Measuring and Classifying Yarn by Weight

Measuring Yarn Weight

Traditionally, yarn has been divided into three classes: fine, medium, and bulky. These classes are further subdivided into more precise categories. The two systems used to classify yarn by the weight or size are wraps per inch (centimeter) and the yarn count measurement.

Wraps per Inch

Yarn WeightLace (0)Super Fine (1)Fine (2)Light (3)Medium (4)Bulky (5)Super Bulky (6)Jumbo (7)
Types of YarnCrochet thread,
Cobweb,
Light fingering
Sock,
Fingering,
Baby
Sport,
Baby
DK,
Light Worsted
Worsted,
Afghan,
Aran
Chunky,
Craft,
Rug
Super Bulky,
Roving
Jumbo,
Roving
Wraps per Inch (WPI)32 – 40+14 - 3112118 – 1075 – 60 –4
Stockinette Knit Gauge, sts/4”33 – 4027 – 3223 – 2621 – 2416 – 2012 – 157 – 110 – 6
Knitting Needle, mm1.5 – 2.252.25 – 3.253.21 – 3.753.75 – 4.54.5 – 5.55.5 – 88 – 12.7512.75+
Knitting Needle (US)000 – 11 – 33 – 55 – 77 – 99 – 1111 – 1717+
Double Crochet Gauge, sts/4”32 – 4221 – 3118 – 2015 – 1712 – 149 – 117 – 80 – 6
Crochet Hook, mm1.2 – 1.4 (steel), 2.25 (reg.)2.25 – 3.53.5 – 4.54.5 – 5.55.5 – 6.56.5 – 99 – 1515+
Crochet Hook (US)6, 7, 8 (steel), B–1 (reg.)B–1 – E–4E–4 – 77 – I–9I–9 – K–10 1/2K–10 ½ – M–13M–13 – QQ+

Yarn Count System

The yarn count system is used by commercial textile manufacturers. It is described below as a reference for understanding the weight of yarn or thread.

The yarn count system measures mass per unit length (direct) or length per unit mass (indirect).

Indirect Yarn Count System (Fixed Weight)

The indirect system measures the length of yarn per fixed weight. The count is expressed as a number of hanks of certain length. This system is commonly used for cotton, linen, and wool. The following formula is used for indirect yarn count.

N = (L × w) / ( l × W)N = yarn count

L = the length of the sample

w = unit of weight of the system

W = the weight of the sample

l = unit of length of the system

The most commonly used types of fixed weight system are listed below:

  • English Cotton Count (Ne or ‘s): number of 840-yard hanks per one pound of yarn.
  • Metric Cotton Count (Nm): number of 1,000-meter hanks per one kilogram of yarn.
  • Worsted Count (NeK): number of 560-yard hanks per one pound of yarn.
  • Woolen Count: number of 256-yard hanks/skeins per one pound of yarn.

Indirect Yarn Count System

Count System LengthWeight (fixed)
English Cotton Count (Ne, ‘s) 840 yd (hank)1 Lb
Metric Cotton Count (Nm)1,000 m1 kg
Worsted Count (NeK)560 yd (hank)1 Lb
Woolen, Yorkshire (Ny)256 yd (hank/skein)1 Lb
Woolen Run, American (WR)1,600 yd (run)1 Lb
Woolen Cut, Galashiels (WC)200 yd (cut) 300 yd (cut)1 Lb 24 ounces
Linen (wet spun) (NeL)300 yards (lea)1 Lb

Direct Yarn Count System (Fixed Length)

The direct system measures the weight of yarn per fixed length of the yarn. This system is used for silk, jute, hemp, viscosa, and some synthetic fibers.

The formula is used:

N = ( l × W) / L

N = yarn count

L = the length of the sample

W = the weight of the sample

l = unit of length of the system

Some of the common direct systems include:

  • Tex: weight in grams of 1,000 meters of yarn
  • Denier: weight in grams of 9,000 meters of yarn.
  • Grist or Pound per spindle (Jute, Hemp): weight in pounds of 14,400 yards of yarn.
  • deciTex (dTex): weight in grams of 10,000 of yarn.
  • milliTex (mTex): weight in milligrams of 1,000 meters of yarn.
  • kiloTex (kTex): weight in kilograms of 1,000 of yarn.
  • Silk Count: weight in drams (1 dram = 1/16 ounce) of 1,000 yards of yarn.

Direct Yarn Count System

Count SystemWeightLength (fixed)
Texgrams1,000 m
Deniergrams9,000 m
Grist or Lb/Spindlepounds14,4000 yd
Silk Countdrams1,000 yd
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