So you’re new to knitting or crocheting and want to start a project. Or you’re picking up the craft again and need a refresher. Here are some yarn basics where you can find the different types of yarn bundles, standard knitting needle and crochet hook sizes, and yarn weights!
There are different ways that yarn can be wound into bundles and a wide variety of types can be found in our store:
- A hank is a long loop of yarn twisted into a bundle. You can’t directly knit or crochet from a hank; you’ll need to use a ball-winder to create a ball or cake.
- A skein is longer and more narrow, probably what you picture when you think of yarn. It’s how many of the brand name yarns are wound.
- A ball is just that: a ball of yarn. This way isn’t how you normally purchase yarn—because they’d roll off the shelves—but are an easy way to wind up your yarn so it doesn’t tangle.
- A cake comes off of a ball-winder in a cylinder shape with a flat top and bottom. You pull from the center of a cake to start. Yarn cakes often come with self-striping yarn in a variety of color combinations. (They can also come in smaller bundles called “cupcakes”!)
Yarns come in a variety of different weights depending upon the yarn strand’s thickness. According to the Craft Yarn Council, there are six different categories of yarn weights. The higher the number, the heavier the yarn. It’s important to know your yarn’s weight when making a project so that you don’t end up with a bulky yarn for a baby blanket.
Many of the mass-produced yarns use the yarn standards ranking system and will have the following number and weight printed on the label:
0 Lace Lace yarn is very thin and used for shawls and doilies.
1 Super Fine This yarn is lightweight and used for baby items, socks, or shawls. It’s best for delicate pieces.
2 Fine Sport yarn weight is used for wraps, socks, sweaters, lightweight afghans, and other accessories.
3 Light This weight is slightly heavier than a fine weight yarn and used for garments and heavier baby items.
4 Medium This is the most commonly used yarn. It’s easy for beginners to work with and is double the weight of sport (fine) yarn.
5 Bulky This yarn is twice the weight of medium yarn and works well with larger needles or hooks for sweaters, scarves, throws, and rugs.
6 Super Bulky A thick yarn used for cowls, scarves, and hats.
7 Jumbo This is the thickest yarn weight and is great for arm knitting.
Knitting Needles & Crochet Hooks
The size knitting needle or crochet hook you use will depend on the weight of your yarn. Below you’ll find a table of the standard knitting needle and crochet hook sizes. Often times the yarn label will list the yarn weight and recommended needle or hook size to use.
Metric diameter Knitting Needle Number Crochet Hook Size
2.25 mm 1 B-1
2.75 mm 2 C-2
3.25 mm 3 D-3
3.5 mm 4 E-4
3.75 mm 5 F-5
4 mm 6 G-6
4.5 mm 7 7
5 mm 8 H-8
5.5 mm 9 I-9
6 mm 10 J-10
6.5 mm 10.5 K-10.5
8 mm 11 L-11
9 mm 13 M/N-13
10 mm 15 N/P-15
12.75 mm 17 —
15 mm 19 P/Q
16 mm — Q
19 mm 35 S
25 mm 50 U
Have questions about your needle or hook size or yarn weight? Looking for a particular kind of yarn? Need some inspiration? We’re more than happy to help you with yarn basics and beyond! Knitting Criations in Somers CT offers open knitting Tuesdays through Fridays where you can come in to work on your project or ask any questions you might have.