! Jumbo yarn and a 25mm hook!

Not all yarns are made equal…

It’s true that even the example yarns I’ve listed above won’t be exactly the same as each other, even within the same weight category! Most, if not all, crochet patterns will tell you the brand and type of yarn used in the pattern and the crochet hook the pattern creator used with it. Just as I suggested in my gauge post, I still suggest using the same yarn used in the pattern if you’re still a beginner, until you gather enough experience with yarn to know the similarities and differences between the brands you use most often. By this time, it will become much easier for you to substitute yarns if you don’t have access to buy the yarn listed in the pattern, or if you simply don’t like that yarn.

Alternatively, I go to Yarn Sub *all the time*! This site doesn’t have every single type of yarn ever made listed – but I’d bet it’s pretty close to it! All you do is search for the yarn suggested in the pattern and it will tell you a few details about that yarn and then list a bunch of other brands and types of yarn that are similar to it. PLUS, each yarn it suggests as a possible substitute will provide you with a percentage match based on the similarities in texture, gauge, fiber content and qualities of the yarn AND it will give you a rough estimate of how many balls you will need to have the same yardage as the original. *SIMPLY BRILLIANT!*


Yarn weight comparison chart

By now you’re thinking “how on Earth do I know which yarn is which?” Well, I’ve made it easy… *Ta da!* Here is a yarn weight comparison chart, so no matter where in the world you’re shopping for yarn, you’ll know roughly what you’re buying!

Yarn Weight Comparison Chart

You may also find my ‘Recommended yarn + hook combination chart’ useful over on my How to tell the difference between crochet hooks post!

Which is your favourite brand and type of yarn to use? What are your favourite crochet items to make? I’d love to hear about your current WIPs (works in progress) in the comments below. Happy crocheting! 

**This post contained affiliate links for This means that if you clicked on one of these links and purchased something, I’ll receive yarn-money (at no extra cost to you) to assist me in continuing to design patterns!**

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