Yarn Weights & Why They Can Be Confusing

I was recently asked about why a yarn say’s it’s 2ply but it’s a 4ply weight and this lead me to some random thoughts so here they are.

So yarn weights are typically lace weight, fingering, DK, Aran, Chunky. Now the confusion comes in.

As a rough guide this is typically how yarns are listed. Lace weight – 2ply, Fingering – 4ply, DK – 8ply, Aran – 10ply , Chunky – 12ply. The confusion comes in now. Some people think this applies to how many strands of yarn are used to make the weight of the yarn so for example lets go with Fingering weight. Typically refered to as 4ply where the assumption is that 4 strands of yarn are used to make the fingering weight. This isn’t necisserily true. We can see this when we look at silky singles. The weight is still fingering/4ply but it’s only one strand of yarn that is used to get this weight.

Another example is West Yorkshire Spinners RE:Treat wool. This is a chunky yarn but it is a single ply roving that is the thickness of 10ply but only one strand.

So if you see a pattern that calls for fingering weight/4ply but the suggested yarn is a 2ply weighted yarn this isn’t to do with the weight of the yarn it’s to do with how many strands of yarn are used to produce the weight of the yarn.

Check the pattern for gauge that is given this is the biggest key you can have to what yarn is required. However that said it does not mean you have to use that yarn. You can use any yarn you like as long as you get gauge however remeber that if you change yarn type ie: a dk instead of a fingering then you need to take into account the quantity of yarn you will need for that garment.

Lucy x