SIZE MATTERS: YARN AND KNITTING NEEDLES SIZES AND STANDARDS

One thing you may not realize when you start out knitting is that size matters! Well when it comes to knitting needles and yarn that is.

Have you ever looked at a yarn label? If you have, you may have seen some of the following:
  • a needle with a number next to it
  • some information about stitches, rows and inches
  • yarn weight or type

What's the point of all that?  If your yarn label could talk, these are some of the things it might tell you...

Every yarn has an ideal needle size that you should use when knitting. Understanding yarn and needle standards will help you choose the right size yarn for your needles and vice versa. This will ultimately help make you a better and more knowledgeable knitter but also come in handy when trying to attain the correct gauge (this is something I'll talk about in a later post) for your knitting project.

There are six categories when it comes to yarn weight: lace, super fine, fine, light, medium, bulky and super bulky (Japan breaks it down even further by splitting the lace category in two making seven categories in total). The chart below shows the different yarn weight categories, the type of yarn that falls under each, recommended needle sizes for each, and estimated stitches in a four inch knitted swatch.

YARN STANDARDS CHART:

YARN STANDARDS CHART
Source: Craft Yarn Council's www.YarnStandards.com (I've added UK / CDN and JPN needle sizes)

Because knitting is a worldwide trend, you'll come across patterns from many different countries and that means they'll call for needle sizes that are unfamiliar to you. Here's a chart that compares metric, US, UK/ Canadian, and Japanese knitting needle sizes.

KNITTING NEEDLE COMPARISON CHART:

KNITTING NEEDLE COMPARISON CHART
Source: Craft Yarn Council's www.YarnStandards.com (I've added UK / CDN and JPN needle sizes and smaller US sizes)
I've tried to make this as inclusive as possible as tinselmint has readers from all over the world. If I've missed something, please don't hesitate to e-mail me using the link on my sidebar or leave a message in the comment section below.

I'm always interested in learning more about knitting and what is common in other countries. What's something new that you've learned recently?



5 comments:

  1. Love the baby steps and little bites at a time... just enough to make me think I might be able to do this! :)

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  2. Thank Heather and Jen! Glad you find it helpful!

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  3. Thanks for the helpful chart! I have 2 sets of size 2.5 mm dpn's. They are labeled US 1.5 and are Knitter's Pride brand. I've learned to only pay attention to the metric size because a .25 mm difference in needle size can be a big deal and there are odd sizes through US 7.

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    1. So glad you found this useful. I came across the same problems and it was frustrating so I did some research and came up with this chart...the most accurate conversions I could find.

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