What Is Worsted Weight Yarn?

February 04, 2020 2 min read

What Is Worsted Weight Yarn?

If you have heard the term "worsted weight yarn" and you aren't sure exactly what it means, we are here to help. As you know, yarn comes in various shapes and sizes ranging from nearly invisibly thin to a rope-like thickness. Worsted weight is the yarn that sits right in the middle of yarn weight spectrum. It is the most popular yarn weight because it is perfect for knitting sweaters, blankets, and scarves. Think of it as the perfect all purpose yarn.

The Yarn Weight System

Because yarn is created in so many sizes, it can be difficult when knitters and crocheters aren't speaking the same yarn language. To provide uniformity and standardization, the Craft Yarn Council developed a weight system for the craft world. 

Considered to be the industry standard when referring to yarn weight, the standard yarn weight system is a widely accepted system within the yarn community. The system categorizes yarn into seven weights, each designated with a number 0-6. Within this system, worsted weight yarn is labeled as a medium weight number four yarn with a knitting gauge of 16-20 stitches for every four inches. 

When shopping for worsted weight yarn, look for designations such as #4, medium weight, worsted, or even 16-20 stitches. Afghan and Aran are also used to identify worsted weight yarn. 

On occasion you may hear the term "worsted" referring to wool processing. Manufacturers and textile designers get really granular when discussing yarn processing and will reference wosted vs woolen processing. For our purposes, worsted refers strictly to yarn weight.

Worsted Yarn and Plies

Plies are smaller strands of yarn that are spun together to create a larger strand of yarn. Yarns range from one-ply, which is a single strand, to eight-ply, which is eight separate strands spun together. Worsted weight yarn can come in any number ply. Many knitters prefer higher number plies because more plies decrease the amount of pilling. When small strands of yarn are spun together to form yarn, they are stronger than single ply. If you plan to knit a garment that will be regularly used, such as mittens or a scarf, a higher ply, such as four-ply, is the best choice.

Just a Few of Our Favorite Worsted Weight Yarns

Eternity Serenity Worsted

Eternity Serenity Worsted Weight Yarn

This yarn is a brilliant, bold colour. 

75% Superwash Merino/15% Cashmere/10% Nylon 3-Ply Worsted Weight 

Cayenne Pepper Serenity Worsted

Cayenne Pepper Worsted Weight Yarn

Spice up any project with Cayenne Pepper. 75% Superwash Merino/15% Cashmere/10% Nylon 3-Ply Worsted Weight

Grey Wolf Serenity Worsted

Gray Wolf Worsted Weight Yarn

Deep and mysterious, Grey Wolf worsted weight yarn is the perfect yarn for any project. 75% Superwash Merino/15% Cashmere/10% Nylon 3-Ply Worsted Weight


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