Weighty Issues: How to Interpret Yarn Weight Descriptions

14 September 2022
By Michelle Boyd
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One of the most confusing aspects of making textiles from yarn is the way yarn sizes are described. Most yarns are labelled using vague categories like lace, fingering, sport, and so forth, yet that description tells us virtually nothing about the yarn itself. And, even worse, I can sometimes look at three different yarns labelled “worsted” and easily see that they are all different thicknesses. However, there are good reasons for those vague descriptions, and knowing those reasons can help us make better yarn choices.

image description: three different yarns wrapped around a stick; although similar in thickness, they are different in texture
All three of these yarns are labelled worsted weight, but they are all very visually different and they will all work up into different types of cloth.

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All images by Michelle Boyd.

About Michelle Boyd

Michelle Boyd is a Master Spinner who followed all the rules until she discovered SAORI weaving in 2013. She was fortunate enough to have been Artist in Residence at SAORI Salt Spring in February of 2017 and has since integrated the SAORI philosophy into her spinning and other creative work. She leads spinning workshops at major festivals and events and enjoys being a frequent contributor to both PLY Magazine and Digits & Threads.

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