Weighty Issues: How to Interpret Yarn Weight Descriptions

14 September 2022
By Michelle Boyd
Bookmark This(5)

Sponsored in part by:

Ad description: crochet and knitting tools and the words, "Find your flow with the gentle movement of knitting and crocheting using the best tools from Joeriaknits."

Ad description: The words, "Your ad could be here. Learn More."

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.


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.

Related Posts

Bookbinding Tutorial: How to Make a Coptic-Bound Book

Bookbinding Tutorial: How to Make a Coptic-Bound Book

[For Studio Members] Learn how to make a Coptic-bound book using traditional bookbinding methods, out of materials and tools you already have at home. In this final tutorial in a three-part series, expert bookbinder Suzan Lee provides a detailed tutorial on how to use sewing techniques traditionally used for non-textile craft, with textiles.

Handspinning Tutorial: How to Spin Stable Singles Yarn

Handspinning Tutorial: How to Spin Stable Singles Yarn

[For Studio Members] Master spinner Michelle Boyd returns with a detailed, photo-illustrated tutorial on how to spin singles yarn for knitting, crocheting and weaving applications. She addresses use of spindle and wheel, and discusses fibre choice.

Image description: Hand illustrations, like a high-five.

Get 10% off!

Join our mailing list to get 10% off your first period of membership, and to hear about new Digits & Threads content and community news.

Subscription success! Well done, you.