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Is ‘worsted weight’ the same as 8 ply yarn?

I get asked this question via email quite often, so I figured it was time to answer it in a blog post!

The short answer is: no.

But leaving it there would make a very boring blog post, wouldn’t it? So, here’s a bit more info about how yarn weights are labeled!

What does ‘weight’ of a yarn mean?

‘Weight’ refers to the thickness of a yarn. Yarn can be very skinny or very bulky, and everywhere in between.

Knowing the thickness of your yarn is crucial when you’re trying to follow a pattern or figure out which hook/needle size to use, because the yarn’s thickness (largely) determines the gauge that you will get in your knitted/crocheted piece.

American and British Yarn weight terms

Worsted weight yarn is the American term for yarn that you might spy in Australia or the UK as ’10 ply’ yarn. It’s the most common yarn weight that you’ll find on American shelves… and if you shop in Big Box stores, you might see it labeled as a ‘medium weight yarn’ with this little symbol:

8 ply is the yarn that you’ll find most easily in Australia (which I know from personal experience), and I’ve heard that it’s pretty standard in the UK as well. It corresponds to what is called ‘dk’ weight in the US.

If you’re interested in how US and UK/Aus terms line up, I highly recommend checking out this handy dandy chart from Ravelry.

Help! How do I follow a US pattern with 8 ply yarn?

If you’re knitting/crocheting a garment, then there’s a slightly long and complicated answer about getting proper gauge and such when you substitute yarns.

However, the reason I get this question so often is because folks in the UK and Australia want to crochet an amigurumi pattern (which calls for worsted weight yarn), but they can only find 8 ply yarn… and then, the solution is easy-peasy!

If you’re making amigurumi, what’s most important is that you use the right sized hook for your yarn. So, if you’re using an 8 ply yarn, select a hook size that gives you a nice-looking fabric that stuffing won’t show through.

Your finished piece will be an eensy bit smaller than one crocheted with thicker yarn… but it’s easier than ordering yarn from overseas!

For more detailed info, you might want to check out this post on substituting yarns in amigurumi.

So there you have it… worsted weight and 8 ply yarns aren’t the same… but you shouldn’t let that stop you from making an awesome amigurumi!

4 Responses to “Is ‘worsted weight’ the same as 8 ply yarn?”

  1. Richard Rose says:

    I’ve never worried about yarn thickness when it comes to amigurumi as I have always figured that the proportions would come out right, except where the pattern specifies a length instead of number of rows. Of course, making garments from foreign patterns can be troublesome.

  2. Cathy Arbuckle says:

    Thanks so much for this answer. I am starting to use my round and square loom knitters, which I havent used for years. I am interested mainly in throw/blankets at the moment and could not remember the conversion fir worsted weight. I have written it down now!

    I would be interested to know if you have any ideas where I might get new, more modern patterns for the diary and square loom, and andy for other looms.

    Many thanks
    Cathy

  3. Kay says:

    As a senior citizen who learned to knit and crochet in the 50’s and 60’s I find the various weights of yarn has become very confusing since everything has changed. In my time we were accustomed to 4 ply, fingering yarn, bulky, etc. Now there are so many sizes, types, and ply that the art is now convoluted, I am sorry to say. What is 10 ply yarn? What is with diagramming a crocheted piece? There was a time when one simply followed a pattern and somehow it worked! It’s been sort of like trying to decide which cable company to go with, which phone, company, etc. :)

  4. Susan says:

    Thank you so much for this helpful info I am crocheting a pattern requiring a 6.5mm hook and worsted weight yarn I only have a 5mm hook and live in Australia now I know I can use this hook and the 8ply wool the item is for a six Y/O child and would probably have been too large for him anyway
    Good on you for giving this info please keep up the good work