Comparing yarn weights, knitting needle sizes and number of stitches

Comparing yarn weights, knitting needle sizes and number of stitches


Different yarn weights (country to country) are being discussed on the knit-a-square forum and in knitting help.

What seems to be most commonly understood, is that worsted and double knit are most likely 4 ply. Therefore doubling it would be closer to the 8 ply we have suggested for the squares. The most important thing to consider is that the squares should be warm.


Descriptions of yarn weights vary widely from country to country and it's all a little confusing.


What we know to be 8 ply in Australia is, according to one how to knit reference: category 2 fine, sport weight or baby yarn in the USA or double knitting (DK) which is the equivalent of British 8 ply according to another.

Hmmmm? Are Australian and British 8 ply the same or different?

Researching further, the recommended knitting needle size for baby yarn or sport weight is only: 3.25-4mm (Australia), 5-7 (USA), 10 (UK).

This did not fit with our recommended 6mm knitting needles size.

And yet our results create a compact 8 x 8" square using 8 ply yarn.

Seeking further knitting help to clarify this situation, added yet another dimension.

It introduced knit gauge. Our knitting instructions are for 32 stitches. 16 stitches on 6mm (10 USA) (4UK), creates a 4" (or 10 cm square. Therefore 32 stitches is perfect for an 8 x 8" square.

And then it became even more complex. The recommended yarn weights for these knitting needle sizes, according to two references, were Aran weight (or somewhere between worsted and bulky weight, or 10 ply UK). Phew!

After some exhaustive searching I could find no reference anywhere to help with South Africa and only a few for Canada. I am hoping the rest of the world's knitters (with apologies) work from one of these three standards, as confusing as they are.

Jill from wool , who has reworked the square vest in a crochet pattern for those of you who prefer to crochet, has used light worsted weight (medium#4). However crochet and knitting stitches may not make exactly the same gauge.

For now, and until we are able to create a definitive chart that simply compares each knitting needle size, yarn and the number of stitches to make up a 4" square, it seems the bulk of the recommendations for the ideal yarn weights were as per our knitting instructions.

Worsted weight (USA), 10 ply (UK).

Don't forget to sign up to our ezine, Square Circle for news of the children and their blankets.


Can you help me create this chart?

As you have will have read here, this is a confusing business! Some of the most expert knitting sites have differing views to each other on the subject.

Would you contribute to gathering information for a Definitive Yarn Weights and Needle Sizes Comparison Chart?

This will help us make sure all the squares sent for blankets are the same size and bulk. But it will also be of great use to the knitters of the world what ever they are knitting.

You may like to upload photographs of knitted squares or the yarn you used too. Thank you.

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