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!