Learn to Knit Part 2 : We Explain Knitting Yarn Weights

Compare yarn weights with our Knitting Wool Conversion Chart!

We meet customers in our shop here in Lewes of all ages and all knitting abilities. It’s really encouraging to see boys as well as girls learning to knit and creating some really great first pieces.

Our Learn to Knit kit has proved popular with so many kids (and big kids) wanting to learn this useful and traditional skill.

Whats in the kit? a pair of short flexible, funky 4mm plastic knitting needles and 3 x 25g balls of brightly coloured acrylic yarn. The instruction booklet is really clear and has big uncomplicated yarn diagrams to show you exactly how to form those first stitches

Knitting and crochet yarns come in different knitting yarn weights, or thicknesses.

various knitting yarn weightsOnce anyone gets past the first hurdle of casting on and creating a knitted square, almost the very next thing they get curious about, (and we get asked most about) is knitting yarn weight or thickness. It seems to confuse a lot of beginners.

There’s a lot of free stuff flying around the internet and if it’s a free pattern from America say, then the terminology is going to be even more confusing

Wendy Merino Chunky Care LabelKnitting yarn weight determines how many stitches it takes to knit 10cms (this is called a tension square).

Have a look on the ball band (or our yarn information box) for information on the number of stitches and the number of rows that a particular knitting yarn weight will need to produce a standard 10cm square.

eg this Merino Chunky needs you to cast on 14 stitches and knit for 20 rows to produce a 10cms square

The thickness of your yarn (among other factors) has a huge impact on the look of your knitted or crocheted fabric — and certainly the amount of time it takes to complete it. 2, 3 and 4ply such as Wendy Roam (ie finer weights) take longer to knit that say a Super Chunky such as Rowan Big Wool (which is thicker or bulkier)

Oh and just to confuse you even more -The thickness of a given yarn is determined by the individual thickness of the plies, not by the number of plies. If the plies are very thin, a 4-ply yarn can be finer than a heavy, single-ply yarn.

Although there are no official categories for knitting yarn weights, many knitting books and yarn manufacturers use common terms to indicate a yarn’s thickness and the size of the needle with which you work on the yarn. 

This knitting wool conversion chart compares the knitting yarn weight terminology used in America, the UK and Australia  and shows you where the yarns that we stock sit in comparison to each other as well as giving suggested knitting needles sizes

Standard Yarn Weight System






Suggested Needle Size


0 or Lace Thread, Cobweb, Laceweight 1 ply Wendy Air 2 ply 1.5 mm to 2.25 mm
1 or Superfine Fingering 2 ply Peter Pan 2 ply 3 ply 2.25 mm to 3 mm
Sock 3 ply Peter Pan 3 ply 3 ply 2.25 mm to 3.25 mm
2 or Fine Sport 4 ply Rowan Pure Wool 4 ply
Peter Pan 4 Ply
Bergere de France Caline
Wendy Roam & Roam Fusion
5 ply 3.25 mm to 3.75 mm
Light DK Bergere de France Ideal
Bergere de France Lima
3.5 mm
3 or Light DK/Light Worsted DK Robin DK Rowan
Pure Wool DK
Bergere de France Chinaillon
Bergere de France Cabourg
Wendy Craft Cotton
Wendy Cotton Supreme DK
Peter Pan Baby plain & print
Peter Pan Moondust
Peter Pan Merino baby
Rowan Soft Knit
Rowan Tweed
8 ply 3.75 mm to 4.5 mm
4 or Medium Worsted Aran Bergere de France Chatelle
Bergere de France Magic +
Bergere de France Recycline
Bergere de France Alaska
Bergere de France Eclipse
Robin Aran
10 ply 4.5 mm to 5.5 mm
5 or Bulky Bulky Chunky Bergere de France Cocoon
Bergere de France Duvetine
Bergere de France Boheme
Wendy Merino Chunky
Rowan All Seasons Chunky
Rowan Alpaca Chunky
British Sheep Breeds Chunky
Rowan Cocoon
12 ply 5.5 mm to  8 mm
6 or Super Bulky Super Bulky Super Chunky Rowan Big Wool
Wendy Serenity Super Chunky
14 ply 8 mm upwards



For all your knitting yarns, pattern books, kits and tools, you can visit us in our lovely shop the-stitchery in Lewes, upstairs at the Riverside.

There are sometime offers online that aren’t available in-store – don’t forget you can buy online and collect from the-stitchery for free! If you do want us to deliver- delivery is free with orders over £25. How good is that?