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!

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!

Crochet Hook Size Conversion Chart Featured Image

Crochet Hook Size Conversion! Now!

A, B, C … 1, 2, 3. Does finding the right crochet hook size ever make you feel like you’re back in Kindergarten again? I can smell the crayons and feel my scratchy nap-time beach towel beneath me! (PS – who has a Kindergartener that STILL TAKES NAPS?)

You may or may not already know about my mild obsession with crochet hooks. I believe that becoming an expert in understanding crochet hooks is certainly worthy of some type of advanced certification. If you want to consider yourself CERTIFIABLY PRO in the study of the crochet hook, be sure to download my free Ultimate Guide to Crochet Hooks in the Resource Library. You will never have another question about this most revered crochet tool.

But I digress.  Back to our alphabet and numbers.

I’m 99% sure you won’t ever have to take a test on your crochet hook conversion knowledge. But if you ever do, I hope it’s open book. So, I have created a Crochet Hook Size Conversion Chart so you will never have to worry about this again.

This conversion chart includes metric sizes from 0.75 mm through 19.00 mm and includes conversions for METRIC, US, UK and JAPAN. I mean, COME ON – the art of Amigurumi was ROOTED in Japan – they certainly deserve to be represented on a common crochet hook conversion chart. Can I get an AMEN?

I’m sorry if you’re one of the few that uses a crochet hook smaller than 0.75 mm. You have eyes like the owl and you are my hero. I didn’t include those sizes on my chart and they only include 6 hooks sized only for Metric and Japan. Just for you, here they are:

METRIC / JAPAN
0.40mm / 24-lace
0.45mm / 23-lace
0.50mm / 14-lace
0.55mm / 13-lace
0.60mm / 12-lace
0.70mm / 11-lace

You’re welcome.

Click on the image below to download the Crochet Hook Size Conversion Chart quick reference card from our Resource Library and sleep easy tonight.

Crochet Hook Size Conversion Chart Infographic
Anatomy of a Crochet Hook Featured Image

The Anatomy of a Crochet Hook

It’s time for “the talk”. The anatomy talk. The CROCHET HOOK anatomy talk.

You’re new to this relationship – the hook-mate relationship. You’re curious. You’re intrigued. You may not have even told anyone else that you’re exploring this new territory – this CROCHET thing. You want to feel it out – to do a little exploration – before you fully commit.

But first, some small talk. That’s where every relationship begins, is it not?

Finding your perfect hook-mate is like finding a treasured friend. I don’t mean to de-value human friendship. Let’s be honest, your hook doesn’t have a warm, soft shoulder when you need somewhere to cry. BUT you will probably be spending A LOT of time with your hook-mate, so you must first know if you are compatible. And to test the intricate figure of compatibility, you must first study it’s anatomy.

Today we’re talking about the anatomy of the crochet hook (in case you didn’t catch that already). You’re just dipping your toe into the world of the hook here – not to be mistaken with a full, deep-dive into the various styles of each part, what they’re for and all the things to consider based on your personal style. If you’re SO OVER the small talk and ready to take your hook-mate relationship to the next level, you’ll probably be wanting to read this Ultimate Guide to Crochet Hooks.

So, let’s get this party started!

I’m going to break the hook down into 6 parts: tip, lip & mouth, throat & neck, shaft, thumb rest, and handle. The first 3 parts mentioned (tip, lip & mouth, and throat & neck) make up the HEAD of the hook. The latter 3 parts (shaft, thumb rest and handle) make up the BODY of the hook.

I have created a Quick Reference Card outlining The Anatomy of a Crochet Hook. You can find it in the Resource Library by clicking on the image of it below. From there, you can save it to your computer, print it, or simply look at it larger and closer. You’ll want to reference it as we go along.

The Anatomy of a Crochet Hook QRC Infographic

THE HEAD

THE HEAD The Anatomy of a Crochet Hook Graphic

Point/Tip:

The tip of the hook is also referred to as the point. This is the part that gets pushed through your crochet stitches. The tip can be more pointy or more round. Pointier tips are easier to push through stitches, but they can split your yarn if they are too sharp.

Lip & Mouth

The lip is what snatches your yarn after you push your hook through a stitch and “yarn over”. The loop then gets kept in the mouth as you pull the hook back through the stitch. The shape of the lip affects the shape of the mouth. It can be either more angular or rounded.

The mouth is also referred to as the bowl or the groove. The shape of it is directly affected by the shape of the lip. If the lip is more angular, the mouth will be more pointed. If the lip is more rounded, the mouth will also be more rounded.

Throat & Neck

The throat & neck guide your yarn into the working area. The loops are held here as they come on and off the hook. Based on how many loops you have on the hook, they may gather down towards the shaft. The throat can be either inline or tapered.

THE BODY

The Anatomy of a Crochet Hook THE BODY

Shaft:

The shaft of the hook is also referred to as the shank. It partners with the throat & neck to hold the loops being worked. Loops will slip up and down this area as you are working your project. The shaft plays the critical role of determining the size of your stitches and is what the size of a hook is based upon (4mm, 7mm, etc). Depending on how you hold the hook, and the length of the shaft, you may also be grasping this area off and on while working your project.

Thumb Rest:

The thumb rest is also referred to as the grip. Not all hooks have a notable thumb rest. If there is one, it is designed to be a comfortable and obvious place where you hold the hook between your thumb and index or middle finger. The thumb rest may be a flatted area of the hook or made obvious by some type of padding like silicone, rubber or foam pad. If a hook is considered ergonomic, it is because of a specialty thumb rest and handle.

Handle:

The handle is the single largest and longest part of the hook. This is the part you hold. It rests inside your palm if you use the knife grip. It will rest on top of your forefinger if you use the pencil grip. The handle and the thumb rest are what determines if a hook is ergonomic. It provides stability as you work your project. The handle can be shorter, longer, thicker, thinner, plain or decorative.

VOILA!

Now that you understand the anatomy of a crochet hook, you are well on your way to finding your perfect hook-mate match! When you’re ready to take this getting-to-know-you phase of your relationship up a notch, be sure to check out my Ultimate Guide to Crochet Hooks. It is accompanied by a downloadable PDF document that will provide you with anything and everything you want to know or need to know about how to find your perfect hook.

Happy Hooking!