Does your pattern call for double knitting weight yarn, and you can’t help but wonder what type of yarn that is? Perhaps you’ve seen it on yarn bands and product descriptions before but couldn’t put your finger around what it is.
Is double knitting weight yarn the same as worsted weight yarn? Is it the same as sport or baby weight yarn? What’s the difference? These are some of the many questions asked every time yarn weights come up. It is that complex for many knitters and not just you.
Normally when you come across the term weight, you imagine the heaviness of something when placed on weighing scales in grams or ounces. You could be right to some extent, but in knitting (or crocheting) lingo, yarn weight means something totally different.
Yarn weight is the thickness or weight of the strand, which could be anything from super fine (really thin) to jumbo (extra thick). The various weights usually have names and standard numbers for easy identification. Double knitting weight yarn is just one of them.
What is double knitting weight yarn? Double Knitting (DK) yarn is the UK equivalent of what is referred to as light-worsted yarn in the US, which is a 3 lightweight yarn. It is different from worsted, sport, chunky, and other yarn weights.
We know how new and confusing all these weight terms can be. And it gets even worse when the numerical scale is introduced. But do not let that intimidate you. Even some of the experienced knitters don’t get it that well.
That is why we’ve put together this guide to help you grasp the concept in bite-sized sections. In it, you’ll learn everything there is to know about double knitting yarn as we shed more light on what it is, it’s uses, conversion, and where to buy one.
Double Knitting Weight Yarn, What Exactly Is It?
Double knitting weight yarn popularly initialized as DK weight yarn is a thin lightweight #3 yarn. It is a little thinner than worsted weight (#4) but thicker than sport weight (#2) yarn.
It goes by other names in different places. If you are from the US, you’re likely more familiar with the term light worsted yarn. In Australia and surrounding regions, it is referred to as 8-ply yarn.
Unfortunately, some yarn brands do not print the standard name nor numeric scale for the yarn weight (sigh). In such instances, you’ll have to check for the average gauge. Double knitting weight yarn is approximately 21-26 stitches per 4 inches or 5-6 stitches per inch.
Note: Your gauge may not fit the average, which is why it’s typically recommended that you do a swatch before following any pattern or even using a new yarn. This also helps you choose the best needle and hook size.
But before we dive deeper into double knitting weight yarn and how it’s used, let’s clear up a few misconceptions.
Is Double Knitting a Technique or Yarn?
Many times, newbies think the double knitting yarn is the type of yarn used for double knitting. We sure can’t blame ’em for an honest mistake.
However, double knitting is a technique of creating two different hand-knit fabric layers at the same time, using one pair of needles (much like in double weaving).
However, it has nothing to do with a double knitting weight yarn, and the two are not tied in any way, except for the confusing similarity in naming. You can use any yarn weight you like for this knitting technique.
A double knitting weight yarn can be used more or less like any other yarn weight. It is not specifically designed for the double knitting technique. So while you could choose to use double knitting weight yarn while double knitting, you could also use this yarn weight for all kinds of projects.
Now that we are reading from the same script let’s proceed to what the yarn is all about.
What Size is Double Knitting Yarn?
As we said, double knitting yarn is a size 3.
To fully understand what size double knitting weight yarn is and identify it, let’s familiarize ourselves with the other yarn weights too. So if you’ve ever been wondering what patterns and guides mean by ‘DK’ or ‘sport’ or anything else, here’s your primer!
Yarn is classified in groups according to weight. Broadly speaking, there are fine weights, medium weights, and bulky weights, from thinnest to thickest. There are subtypes of each broad category that vary more subtly in thickness.
Let’s break it down for you a little further.
Every yarn description or tag is usually printed with a number between #0 and #7, which raises another common beginner knitting misconception.
Beginning knitters (and crocheters) sometimes mistake this number to mean how many skeins one gets in a pack, especially on online descriptions. It often leaves many misinformed knitters in shock when they receive just one skein from online vendors. Just when you thought the deal was a killer.
This number is only a representation of the yarn weight, or the thickness of the yarn strand. So when you see a 3 DK weight yarn on the description or 4 worsted weight yarn, don’t expect to get 3 or 4 balls of yarn. The number just tells you how thick your yarn will be.
Here’s a quick comparison table just to show you where double knitting weight yarn sits in the weight standardization chart:
|0||Lace||Lace/Light fingering/Thread/Cobweb yarn|
|1||Super fine||Baby/Sock/Fingering yarn|
|4||Medium||Worsted weight/Aran/Afghan yarn|
|6||Super bulky||Bulky/Roving yarn|
Note that there’s a new addition to the scale, a #7 known as jumbo yarn. It is bulkier than super bulky and primarily meant for arm knitting technique. Also, we went with the Craft Yarn Council’s classification, as it’s about as standard as you can get.
As you can see, a double knitting weight yarn is a light to medium scale 3 yarn. If you’ve been faithful to the chunky sizes or superfine sizes, the DK weight yarn has a lovely in-between thickness. Not too fine, neither is it overbearing.
So, if you find baby or sport weight yarn too thin, then you can switch a size up to DK weight yarn. And if medium weight yarn like worsted or Aran weight yarn seems a little bit heavy, you can switch a size down.
What Ply is Double Knitting Yarn?
Double knitting yarn can be any number of ply; at least for American yarn brands and other countries that have adopted the standard scale from the Craft Yarn Council.
Initially, yarn weight was determined by the ply count. Ply is the number of strands twined together during spinning to create yarn. If you’ve ever encountered some splitting while working with yarn, those individual strands are what we call ply.
At that time, wool was the predominant fiber for spinning yarn. As a result, a single, 2, 3, 4 plies, and so on had a consistent weight across the board. The double knit wool yarn used to be always an 8 ply.
However, as newer fibers emerged, each with different weights and thickness, the ply weight kept varying and produced different yarn weights even with the same number of plies.
You can now find a 2 ply yarn of heavier fibers that is much thicker than a 4 ply yarn of a finer fiber. The standard yarn weight system has since been adopted to standardize yarn weights globally.
Does the ply then still matter? Not as much. A double knitting weight yarn can be any number of ply depending on the fiber content. It could be 2, 3, or 4. It really doesn’t matter because the ply is not a direct reflection of the weight or quality.
Notwithstanding, in New Zealand and Australia, it is not surprising to find double weight yarn labeled as 8 ply because that is the equivalent of a 3 DK, or light weight yarn.
So is 8 Ply the Same as Double Knitting?
If you are converting a yarn description from, say, an Australian wool ball brand, then yes, 8 ply is the same as double knitting or light worsted weight yarn.
Still, we insist that the number of plies will not always translate to the yarn’s weight. It depends on the thickness of the individual strand.
So, not all 8 ply yarn is the same as double knitting weight yarn. Some will be lighter and others heavier depending on the fibers.
What is Double Knitting Weight Yarn Good For?
Because it is a medium-fine yarn, light in weight, and super versatile, double knitting weight yarn is very popular among avid knitters.
It knits up fairly quickly without getting too heavy. Consequently, many beginning knitters find it easier to learn with. It also comes in a huge variety of colors and fibers, both natural and synthetics.
Wondering what you can make out of DK weight yarn? It is best for knitting anything light and warm for spring and summer. It could be a light sweater, jumper, shawls, kids apparel, summer scarves, light baby blankets, and hats.
What Size Needles Do You Use With a Double Knitting Yarn?
You probably already know you need a matching pair of knitting needles for the different yarn weights. In case you were wondering what is the best needle size for double knitting weight yarn, you can typically grab U.S size 6 or 7 (3.75-4.5 mm) needles for this.
However, it is always best to go with what your pattern or the manufacturer recommends. Better yet, do a swatch sample to see if you like how the stitches turn out with your natural gauge using a particular needle size.
Can You Substitute Double Knitting Weight Yarn?
Sometimes you order yarn expecting a double weight yarn only to get a sport or fingering weight. Mistakes do happen.
Or maybe you had stocked up on fine weight yarn but now have a new pattern calling for DK weight yarn. What happens?
Can double knitting weight yarn be substituted with thinner weight yarn like sport weight? The two are often used interchangeably but there is a slight difference. Double knit weight yarn is a bit thicker and cannot, therefore, be perfectly swapped with sport, baby, or other fine weight yarns.
Good news is, you can usually double up strands of your sport, fingering, or 4 ply weight yarn as a substitute for DK weight yarn. The two strands of the thinner weight yarn will typically be equivalent to the thickness of a DK yarn strand.
Two strands of double weight yarn can also typically be doubled up to replace the thickness of Aran or worsted weight yarn.
Most standard yarn brands like Lion Brand and Yarninspiration provide these substitution charts on their websites. Still, you should make a swatch just to be sure you are getting the desired weight.
What’s the Best Double Knitting Weight Yarn?
It wouldn’t be fair to tell you all about this beautiful yarn and not show you where you can shop for some skeins. Even worse, not recommend knitters favorite DK yarn brands on the market.
There’s a wide selection of double knit weight yarns out there; you’ll be spoilt for choices. To give you a headstart, here are the three best double knitting weight yarns:
|1.||Lion Brand Babysoft Yarn||Acrylic blend|
|2.||Patons Classic Wool DK Yarn||100% wool|
|3.||Lion Brand Comfy Cotton Blend Yarn||Poly-cotton blend|
As always, we have a full review of each below, so keep reading for more about these great yarn choices – and happy knitting!
1. Lion Brand Babysoft Yarn
For baby items, go with Lion Brand Babysoft. It has 22 of the coolest pastel baby colors for making those cute snuggly little things.
Made from an acrylic and polyamide blend, the yarn is machine wash friendly. Cleaning and drying the knitwear will be such a breeze.
You’ll also love its cotton clouds softness while at the same time possessing incredible strength. It resists continuous mechanical wear from frequent washing and maintains newness. The DK 3 light worsted weight yarn is 5 oz and measures 459 yards long.
2. Patons Classic Wool DK Yarn
If not doing baby stuff, then you are likely making adult apparel or home decor, and Patons has got the colors for that.
The yarn is spun from 100% wool fibers. The wool is superwash, making the yarn smooth and machine washable for easy care.
A 3 DK weight and wool combo make this one of the most beginner-friendly options as it has all the qualities that make an effortless knitting experience. Each skein is 1.75 oz and with 125 yards.
3. Lion Brand Comfy Cotton Blend Yarn
Comfy cotton blend is the perfect yarn partner for all things spring and summer knits.
The 50-50 poly-cotton blend makes it a strong, durable, absorbent, machine washable, reasonably soft, and versatile yarn.
Indicated as CYC 3 lightweight, it comes in convenient, easy pull cakes weighing 7 oz (200g) with a length of 392 yards.
You’ll find a few solids colors, but their trendy flecked color palette will surely melt your heart. Regardless, it’s a joy to knit with and your creations will be durable and easy to wash.
Double Knitting Yarn – Review
Double knitting yarn is also known as DK yarn, 8 ply yarn or light worsted weight yarn. It is assigned a 3 which is lightweight yarn as per the Craft Yarn Council ratings and the standard gauge is 21-26 stitches per 4”.
The yarn is slightly thicker than fine weight sport yarn but thinner than medium weight worsted yarn. It is a go-to yarn for many hand knitters due to its light feel, ideal thickness, versatility, and ease of use.
US size 6 (4mm) needles are often the recommended tools for use with a double knitting weight yarn. It is available for purchase online in multiple fibers, colors, shapes, and lengths.
With this yarn weight, anything warm but lightweight goes – scarves, throws, tops, stocking hats, cardigans, you name it. It is not associated with the double knitting technique.
If necessary, you can substitute double knitting weight yarn using two strands of fingering or 4 ply weight yarn for a pattern.
Up Next: What Is Roving Wool? – Buyer’s Guide