If you love crafting with yarn, you’ve probably heard of the term “yarn weight” thrown around. The world of yarn weights can be confusing, and there are even different standards depending on where you are.
So, what is finger weight yarn? Finger weight yarn is a lace-weight to superfine weight yarn that’s perfect for lightweight, delicate projects like lace crocheting, small items like pot holders, or children’s clothes.
If you’re curious about finger weight yarn, this article will answer your questions, plus tell you about what projects work best with Finger Weight Yarn.
Types Of Yarn Weights
So what is yarn weight anyway, and why should you know about the different types of yarn weight?
Yarn weight doesn’t refer to the weight of a ball of yarn, per se, but it indicates how thick the yarn is, which will affect what size needles or crochet hook to use and how your overall project will look.
Most brands in the United States follow a standard yarn weight system, which can be classified into eight different types of yarn weight.
1. Lace-Weight Yarn
Lace-weight yarn is a type of finger-weight yarn.
It is the lightest, thinnest type of yarn on the scale, and it’s usually suitable for very delicate crochet lace projects, such as dresses or decorative table runners.
Because this type of yarn is very light, it’s recommended to use needles size 1.5–2.25 mm (000–1) or crochet hook size 2.25 mm to achieve the perfect lacy look.
This is my favorite lace weight yarn on Amazon.
2. Superfine Yarn
Superfine yarns include finger-weight yarn, sock yarn, or baby yarn.
This type of yarn is still very delicate, but it can be a bit thicker than laceweight yarn, which makes it easier to work with. These are suitable – as the names may have indicated – for small, delicate projects such as socks or baby garments.
The recommended needle size for super fine yarn is 2.25-3.25 mm (1 – 3), or crochet hook size 2.25-3.5 mm.
3. Fine Yarn
Fine yarn includes sport yarn and baby yarn. It’s a bit thicker than superfine yarn, but the two are often interchangeable. Fine yarn is suitable for children’s sweaters, hats, scarves, and afghans.
Fine yarn is recommended to use with needles size 3.25-3.75 mm (3 – 5) or crochet hook size 3.5-4.5 mm.
4. Light Yarn
Light yarn includes double-knitting (DK) yarn and worsted-weight yarn. These are the most common types of yarn for knitters and crocheters because they can work up quickly, but the details are still delicate enough.
These are suitable for a wide range of projects, including sweaters, hats, mittens, or scarves. Light yarn is recommended to use with needles size 3.75-4.5 mm (5 – 7) or crochet hook size 4.5-5.5 mm.
5. Medium Yarn
Medium yarn refers to worsted-weight, aran, and afghan yarns. This type of yarn is often thicker and suitable for thick garments such as blankets or sweaters.
Medium yarn is suitable to use with knitting needles size 4.5-5.5 mm (7 – 9) or crochet hook size 5.5-6.5 mm.
6. Bulky Yarn
Bulky refers to chunky, craft, and rug yarns. This type of yarn is relatively thick and heavy, suitable for big projects like baskets, rugs, or blankets.
It’s recommended to use knitting needles size 5.5-8 mm (9 – 11) or crochet hook size 6.5-9 mm with this type of yarn.
7. Super Bulky Yarn
Super bulky yarn is very thick and heavy; this type of yarn is suitable to make things with substantial volumes, like a chunky sweater or blanket.
This type of yarn is suitable for knitting needles sizes 8-12.75 mm (11-17) and crochet hook size 9-15 mm.
8. Jumbo Yarn
Jumbo or roving yarn is the thickest type. This type of yarn is often suitable for hand knitting (where you can knit with just your arm rather than using needles) to quickly make a chunky blanket or throw.
The recommended knitting needle size is 12.75mm and up (17 and up), and the recommended crochet hook size is 15mm and larger.
Why Does Yarn Weight Matter?
Knowing and being able to distinguish between different types of yarn weights can be very practical for a knitting or crocheting enthusiast. The yarn weight not only affects the look of your project, but it can also influence a few things you should consider as well.
1. Needle / Hook Size
As mentioned above, the yarn weight will affect the size of knitting needles or crochet hook you will need to use. When you buy a skein of yarn, you can usually find the recommended knitting needle/crochet hook size right on the sleeve, which is the best size to get a nice and even gauge.
You can always use a bigger or smaller needle size to get the desired effect as well. For example, for a loose-knit construction with more drape, you can use a bigger needle size. This technique is applicable for sweaters and scarves.
If you want the knit construction to be a bit tighter (like when you make a rug, for example), you can use a smaller needle/hook size to create this effect.
Gauge refers to how many stitches/rows you will need to create a 10 x 10 centimeters (4 in by 4 in) square, using a certain size of needles or hook. The result is measured after blocking.
Why does this matter? If you love following a pattern, then achieving the right gauge is important for you to get the right measurements for your garment.
Knitting or crocheting patterns usually indicate the gauge needed for that pattern and using the right yarn weight and knitting needles/crochet hook for that pattern is important to achieve the right gauge and size for your garment.
If you have a mystery yarn in your stash, then the gauge is also a good indicator of the yarn weight as well. For example, the common gauge for finger-weight yarn is around 27-32 stitches per 10 centimeters (4 inches) using knitting needles sizes 1-3.
If you’re uncertain about what type of yarn you have, knitting a gauge swatch can help you figure out if the yarn is suitable for your project.
How Long It Takes To Complete A Project
Yarn weight also indicates how long it will take to complete your project. There’s a reason why beginners love working with bulky and super bulky yarn – not only are the stitches easier to see, you can also complete a very big garment in a short time.
In comparison, a lace-weight yarn will require more stitches and rows to achieve the same size garment. So if you are looking for a quick project, using a heavier yarn weight is the way to go.
What Is Finger Weight Yarn?
Back to our original question – what is finger weight yarn? As our size chart above indicates, finger weight refers to very fine yarn, including lace-weight yarn and super fine yarn.
Finger weight yarn is sometimes labeled as sock yarn or baby yarn because they are suitable to make small, delicate items such as socks or baby garments. You can also use finger-weight yarn to make lightweight fabrics such as lace shawls and light knitted garments.
The recommended needle size for finger weight yarn is 1.5mm-3.25mm (000 – 3), and the recommended crochet hook size is 2.25-3.5 mm.
These recommended sizes are suitable to achieve an even gauge without too many gaps between the stitches. The smaller needle/crochet hook sizes are able to help you achieve a tighter knit, but since the yarn is so lightweight, the garment can feel light with a nice drape without being too stiff.
In most craft stores, you can find finger-weight yarn in very small skeins (20-30 grams), half skeins (50 grams), full skeins (100 grams), and jumbo skeins (100 grams and up). The total length you can get for a 100-gram skein is about 400 yards of yarn.
What Ply Is Finger Weight Yarn?
When it comes to yarn weight, you can also hear the word ‘1-ply’ or ‘2-ply’ being used to indicate the yarn weight. So what ply is finger weight yarn?
‘Ply’ refers to the individual strands that are twisted together to create a single strand of yarn. Previously, when the production of yarn was still quite basic, the size of a single-ply was standardized across the board, so ply could also be used to indicate the yarn weight.
For example, a one-ply yarn indicated a very fine, lightweight yarn, whereas a 20-ply yarn indicated a super bulky yarn.
Nowadays, the sizes of the ply are not so standard anymore. Modern yarn production can create very thin or very thick plies without affecting the integrity of the construction, so you can get a lace-weight yarn that is 10-ply, and you can also get a bulky yarn that is just one-ply.
However, that doesn’t mean the use of ply to indicate yarn weight is out of use. You still hear about this unit of measurement today. That’s why finger-weight yarn is often referred to as 4-ply yarn, but some of them may have only one-ply or two-ply in reality.
Best Projects For Finger Weight Yarn
The fine gauge makes this yarn great for projects that are detailed but not heavy. Because the finger-weight yarn is so delicate, it is great for making baby clothes, socks, and lacework.
For summer tops and shorts, you can also use finger-weight yarn to get a lightweight garment with a great drape. If you have the patience for it, you can also make lightweight blankets, scarves, and shawls out of finger-weight yarn.
1. Baby Knit
Finger-weight yarn is suitable to make beautiful baby garments like onesies, socks, and hats. Thanks to the delicate construction, this type of yarn can hug the baby’s body nicely without being too constricting.
If you intend to make a baby garment, make sure to use a yarn with a fiber construction that’s suitable for sensitive baby skin. Fuzzy wool, for example, tends to shed a lot and can irritate baby skin. Cotton or cotton-blend is the safest choice to make baby items. Merino wool can also be a soft, hypoallergenic choice.
In addition, if you are making a baby garment, make sure to get the ‘superwash’ type of yarn, especially if you are buying wool. Wool needs to be hand washed and air dry, which is definitely not suitable for baby garments that need to be laundered frequently.
Superwash yarn is a yarn that has been treated to become suitable for the washer and dryer, which makes laundry day a little bit easier, which is an important thing to consider for baby garments.
2. Shawls, Scarves, and Cowls
Finger-weight yarn is a lovely choice for an open, lacy construction. The pattern’s often very detailed and delicate, demanding a type of yarn that can complement the pattern nicely. Thinner finger-weight yarn is the best choice for this.
Since shawls, scarves, and cowls are often fashion statements, they don’t need to be too durable and are a good opportunity for you to splurge on fancy yarns like silk, cashmere wool, or alpaca wool.
If you want to showcase a beautiful lace pattern, you should use plain colored yarn. You can also find hand-dyed and self-striping yarn, which will pair best with simple patterns, where you can really show off the color of yarn.
Finger-weight yarn is also a suitable choice to knit socks, as they can make a lightweight and comfortable fit without being too heavy.
However, there are a few more considerations if you want to make socks from finger-weight yarn. This is because your socks need to withstand a lot of rubbing and friction from your walking movements, so the yarn needs to be extra durable and long-lasting.
Secondly, your feet will inevitably sweat a lot, so using a synthetic yarn that will trap moisture is out of the question. It’s best to opt for a wool yarn that is breathable and won’t trap odor, which can keep your feet comfortable and free of odor.
Sock yarn will also need to be superwash so that you don’t have to take time hand washing them. There are finger-weight yarns that are labeled as ‘sock yarn’ and can satisfy all of these requirements, and they would make lovely pairs of socks for both kids and adults.
4. Lightweight Tops and Shorts
For crochet tops and summer shorts, finger-weight yarn is an amazing option. A lot of crochet patterns require an open-work construction, and a finger-weight yarn would be able to complement these patterns very nicely while still keeping you light and airy for the summer.
For those who want a breathable, flowy crochet fabric for the summer, you should opt for yarn made from natural fibers like linen or cotton. This is because synthetic fibers like acrylic tend to trap heat and odor, which can make you feel quite stuffy during the summertime.
For those who love the fancy crochet art of amigurumi, where you can make 3-D stuffed animals and other creations from crocheting, finger-weight yarn is a great option for that.
Since this type of yarn is very tiny, your stitches will be quite small, and you can showcase your talent in the smaller details of your work.
Amigurumi yarn is often plain-colored or textured, and since you won’t be wearing these creations, you can use synthetic yarn like acrylic to make these beautiful artworks.
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