Worsted Weight…?

When you walk into a yarn store or the craft section of a department store you may become overwhelmed with the amazing selection of yarn. As you browse you can clearly see the different textures. Suddenly you realize your pattern mentions a certain weight… and you panic. What yarn do you get?

Are you working on a pattern? Check your pattern. Most patterns will tell you which type and weight your yarn should be. Since you’ll be following me to the end off this whole thing let’s use my free owl pattern available at the end of the lesson. Under materials at the top it states Worsted Weight yarn, followed by colors used.

Worsted Weight yarn is the most commonly used weight for amigurumi. Below is a table of the other types of weight, their symbols, and the suggested hook sizes for each.

graduation owl

Categories of yarn weights, types, and suggested hook sizes for each:

Label Symbols for Each Weight0123456
Types of YarnFingering, LaceSock, FingeringSport, BabyDK, Light WorstedWorsted, Afghan, AranChunky, Craft, RugSuper Bulky, Roving
Metric Size HooksSteel** 1.6-1.4mm
Reg Hook: 2.25mm
2.25-3.5mm3.5-4.5mm4.5-5.5mm5.5-6.5mm6.5-9mm9-15mm
U.S. Size HooksSteel** 6,7,8
Reg Hook: B
B-EE-77-II-KK-MM+

*Hook suggestions are merely that, suggestions. The pattern you’re working on will instruct you on which hook and yarn weight to use.
**Steel hooks are sized differently from regular hooks – the higher the number the smaller the hook.

Acrylic, Wool, Cotton… or?

Alpaca, Cashmere, Silk, Bamboo, Polyester… the list goes on. This isn’t typically listed in patterns because it’s all about your personal choice. I’m just going to cover the 3 most popular because they’re widely available and most likely what you’ll choose from.

Cotton

Cotton is available in all yarn weights which is great. It absorbs water too and dries quickly, which makes it great for hand towels. It’s very durable and gets softer with use. It’s inelastic; it’ll hold it’s shape which means it’s great for totes and purses. If you’re allergic to acrylic or wool, cotton is your best bet. The downside is it’s more expensive. Your department store may not carry it and it may be hard to find the colors you’d like.

Wool

While you may think itchy, scratchy, old sweaters when you think of wool it’s much more soft now. Which is a very big selling point for it, the touch. Unfortunately, wool tends to felt when it gets wet. It also takes a while to dry. There are blended wools that solve this problem, but finding them can be difficult. And of course if you are allergic to wool… probably shouldn’t use it.

Acrylic

This is my yarn of choice at the moment. It’s what I use for all of my amigurumi. Acrylic yarn comes in a variety of colors that may seem endless at times. It’s widely available and cheap, found in department stores and the bigger craft stores even have their own brands of acrylic yarn they sell. Because of this it’s the best for beginners.

Skeins, Balls, and Hanks

When you purchase yarn they are wound in 3 different ways.

yarn hank
yarn skein
yarn ball
yarn cake

When yarn is wrapped loosely into a large ring shape and then twisted it’s called a Hank. You can’t crochet directly from a hank. Instead you untwist and use a ball-winder to wind into a cake or ball.

A Skein is an oblong center pull bundle that you can crochet immediately with. Most of the available yarn in department stores are wound in skeins. Often times skein refers merely to your bundle of yarn, regardless of how it is wound.

The ever classic Ball of yarn. Balls of yarn typically can’t be pulled from the center. You won’t see many of these sold in stores as they are hand wound most of the time.

A Cake is center pull and comes off of a ball-winder. It’s a cylinder, with a flat top and bottom. I wind all my skeins into cakes once they start to lose their shape.

homework and quiz

Your homework!

Next time you go to the department store or craft store take a good look at the yarn. Feel the different textures. Take a look at the prices and see which ones fit in with your budget best.

Yarn Types

Let's see what you've learned from this lesson!