If you knit or crochet, then you probably have seen an icon on a skein of yarn. The icon looks like a yarn skein with a number on the inside of it. This icon is the standard yarn weight system icons. The number on the inside of the icon tells you about the thickness of the yarn. All major yarn manufacturers use this standard.
The standard yarn weight system uses numbers from zero through six to tell you about the yarn. The lower the number the finer, or thinner the yarn. Zero is yarn suitable for creating lace while yarn that is graded at six is better suited to rugs and crafts.
The numbering system is as follows:
- 0 – Lace. Weight is described as fingering or 10 count crochet thread.
- 1 – Super fine. Described as sock weight, fingering, or baby.
- 2 – Fine. Described as sport weight or baby.
- 3 – Light. Described as DK or light worsted.
- 4 – Medium. Described as worsted weight, afghan or aran.
- 5 – Bulky. Described as chunky, craft, or rug yarn.
- 6 – Super bulky. Described as bulky or roving yarn.
The numbering system helps crafters choose their yarn. With a standard system, you can use a pattern that calls for grade 4 yarn and buy the brand you prefer. All grade 4 yarns give you the same number of stitches per inch and they all have the same thickness.
Crafters use the numbering system to determine the size needle to work with. When you read a yarn label, it will tell you what the gauge is and what size needles to use. This is a great help to crafter who do not use patterns or for those who design their own patterns.
Aside from the thickness and weight of the yarn, all other information is general. If you work your stitches tightly, then you might need to use a larger set of knitting needles or a larger crochet hook to obtain the correct gauge. Conversely, if you tend to work stitches loosely, you may want to use smaller needles than suggested.
Lynda Altman is a professional crafter and writer. You can find her work for sale on Etsy. She writes a crochet blog called The Granny Squared. You can contact her at the above link or on Twitter @fusgeyer.