Q & A: What does yarn weight mean?

Q: I am new to knitting and to the fiber arts in general. I don’t know how to read patterns and I am trying to get used to a lot of the terminology. I see yarn weight a lot. What does it mean?

A: In the simplest terms, yarn weight translates into yarn thickness, the circumference around the strand of yarn. There are about 6 yarn thicknesses currently in the market. The Craft Yarn Council of America has given them numbers from 1-6. At the lowest range, we have the thinnest yarn, at the opposite spectrum we have the thickest, at number 6.

How about if you don’t have the yarn weight called for in your pattern? No worries, you may be able to substitute with a different thickness of yarn. BUT, be sure to work a swatch and be sure to obtain the correct gauge.

Here is a quick substitution yarn guide:

2 strands of fingering=1 strand of sport weight yarn

2 strands of sports=1 strand of worsted

2 strands of worsted=1 strand of bulky