Average Yarn Tensions & Yarn Weight Uses
Yarns come in all different thicknesses, and these are referred to as ‘yarn weights’ or ‘ply’. There are a few different names given to each of these yarn weights and different yarn weights are suitable for different projects. The weight of yarn effects the size of the finished knitting or crochet, and also the hook size or needle size that needs to be used. We’ve put together a handy guide for each tension, as well as a chart which shows the information at a glance.
2 ply (also referred to as Lace Weight)
32-36 stitches and 42-46 rows to 10cm using 2.25mm – 2.75mm needles
- Extra-delicate and almost lighter than air. This yarn is generally used to knit very light-weight items such as shawls, scarfs and baby knits.
3 ply (also referred to as Fingering Weight)
33 stitches and 40 rows to 10cm using 3mm – 3.25mm needles
- Used for light-weight items such as shawls and baby garments.
4 ply (also referred to as Fingering, Sock or Baby Weight)
27-32 stitches and 36 rows to 10cm using 3.25mm - 3.75mm needles
- Used for lighter weight baby garments, shawls, fitted adult knits such as ladies jumpers and tops, delicate adult shawls, intarsia work, socks and amigurumi.
5 ply (also referred to as Sport or Baby Weight)
24-28 stitches and 34-36 rows to 10cm using 3.25mm – 3.575mm needles
- This yarn weight was used for knitting traditional Guernsey or ‘Gansy’ sweaters, a traditional fisherman’s jumper. It is also a common yarn weight in American. It creates a lightweight fabric so also makes it ideal for intarsia projects, baby and children’s garments.
DK (also referred to as Light Worsted Weight or 8 ply)
22 stitches and 28-30 rows to 10cm using 4mm needles
- The most versatile of all the yarn weights. Can be used for baby garments, shawls, baby accessories, adult sweaters, cardigans, tops, scarves, hats, gloves, homewares, blankets, toys.
Aran (also referred to as Worsted Weight or 10 ply)
18 stitches and 24 rows to 10cm using 5mm needles
- Traditionally used for traditional Aran style jumpers and cardigans with cable designs. Also used for blankets and other homewares, thicker garments for babies and adults and accessories such as scarves, hats and gloves/mittens.
Chunky (also referred to as Bulky, 12 ply or 14 ply)
14 stitches and 19-20 rows to 10cm using 6mm – 6.5mm needles
- Good for thick and warm projects like winter jumpers, scarves, hats, blankets and home accessories. Also good for arm knitting. Creates super cosy makes that knit and crochet up quickly.
Super Chunky (also referred to as Super Bulky or 16 ply)
8-10 stitches and 12-14 rows to 10cm using 10mm - 12mm needles
- Also good for thick and warm projects like winter jumpers, scares, hats, blankets and home accessories and arm knitting. Knits and crochets up extra quick.
There is no specific tension for Fashion weight yarns. Yarns are categorised as ‘Fashion’ weight if they don’t fit into a standard yarn weight category
- Usually heavily textured yarns. Their uses can range from lacey cardigans to pompom effect blankets.
Yarn Tension Chart:
The above information is used as a guide. You should always follow the tension stated in your pattern to ensure success.