Yarn Weight Chart QRC Featured Image

Yarn Weights Explained + A Quick Reference Guide!

What am I supposed to do? Get out a scale to figure out what “weight” of yarn I’m using? Whoever got to decide how to describe yarn in this way needs a good talking to. Why not just like – really thick, thick, medium thick, thin, thinner and thinnest? That makes more sense to my brain. So, in this here article, you will finally have yarn weights explained + a quick reference guide so you’ll never have to wonder again!

If you’re just here for the free downloadable Yarn Weights Quick Reference Guide, you can find it here! You can download it to your computer and/or print it out and it’s yours forever.

Now, understanding yarn weight is super important no matter what kind of fiber art you’re into. Here, we crochet, but whether you knit or crochet or whatnot, you’ll want to know this stuff. Here are the main reasons why understanding yarn weight is important:

  1. If you’re following a pattern and you use the wrong yarn weight, you’re finished product will be ALL WRONG.
  2. You need to understand how the size of your hook matched with the weight of your yarn will affect your finished product
  3. Because understanding yarn weight expands the knowledge in your brain and makes you cooler

So, in this article, we will cover the following:

  1. What is yarn weight?
  2. Common names for any given yarn weight
  3. The recommended hook size to use with any given yarn weight (emphasis on RECOMMENDED)
  4. How to determine the weight of your yarn if it’s missing the label
  5. How to create the weight you need with the yarn you have
  6. A downloadable quick reference guide that summarizes all of the above

So let’s get to it!

photo of yarn

What is yarn weight?

Yarn weight is simply the thickness of the yarn. The thicker the yarn, the “heavier” it is. There are 8 standard yarn weights which are specified with numbers – zero through seven – with zero being the thinnest/lightest and seven being the thickest/heaviest. They also have common names. For example, size four (4) is called “Medium” and is commonly named “worsted” weight. Here are the weights with their common names:

0: Lace (aka – thread, light, fingering)
1: Super Fine (aka – fingering, sock, baby)
2: Fine (aka – sport, baby)
3: Light (aka – DK, light worsted)
4: Medium (aka – worsted, aran, afghan)
5: Bulky (aka – chunky, rug, craft)
6: Super Bulky (aka – roving, bulky)
7: Jumbo (aka – roving)

I love this depiction from the Craft Yarn Council (full photo credit to them!) which illustrates the yarn weights side by side:

Yarn weight description image

Recommended hook sizes to use with any given yarn weight

When you approach a pattern, the designer will indicate which size of yarn to use and which size of hook to use. And if you want the pattern to turn out just like the pattern specifies, it is extremely important to follow their instruction on these sizes. If you don’t, your finished product will be a totally different size because the hook dictates the size of the stitches and the yarn weight will affect the bulk of your finished product. So, while we are having yarn weights explained, let’s also explore how to match those yarn weights with the appropriate hook size.

There is a standard given which recommends how to match the yarn weight to the hook size. This standard BY NO MEANS is the only “right” way to do it. For example, it is recommended that you use a size 5.50 mm hook when using yarn weight 4 (Medium/Worsted). However, if you want more breathability, drape, flexibility, gaps, etc, in your finished product, you can use a larger hook with weight 4, which will make your stitches larger. Alternatively, it is common (and almost guaranteed) that when making Amigurumi, you use at least one size smaller crochet hook than the standard recommends to ensure you have a super tight stitch with no gaps for stuffing to show through.

Here is what the standard match recommends:

0: Lace (aka – thread, light, fingering) / crochet hook size 0.75-2.00 mm
1: Super Fine (aka – fingering, sock, baby) / crochet hook size 2.25-3.50 mm (US B-1 to E-4)
2: Fine (aka – sport, baby) / crochet hook size 3.50mm-4.50mm (US E-4 to 7)
3: Light (aka – DK, light worsted) / crochet hook size 4.50mm-5.50mm (US 7 to I-9)
4: Medium (aka – worsted, aran, afghan) / crochet hook size 5.50mm-6.50mm (I-9 to K-10.5)
5: Bulky (aka – chunky, rug, craft) / crochet hook size 6.5mm-9.0mm (K-10.5 to N-13)
6: Super Bulky (aka – roving, bulky) / crochet hook size 9.0mm-15mm (US N-13 to P,Q)
7: Jumbo (aka – roving) / crochet hook size 15 mm+ (US P,Q to Y)

Crochet hooks image

How to determine the weight of your yarn if it’s missing the label – WPI

If you pick up a great bag of yarn at a second hand store or garage sale (score!), there’s a good chance it will be missing the original ball band label. Or, if you toss the label on a skein but don’t use it up, you’re going to want to know what weight it is the next time you go to use it. Don’t fret! There’s a way to accurately determine what weigh it is. Its called WRAPS PER INCH, or WPI.

Each weight will consistently give the same number of WPI, when wrapping the yarn around any given tool. I use a ruler because I can quickly see when I’ve filled up an inch – but you can use any tool (hook, pencil, etc). Just make sure you can measure an accurate inch. There is a small range for each because not everyone will wrap with the exact same tension. Just hold your yarn averagely loose and wrap with an average tension – not too loose, not too tight. Wrap the yarn around your tool, allowing the strands to touch each other, but don’t overlap them or squish them together.

Here’s the number of wraps each weight will make:

0 Lace: 30+ WPI
1 Super Fine: 19-30 WPI
2 Fine: 15-18 WPI
3 Light: 12-14 WPI
4 Medium: 9-11 WPI
5 Bulky: 7-8 WPI
6 Super Bulky: 5-6 WPI
7 Jumbo: 1-4 WPI

This photo shows an example of a measurement I took of an unlabeled yarn ball I have. There are 10 wraps per the inch. So, kids, what yarn weight do we have? That’s correct – Medium/Worsted!

Wraps Per Inch Yarn Measurement Image

How to create the weight you need with the yarn you have (if you don’t have what you need)

Just to top off this Yarn Weights Explained article for fun, here’s a quick tip on a way you can create the weight you need if you don’t have it on hand, but have LOTS of another weight on hand. In short – double it up! This isn’t an exact science, so I definitely recommend making a gauge swatch based on the results your pattern is calling for. But, in general, here are the acceptable recipes for making a heavier weight yarn, by doubling up on a lighter weight yarn:

  • 2 strands of lace (0) = 1 strand of super fine (1)
  • 2 strands of super fine (1) = 1 strand of fine (2)
  • 2 strands of fine (2) = 1 strand of light (3)
  • 2 strands of light (3) = 1 strand of medium (4)
  • 2 strands of medium (4) = 1 strand of bulky (5)
  • 2 strands of bulky (5) = 1 strand of super bulky (6)

Yarn Weight Quick Reference Guide

To sum it all up, I’ve created this free downloadable Yarn Weight Quick Reference Guide which includes all the info you will need to be a yarn weight expert! Just click on the image below to be taken to the access page for my Free Resource Library. Enter in your email address and you’ll have instant access to not only this guide, but many more guides, crochet patterns and other resources!

Yarn Weight Chart QRC Image

Please let me know in the comments if this was helpful, and what other resources you’d love to have!

5 Essential Crochet Tools for Beginners

One of the things I LOVE about crochet is it is one of the most inexpensive hobbies to have. You can make beautiful and intricate things by hand on an incredibly small budget. But, when you start looking around online or at craft stores, it can get super overwhelming with all the crochet tools and supplies available. Take heart – there are literally only 5 essential crochet tools for beginners – and 2 of them you will have lying around the house already!

Crochet hooks image

1. Crochet Hook

I have a particular passion about finding the best crochet hook for your style. This would include how you hold your hook, the type of projects you typically do and if you have any pain or health concerns. But these are things that will work themselves out as you go along, so definitely don’t worry about them right away. If you want to become an absolute Crochet Hook PRO, you can download and ready my free ULTIMATE GUIDE TO CROCHET HOOKS from my resource library – a 17-page downloadable PDF that goes through absolutely everything you will ever need to know about the incredible hook.

But for starters, I recommend buying one of the many affordable crochet hook sets that come with all the common hook sizes. I recommend choosing from a basic aluminum set or an ergonomic/comfort grip set with aluminum heads. The emphasis here, is to choose a hook with an aluminum head (versus plastic or wood) which will give you a better experience as a beginner since the yarn moves more freely on an aluminum head. Here are two inexpensive sets I would direct you to that include ALL the crochet tools I recommend for beginners, minus the yarn, for UNDER $15:

Aluminum Crochet Hook Set
Ergonomic Crochet Hook Set

If you’d rather just go for ONE hook to begin, start with a size 5.5 mm, also called I-9. This will match well with a worsted/medium weight yarn (which we will talk about next). Single hooks are also quite inexpensive, starting at $3 or $4. But, if you also need to acquire the rest of the tools (stitch markers, scissors, etc), I recommend just going with one of the above sets since you get the whole shebang together.

2. Yarn

Yarn and crochet hook come in at a tie for 2 of the 5 most essential crochet tools for beginners. You cannot make anything, of course, without these two. If you really get into crochet, or any fiber art, it’s highly likely that yarn will become a sub-passion because it is the material that brings your project to life! There are endless colors and so many different fibers (acrylic, cotton, wool, silk, on and on and on) and blends of fibers. It does become really fun as you get to know yarn and all the many different ways to choose the best yarn for your project.

BUT FOR STARTERS…

…go for an acrylic yarn, in WORSTED weight (also called MEDIUM weight, with the number 4 on the label), in a color that you LOVE. Acrylic yarn is super inexpensive and comes in so many colors. I’d recommend you head to a hobby store like JoAnn Fabrics, Michaels, Hobby Lobby or Walmart. You will find yarn at any of these stores.

It’s vital that you choose the right weight of yarn (basically the size of the yarn) matched with the correct crochet hook size. My recommendation for beginners (as stated above when we talked about hooks) is to choose a hook size 5.5 mm with a worsted/medium weight yarn. If you don’t like the feel of acrylic yarn, you can choose any fiber of worsted weight yarn. But, typically, acrylic is a good choice for beginners because it’s easy to work with and doesn’t require a big investment of money if you don’t like it. When you’re just starting out, stay away from textured yarns or really thin, smaller weighted yarns.

Scissors Image

3. Scissors

Any scissors will do, but just make sure they’re sharp! I recommend a pair of small scissors that are designed for fiber or sewing. I love these detail scissors by Singer. I also use these Fiskars scissor snips which are amazing and quick because you can just grab them and snip your yarn – you don’t even have to poke your fingers through any holes! Of course, feel free just to start with the scissors you have laying around at home. Any scissor will work, but as you crochet more you will be super thankful for a small, SUPER SHARP pair of scissors.

Tapestry Needles Image Essential Tool

4. Tapestry Needle/Darning Needle

You will need a tapestry needle for weaving in your yarn ends at the beginning, end, and within your project. These needles come in plastic and steel. I like steel because they’re sturdy and don’t bend. These are the ones I use but it really doesn’t matter. Mine came with some crochet hook set I got ages ago and I’ve never had to buy more. These are not standard sewing needles – they are much larger and have a large eye opening for threading yarn through (versus skinny thread). Again, the sets I recommended above when we talked about hook sets, come with tapestry needles as well.

Stitch Markers Image Essential Tool

5. Stitch Markers

Finally, the last essential crochet tool is stitch markers! Stitch markers will keep the place you left off at when you set your project down for the day. They will mark the beginning and end of rounds and rows. They will keep your place as you count stitches by tens or twenties or whatnot. You must have stitch markers.

I love the locking plastic kind because they don’t fall off your project like the non-locking kind. This is one of the two items I referred to as a tool you may have lying around your house because you absolutely don’t have to buy special stitch markers. You can use: safety pins, paper clips, or a small strand of scrap thread that you can thread through your project using your crochet hook. I use these plastic locking stitch markers which commonly come with crochet hook sets, or that you can buy separately when you need more (like when you have small kids that like to play with them!!).


I hope you’ve found some relief after reading this and realizing there are literally only 5 essential crochet tools for beginners! I’ll have a separate article on fun, optional gadgets that I love and use but are absolutely not necessary. I’ll link to that post when I have it completed!

As far as finding a pattern that you want to try, there are TONS and TONS of free patterns online that would be perfect for beginners. Don’t invest a bunch of money into books or paid patterns until you know you are comfortable with crochet and are willing to spend a bit of cash on it! All in all, crochet really is a super inexpensive hobby and one that is well worth trying!

So to wrap it up, I’ll include the links again to two great starter kits that come in under $15 and will give you all these essential tools minus the yarn:

Aluminum Crochet Hook Set
Ergonomic Crochet Hook Set

Happy Hooking!

This post uses affiliate links. If you purchase through one of the links in this post, I may receive a small commission on the sale. This in no way affects your cost and I ABSOLUTELY only provide links to items that I use and love myself!!

How to Make a Crochet Chain Stitch – Video Tutorial

Knowing how to crochet a chain stitch is an essential crochet technique and super easy to do. A large number of your crochet projects will begin with a crochet chain. The chain stitch is commonly used within a project as well. This post will teach you how to make a crochet chain stitch! You can also find the video tutorial for this (below) and lots of other crochet video tutorials in my free Resource Library.

In a pattern, a chain is abbreviated as “ch”. Not to be confused with the chemical formula abbreviation CH – which stands for the methylidyne radical for all the chemistry geeks out there. Shout out!

I’m also a HUGE fan of the chainless foundation – especially when you’re project requires a super long chain with an immediate turn and requirement to crochet back into that chain. I despise that. I’m not ashamed to say it….

I just DO NOT like crocheting into a chain. End rant.

The chainless foundation allows you to make your chain AND your first row of crochet at the same time. REVOLUTIONARY. My video tutorial on how to do that can be found here. I would also be remiss to mention that I have a video tutorial on how to crochet into the back bump of a chain (versus the front top loop) which creates a MUCH nicer, neater, tighter first row. Crocheting into the back bump creates a first row that meshes well with the rest of your project and avoids all the terrible gaps that can be created in your first row when crocheting into the top loop of the chain. So if you aren’t super stoked about learning the chainless foundation, I would at least encourage you to become comfortable with crocheting into the back bump. Or, at least, give it a try and decide for yourself!

On how to crochet a chain stitch, I’ll give you written steps below, but it might be quicker to just watch my two minute tutorial which I’ve included below as well!

Chain photo 1

Description/Purpose:

To make a foundation of crochet chain stitches to begin your project or create chain stitches within your project.

Chain photo 2

Steps:

  1. Slip Knot onto your hook.
  2. Yarn over hook and pull loop through.
  3. Repeat step 2 for however many chains you need or that your pattern calls for.

Want more quick and easy tutorials? I’ve got a ton of them in the FREE Resource Library which you can find here.

Copy of Crochet Abbreviations QRC Featured Image

Crochet Abbreviations Quick Reference Card – Free Printable

When I first started learning crochet, I thought, “Geez! I didn’t realize I was signing up for a foreign language course!” I thought my college days were behind me! Have you ever felt the same way? Because it’s true – crochet does have it’s own mini language. And it can definitely be intimidating and overwhelming when you first begin. But here’s the good news…your exams are always open book! So, fear no more! Keep this Crochet Abbreviations Quick Reference Card (Free Printable) handy and you’ll be able to approach any crochet pattern with the confidence of a student who knows they’re going to nail that test!

Organized A to Z, you’ll be able to quickly locate the abbreviation and it’s translation. I’ve included variations on the abbreviation when common as well. The quick reference card is formatted in a standard 8.5 x 11 paper size and can either be saved as a file on your computer, or can be printed – or both!

Click on the image below to be taken to the Resource Library where you can instantly download the Crochet Abbreviations Quick Reference Card PDF. (if you haven’t signed up to access the FREE Resource Library yet, you’ll be prompted to enter your name & email to access the download – I need to make sure you’re a real person!)

When you access the resource library, you’ll notice several other resources for you as well! Free free to look around and download any that will be helpful for you. I welcome you to join our Off the Beaten Hook community. I’m constantly adding new, free video tutorials, patterns, guides and quick reference cards to help you get the most out of your crochet adventures!

QRC US-UK Crochet Term Conversion Chart Featured Image

US-UK Crochet Term Conversion Chart

Have you ever turned away a pattern you wanted to make because it was written in UK terms instead of US terms, or vice versa? I know I have. And it’s SUCH A BUMMER. With this US-UK Crochet Term Conversion Chart, all your stitch term woes are solved.

What’s the deal with the different logic, anyway?

The stitches are the same. The VERBIAGE is the same. The names have simply been assigned differently. I had to know WHAT THE HECK WAS UP WITH THAT because I’m all up in the details of everything. So let’s just nerd-out for a second…

The US stitch terminology is based on how many yarn-overs are required to make the stitch. The UK stitch terminology is based on how many loops are on your hook. Let’s look at the double crochet (dc) as an example. The US double crochet uses TWO yarn overs, the UK double crochet has TWO loops on the hook before pulling up the first loop. Following the logic, the US treble crochet uses THREE yarn overs, the UK treble crochet has THREE loops on the hook before pulling up the first loop.

No one’s right, no one’s wrong. So let’s just agree to disagree and move on.

Us UK Flag Photo

“That’s great, Lindsey” you say, “but what if the pattern doesn’t specify what terms it’s written in, HUH?” This is especially true for all the fantastic vintage patterns out there and with the magical internet giving us access to patterns from across the pond. Here are two ways that you can put your detective hat on and try to figure it out yourself:

  1. Check to see if the pattern uses a single crochet (sc) stitch at all. UK terms DO NOT use single crochet. So, if it’s there, you know it’s written in US terms.
  2. Check the pattern for the usage of the terms “gauge”, “tension”, “skip”, and “miss”. US terms use “gauge” and “skip” whereas UK terms use “tension” and “miss”.

I’ve included those two tips on the quick reference card as well… so you’ll not only have the actual term conversions, but some extra help if you’re getting stuck trying to figure out how a pattern is written.

Click on the image below to download the US-UK Crochet Term Conversion Chart quick reference card from our Resource Library so you can have this handy forever. You’ll never again have to turn away the pattern you’re dying to make!

Slip Knot Featured Image

How to Slip Knot Onto Your Crochet Hook – Video Tutorial

It all starts here – the slip knot. Knowing how to slip knot onto your crochet hook will become something you can do in your sleep. It is THE THING that secures your yarn to your crochet hook. No slip knot, no making. In the steps below and the one minute video tutorial that follows, you will learn how to do it!

There are about as many ways to slip knot onto your hook as there are ways to HOLD your hook. They ALL end up in the same slip knot – it’s just the steps that are taken to get you there. So, don’t get thrown off when you see crocheters doing it differently. As long as you end up with a legit slip knot on your hook, you’ll be good to go. A slip knot is a type of knot that behaves just as it sounds – a knot that slips. It easily slips to make the loop larger or smaller, opening and closing. It’s not a SET knot that doesn’t move or change or shift once it’s secure.

So let’s get to making!

I’ll give you written steps describing how to slip knot onto your crochet hook, but it might be quicker to just watch my ONE MINUTE tutorial which I’ve included below!

Description/Purpose:

To secure your yarn onto your crochet hook.

Slip Knot 2 Post Image

Steps:

  1. Take your starting yarn and create loop just as if you were making a regular ol’ knot. Rather than pulling the short/loose end of the yarn fully through the loop, leave it dangling through the loop as you tighten the knot.
  2. Insert your crochet hook, front to back, through the loop created. Pull on the short/dangly end of the yarn to secure the knot right up onto your hook.

Want more quick and easy tutorials? I’ve got a ton of them in the FREE Resource Library which you can find here.