Beginners Guide to Yarn Weight

When you’re new to crochet, there are so many different and exciting things to learn. New stitches, learning to read patterns, finding the yarn that feels “right” to work with. Exciting! What can be really confusing, though, is yarn weight. Why is it called “weight”? What are the different weights and what are they used for? What hook do I even use?

In this blog post, I’m going to answer those questions (and probably a few other questions). We’ll talk about what yarn weight even is, how to tell what weight the yarn you’re using is, what to use each weight for and examples of fun, easy patterns for each weight.

Pinterest pin for article referencing different yarn weight

Need to remember what yarn weight means what? Pin this to Pinterest so you always have it handy!

To make sure I had a variety of patterns to show you in different weights of yarn, I enlisted the help of my friends. With their permission, I’ve listed some of their favorite patterns of theirs for the different categories. Make sure to give them some love!

Let’s do it! Grab a drink and get cozy, this article is going to go over all the info you need.

All You Need to Know About Yarn Weight

What is yarn weight?

“Weight” of yarn can be a little deceiving when you’re first learning to crochet (or knit). The weight category of yarn actually refers to how thick the strand of yarn is, not how much it weighs.

Similar to how wire has a gauge for thickness, the weight of the yarn defines the approximate diameter of the strand. The smallest weight (0) refers to the thinnest diameter and the largest weight (7) refers to the thickest diameter.

It’s important for yarn to have a standard category system. This way, crocheters and knitters alike can be aware of what thickness of yarn they’re purchasing and approximately the size the yarn should work up to be when worked in a swatch.

The weight of the yarn gives you an approximate idea of how many stitches and rows should work up to be a 4 inch by 4 inch square.

Just like with clothing, yarn weights in the same category aren’t always exactly the same (Like a size 5 with one brand doesn’t fit the same as a size 5 from another). While the true yarn weight may not vary as significantly in size as clothing does (ugh!), it can have a very slight difference from manufacturer to manufacturer. The slight difference in thickness comes from many different aspects – the fiber, how the yarn was spun or manufactured, etc. So even if your pattern says to say, use any DK weight – you’ll still want to do a gauge swatch especially if it’s for a fitted item like a sweater.

How do I know what weight the yarn I’m buying is?

If you’ve ever walked into a chain craft store, you’ve likely stood smack dab in the center of large aisles of yarn. What a wonderful feeling! It can become overwhelming, though, if you don’t know what you’re looking for.

Most craft stores will set up their yarn aisles based on weight, fiber content and brand. So you can generally zero in to what you’re looking for once you get over how exciting all the new yarn possibilities are.

You can find the information for a manufactured skein of yarn on the skein label. This is the paper wrapper that goes around the beautiful skein or cake of yarn. On this label, you’ll see all sorts of information like this:

Yarn skein label for 1 – Super Fine yarn.

Yarn skein label for 4 – Medium yarn.

I’ve included pictures of two different skein labels so you can see most manufactured skein labels will be a similar layout.

There’s a lot to break down on a skein label here, but what we’re mainly looking for is the little graphic that looks like a skein of yarn with a black label and a white number. On both images, there’s black arrows pointing to the section of the skein label.

For the first skein label, it shows the typical yarn skein graphic with a “1” in it. This means this yarn is in the category of Super Fine. Underneath the graphic, you can see in teeny tiny font that it does say “Super Fine”, but some skein labels will not include this.

For the second skein label, it shows the graphic with a “4” in it. This means this yarn is in the category of Medium. This skein label does have a larger font indicating “Medium” but, like I said in the above paragraph, not all skein labels will have this.

These skein labels also have a lot of other good information such as: a 4 inch by 4 inch gauge swatch using a specific hook size, what the fiber content of the yarn is and how much yarn comes in the skein (ounces/grams and yards/meters). Yarn labels will also reference the colorway of the yarn, the lot number of the colorway, and other information. Some of them even have patterns written on the inside of the skein!

Most yarn these days comes with a label similar to these. If you’re purchasing hand dyed yarn, you may or may not get an actual skein label but I would suspect you would get some sort of invoice that states what the yarn weight is (and you should verify the weight before purchasing, of course!). If the skein comes without a label, I would recommend keeping the invoice with the skein or making a little label for it so you don’t forget.

What if I end up with yarn that doesn’t have a label?

It’s no secret that as crocheters, we’ve likely had someone gift us random yarn without a label or somehow lost the label years ago and now want to remember what the yarn weight is. That’s okay, it happens to all of us!

The best way I’ve found to figure out the weight of yarn that you found at the bottom of your stash without a label is to use the Wraps Per Inch (or WPI) method.

I talked about this a little bit in my guide on how to substitute yarn. Lovecrafts also has an awesome little tutorial on how to find the WPI of a yarn and a table of WPI to compare your wraps to in order to figure out the yarn’s weight. You only need a pencil, a ruler and the yarn. Basically, you wrap the yarn around the pencil and measure how many wraps are in an inch which will tell you the yarn weight. I highly recommend checking out Lovecrafts tutorial – it has pictures! 🙂

Yarn Weight Categories and What They’re Used For

Yarn Weight Guide by The Loophole Fox, a guide crocheters can use to keep all the information in one place.

This graphic is a quick overview of each of the different yarn weights and generally what they’re used for. We’ll be taking a deep dive into each yarn weight below, but this graphic is something you can keep handy, if you like.

Keep in mind, this graphic and the information below is the “standard”. For example, while the 0 – Lace yarn weight generally recommends a hook size of 2mm to 2.25mm, it’s pretty common for crocheters to use larger hook sizes depending on what style of project they’re looking for. It’s also common for crocheters to use much smaller hook sizes to get a dense fabric, like with amigurumi.

Below, we’re going to dive into each of the yarn weight categories, what they’re named (and what they’re also known as), what hook sizes are recommended for a 4 inch by 4 inch gauge, what you’d generally use that yarn weight for and, of course, some beginner to intermediate level patterns by some amazing designers.

Ready? Let’s get into each yarn weight category.

0 – Lace

The 0 – Lace yarn weight category (AKA cobweb, light fingering or thread), is the thinnest diameter of yarn available. The lace weight yarn is usually used for it’s namesake – Lace.

This yarn weight is usually used for doilies and very delicate embellishments on projects like shawls. The best thing about Lace weight yarn is that it is incredibly economic to purchase. Because the yarn (or thread) is lighter in actual weight, you get far more yards per ounce than you would a heaver yarn.

In general, I would say that 0 – Lace weight is not a particularly beginner friendly yarn to work with. I certainly wouldn’t learn to crochet on Lace because the stitches would be so small they’d be difficult to see. However, once you have some experience behind you and you’re ready to take on more of a challenge, Lace can be quite lovely to work with.

Recommended hook sizes for 0 – Lace yarn:

  • 2mm to 2.5mm (or 0 to B/1 in US sizes)

Generally, projects you could crochet with Lace weight could include:

  • Lace designs
  • Doilies
  • Shawls
  • Earrings
  • Or other light weight and delicate projects.
Shows a crochet earring pattern that are cute little paws using Lace yarn weight.

If you’d like to try your hand at an easy crochet pattern using Lace weight yarn, these Paw Print Earrings by Simply Hooked by Janet are quick, simple and super cute. These would be a great way to get started using this very thin yarn without jumping into a huge project.

1 – Super Fine

The 1 – Super Fine yarn weight category (AKA fingering, baby, sock), is the second thinnest diameter of yarn available. This yarn is typically about two times thicker than the 0 – Lace weight and, considering how thin Lace is, Super Fine isn’t very thick at all. While most yarn skein labels will call this yarn Super Fine, you’ll find most crocheters and crochet designers referring to it as “Fingering”.

This yarn weight is also a great choice for more delicate or light weight projects. It’s a bit easier to work with than Lace, but provides beautiful drape which makes this yarn weight wonderful to use for summer shawls or cover ups.

Super Fine weight is also a more advanced yarn weight to work with. It is thin so it can be difficult to work with if you’re a beginner but, after some experience, you can create beautiful, easy crochet projects using this weight.

Recommended hook sizes for 1 – Super Fine yarn:

  • 2.25mm to 3.25mm (or B/1 to E/4 in US sizes)

Generally, projects you could crochet with Super Fine weight could include:

  • Lace designs
  • Socks
  • Shawls
  • Baby items
  • Summer wearables like shirts, light weight sweaters, etc.
  • Or other light weight and delicate projects.
Crochet patterns using Super Fine yarn weight.

These gorgeous patterns are categorized as Easy (Advanced Beginner) and look absolutely lovely in Super Fine yarn.

1. One Skein Wonder Cowl by Fiber and Fox
2. Super Simple Skinny Scarf by Simply Hooked by Janet
3. The Lumina Shawl by me. 🙂

2 – Fine

The 2 – Fine yarn weight category (AKA sport, baby), is the third thinnest weight. This yarn has been known to be used interchangeably with DK but be aware, it is actually thinner than DK. The “sport” nickname for this yarn comes from it being great for wearable items like socks, sweaters, shawls, etc. but it is also great for little accessories like jewelry. We also start to see some home decor patterns become available with things like wall hangings.

This yarn weight is great for things like color work, cables and textured stitches while maintaining a light weight feel or beautiful drape.

With Fine yarn becoming a bit thicker and closer to the DK weight, this yarn becomes a little more beginner friendly. I still wouldn’t learn to crochet on this yarn, but the availability of crochet patterns that are more beginner friendly or advanced beginner starts to widen.

Recommended hook sizes for 2 – Fine yarn:

  • 3.25 mm to 3.75mm (or E/4 to G/6 in US sizes)

Generally, projects you could crochet with Fine weight could include:

  • Socks
  • Shawls
  • Baby items
  • Summer wearables like shirts, light weight sweaters, etc.
  • Accessories like jewelry, cowls, hats
  • Home decorations like wall hangings
  • Or other light weight projects.
Crochet patterns using Fine yarn weight.

These lovely patterns are labeled Easy (Advanced Beginner) and are absolutely lovely in Fine yarn. You can see how delicate it can be on the adorable bracelet and necklace, and how texture shines on the mandala.

1. Spring Blossom Bracelet by The Crafty Therapist
2. Spring Blossom Necklace by The Crafty Therapist
3. Joyful Mandala by Made by Gootie

3 – Light

The 3 – Light yarn weight category (AKA DK, light worsted), is the fourth thinnest weight. This yarn is most often referred to as “DK”, though on most yarn labels you will likely see “3 – Light”. Because this yarn weight is coming into the heavier categories, it becomes much more beginner friendly and easier to work with. While typically the next heaviest category is recommended for beginners, new crocheters shouldn’t feel the need to shy away from patterns that use this weight.

DK (or Double Knitting) yarn weight is right in a sweet spot. It provides warmth like the heavier Medium weight yarn, but keeps the ease and drape of the lighter weight yarns. This sweet spot makes the Light weight yarn perfect for almost any project.

While Medium weight yarn is generally the recommended yarn to learn to crochet with, beginners shouldn’t shy away from the ability to use Light yarn weight. DK allows the crochet world to open up to more possibilities, including making lighter weight items like shawls without having to go all the way down to a 0 or 1 category.

Recommended hook sizes for 3 – Light yarn:

  • 3.75mm to 4.5mm (or G/6 to H/8 in US sizes)

Generally, projects you could crochet with Light weight could include:

  • Shawls
  • Baby items
  • Summer wearables like shirts, light weight sweaters, etc.
  • Accessories like jewelry, cowls, scarves and hats
  • Home decorations
  • Blankets like throws, baby blankets, afghans
  • Bags and other accessories

To make the point of just what a wide range of projects you can work on with DK yarn weight, look at all of these beautiful patterns! Each as lovely but different from the next, you’re sure to find something you’d love working on with DK. Most of these patterns range from Easy (Advanced Beginner) to Intermediate.

Image shows several crochet patterns that use DK yarn weight.

1. Berry Fun Beret by Straight Hooked
2. Spring Style Crochet Headband by Cosy Rosie UK
3. Sea Breeze Infinity Scarf by Made by Gootie
4. Crochet Mason Jar Covers by Crafting Each Day

Crochet patterns using DK

5. Sunshine by The Crafty Therapist
6. Crystal Keeper Necklace by The Crafty Therapist
7. Katerie Cowl by Through the Loop Yarn Craft
8. Skinny Granny Square V Scarf by Simply Hooked by Janet

Crochet patterns using DK

9. Cuddly Cloud Baby Blanket by Crafting Each Day
10. Rising Star Baby Blanket by The Loophole Fox

4 – Medium

The 4 – Medium weight (AKA Aran, Worsted) is easily the most used yarn and most widely found yarn in big box chain stores. This yarn weight can be used for nearly everything you’d want to make. Additionally, it’s the definitely the sweet spot when learning to crochet – it’s heavy enough that you can see and feel your stitches properly to learn but light enough that you aren’t struggling with the bulk.

Medium weight is definitely a thicker yarn, so it works up quickly and easily. However, depending on the fiber content of the yarn, you may not get as much drape or ease as you would with the 0 – Lace, 1 – Super Fine, 2 – Fine or 3 – Light yarns. This isn’t to mean you can’t use this yarn weight for nearly anything you prefer, but Medium yarn definitely gives a bit more structure than it’s lighter category friends.

What can get a little confusing is that “Medium” encompasses two sizes: Aran and Worsted. The Aran weight is slightly heavier (thicker) than the Worsted. A prime example of this weight difference is I Love This Yarn vs Red Heart Super Saver. They’re both technically 4 – Medium and that’s what it will say on the yarn label. However, I Love This Yarn is a heavier weight than Red Heart Super Saver.

When in doubt, make a gauge swatch! This is especially important with any garment you’d like to make. You can also google a yarn to see if it comes up as Aran or Worsted, if necessary.

Recommended hook sizes for 4 – Medium yarn:

  • 4.5mm to 5.5mm (or H/8 to J/10 in US sizes)

Generally, projects you could crochet with Medium weight could include:

  • Warm winter shawls
  • Warmer winter wear like sweaters, cardigans, etc.
  • Accessories like cowls, scarves and hats
  • Home decorations
  • Blankets like throws, baby blankets, afghans
  • Bags and other accessories
  • I mean really – you think it, Medium can do it.

Crochet patterns using 4 – Medium weight yarn are among the most easily found. You can find tons of patterns using this weight that are as gorgeous and different as the next. Here are a few examples of some Easy (advanced beginner) patterns.

Image shows 4 crochet patterns using Medium yarn weight

1. Chevron Bucket Bag by Made by Gootie
2. In Bloom Asymmetrical Triangle Shawl by The Loophole Fox
3. Gigi Love Bug Security Blanket by Creative Snugglies
4. The Summer Tote by The Loophole Fox

5 – Bulky

The 5 – Bulky weight (AKA Chunky, Craft, Rug) is a fantastic yarn to use when you want some quicker gratification in a crochet project. This weight of yarn is about two times as thick as a worsted weight yarn and is most commonly used for heavy, thick and warm items like scarves, warm winter sweaters, or home decor like throw blankets, baskets or rugs.

While learning to crochet on a Bulky weight yarn may not be the easiest, once you’re ready to move on to new projects and want to see some “instant” gratification, bulky weight yarns are a great way to do so.

Bulky is especially popular for larger blanket patterns that don’t require intricate stitch designs. Blankets made with this yarn weight will work up quicker and easier, although simpler in style. This is great for more modern looking blankets or blankets that would get some heavy usage – unlike intricately designed heirloom blankets.

Recommended hook sizes for 5 – Bulky yarn:

  • 5.5mm to 8mm (or J/10 to M/13 in US sizes)

Generally, projects you could crochet with Bulky weight could include:

  • Warm winter garments
  • Warmer winter accessories like scarves, cowls and hats
  • Home decorations like blankets, rugs, baskets, pillows, etc.
  • Some additional blankets like baby blankets or security blankets for children.

Crochet patterns using 5 – Bulky weight yarn still offer a wide variety of project types. You certainly aren’t limited to big, chunky projects. Check out these awesome crochet patterns to see the wide variety of projects you can create using Bulky weight yarn.

Crochet patterns using Bulky yarn weight

1. Cozy Chunky Crochet Blanket by Simply Hooked by Janet
2. There and Back Again Cowl by Fiber and Fox
3. Scrappy Granny Stripes Blanket by Cosie Rosie UK
4. Easy Eco Cowl by The Crafty Therapist

crochet patterns using bulky yarn.

5. The Fledgling Baby Blanket by The Loophole Fox
6. Spring Tulips Flower Basket by Simply Melanie Jane
7. Alpen Cowl by Through the Loop Yarn Craft
8. The Aspen Throw by The Loophole Fox

6 – Super Bulky

The 6 – Super Bulky weight (AKA Super Chunky) is a very thick yarn that is great for when you really want something to work up fast.

Similar to it’s closest friend 5 – Bulky, the Super Bulky yarn weight is especially popular for crochet projects that do not require intricate stitch designs and work up quickly. This means big blankets, quick hats and scarves, or stunning statement pieces like wall hangings.

Recommended hook sizes for 6 – Super Bulky yarn:

  • 8mm to 12mm (or M/13 to P/19 in US sizes)

Generally, projects you could crochet with Super Bulky weight could include:

  • Warmer winter accessories like scarves, cowls and hats
  • Home decorations like blankets, rugs, baskets, pillows, etc.
  • Projects that you want to work up quick, fast and with a sturdy texture.

What is most interesting about the Super Bulky yarn weight is while the stitch design may be more simple than the thinner weight yarn, these pieces are just as lovely and stunning. These projects, whether a wall hanging or a baby blanket, make their statements loud and beautifully.

1. Berry Baby Blanket by Crafting Each Day
2. Port Aransas Wall Hanging by High Desert Yarn
3. Back Country Beanie by Through the Loop Yarn Craft
4. Quick and Chunky Baby Blanket by Crafting Each Day

7 – Jumbo

And finally, 7 – Jumbo weight (AKA Roving) is the very thickest yarn available and works up extremely fast. Usually used for massive, cozy blankets (when you don’t want to be crocheting forever), rugs and other big projects projects that you want to work up quickly, this super thick yarn does the trick.

What is most interesting about the Jumbo weight yarn is that while you can use a huge crochet hook, you can also crochet with this yarn using your hands! We’ve all likely seen the viral Pinterest pin of the massive blanket created with Jumbo roving yarn and just a pair of hands.

I wouldn’t recommend learning on Jumbo yarn for beginners for a few reasons. 1) The yarn is typically not economical to purchase. It can be wildly expensive and you don’t receive much for the cost. 2) Learning to hold the yarn and the hook with this huge strand is going to be more of a struggle than an enjoyable experience. 3) You are unlikely to use or learn any crochet stitches beyond the standard single crochet, double crochet, half double, etc.

Again, that’s not to say that once you have some experience you can’t give a huge hand crocheted blanket a go. That’s part of the fun, after all!

Recommended hook sizes for 6 – Super Bulky yarn:

  • 12.75mm and higher (Interestingly, there is not a US name that I know of for the 12.75mm hook)

Generally, projects you could crochet with Jumbo weight could include:

  • Big Blankets
  • Rugs
  • Pillows
  • Baskets
  • Some winter accessories like cowls or scarves
  • Anything that is big, needs a LOT of structure and won’t use too much yarn (it’s expensive!)

This comfy rug is the Cloud Fluffy Rug by Tying An End. Tae only had to crochet 30 rows to make this rug 68 inches long! I’m telling you, the Jumbo yarn weight is HUGE.

That’s it for Yarn Weights!

Do you think they’ll ever come up with a yarn that is even thicker than the 7 – Jumbo? That would be wild!

I know that learning all the different weights of yarn can be overwhelming when you’re just starting out. With time and practice (and a few ripped out projects), you’ll learn what each yarn weight does and doesn’t do – and likely what you’d want to use it for. It becomes instinct. Crochet instinct.

The bright side is that you really don’t have to sit down and memorize what each yarn weight is for. As you’ve likely picked up throughout this article, a lot of the yarn weights are used for a lot of the same items. There’s a lot of overlap in these yarn weights and you can find what you’re looking for within quite a few of them. The easiest way to remember what these yarn weights mean is to remember: The smaller the number, the thinner the yarn. The thinner the yarn, the lighter the project.

Plus, if you like to follow crochet patterns, the designer has already done that work for you. 😉

I hope you walk away from this article feeling confident in choosing yarn for your next project! If you’re interested in learning how to substitute yarn in any crochet pattern, I recommend checking out my article that talks all about it.

Happy Crocheting!

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If you loved this article, you might also enjoy my other Crochet Tips and Techniques. Check them out!