What Does Worsted Weight Mean?

What is Worsted Weight Yarn? - A Yarn Guide

When it comes to yarn terminology it can get confusing pretty quickly. We get it!  Trying to distinguish between yarn types, weight classes, plies, etc. can leave your mind swirling. The good news is it's not as complicated as it may seem. To get you through the confusion we’ve put together a guide for one of the most popular and widely used yarn types - worsted weight yarn.

Whether you are new to the knitting and crocheting world or are a seasoned pro that wants to brush up on your yarn knowledge, this guide is for you!

3 cakes of silk roving worsted weight in colorway sparkle classic blue sitting on a green wood ledge.
Sparkle Worsted Weight Silk Yarn - Just Doing Its Thing

What is Worsted Weight Yarn?

If you have ever browsed a yarn section at a store or looked at yarn online, you’ve most likely come across the term worsted weight yarn. So what is worsted weight yarn?

Worsted weight yarn is a medium weight yarn that is extremely popular with crocheters and knitters due to its versatility. Commonly referred to as afghan yarn and aran yarn, worsted weight yarn sits in the middle of the yarn weight family and is often distinguished by a number 4 symbol on a yarn label.

Worsted Weight Yarn Weight Symbol

When referring to the weight of yarn, a common misconception is that it refers to the actual weight of the yarn. However, this is not the case. Yarn weight refers to the thickness of the yarn and is key in determining which type of yarn to use for a project. Worsted weight yarn is thicker than DK yarn but thinner than chunky or bulky weight yarn. For more reference on yarn weight see the standard yarn weight system chart developed by The Craft Yarn Council below.

Craft yarn council yarn weight chart with colorful yarn background.
*Source: Craft Yarn Council’s www.YarnStandards.com

What is Worsted Weight Yarn Used For?

Because worsted weight yarn is easy to work with, it is a favorite for knitters, crocheters, weavers, textile artists, and crafters. Its versatility is perfect for a multitude of crocheting or knitting projects including:

Light green knit mittens in front of snowy white background
Our Gorg Convertible Mittens Knitting Kit

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What are the Benefits of Using Worsted Weight Yarn?

One of the primary benefits of worsted weight yarn is its versatility making it a perfect choice for beginner crocheters, knitters and crafters. Other benefits include:

  • Durability: The strengths of the thread can be very durable which means your project is sure to stand the test of time.
  • Budget-Friendly: Because worsted weight yarn is so versatile, you can craft a large variety of items with one ball of yarn.
  • Plenty of Projects: Since worsted weight yarn is so popular there is an abundant variety of patterns, kits and projects available that use this yarn.
  • Great for Clothing: Worsted weight yarn is an excellent choice for scarves, cowls, hats, and mittens because it provides warmth without bulk.

What is Worsted Weight Yarn Made of?

Worsted weight yarn can be made from a variety of fibers including:

worsted weight wool yarn
Atma Prema Superwash Wool in Watercolors

What is the Recommended Knitting Needle and Crochet Hook Size for Worsted Yarn?

Worsted weight yarn is ideal for projects with a knitting gauge of 4–5 stitches per inch and a crochet gauge of 2.75–3.5 single crochets per inch. That usually comes out to around a 5mm knitting needle or 6mm crochet hook. It's more important to get the gauge you're looking for than it is to use a specific size tool for projects.

About Worsted Weight Yarn Plies

Yarns typically range from one-ply (single strand) to eight-ply (8 strands twisted together). Worsted weight yarn is available in a variety of ply options. When choosing yarn plies it is important to consider what your final project will be. Many crafters prefer higher number plies to avoid pilling, however, a single or lower number ply may be ideal for cushier items like a cowl or scarf.

DGY Worsted Weight Yarn

Whether you are looking for worsted weight yarn for a snuggly scarf or a cuddly baby blanket, Darn Good Yarn has you covered. We carry an extensive selection of fibers like recycled silk, banana fiber, hemp, nettle, wool, and natural yarns that are not only beautiful but earth-friendly, too. We also carry exclusive yarn made by artisans in India as well as the Malabrigo Yarn collection.

Shopping Bags IconShop our wide selection of worsted weight yarn today! Shop the collection.

13 different skeins of worsted weight silk yarn strewn about with wooden yarn bowl and knitting WIP in foreground.
Worsted Weight Silk Yarn Packs in Their Natural Habitat