Tips and Tutorials

  • Standard Yarn Weight Guide

    Here is a handy guide to yarn weights including gauge ranges, and recommended needle and hook sizes. This is taken from the Craft Yarn Council.

    Standard Yarn Weight System

    Yarn Weight Symbol & Category Names
    lacesuper finefinelightmediumbulkysuper bulkyjumbo
    Type of Yarns in Category
    Fingering 10-count crochet thread Sock, Fingering, Baby Sport, Baby DK, Light Worsted Worsted, Afghan, Aran Chunky, Craft, Rug Super Bulky, Roving Jumbo, Roving
    Knit Gauge Range* in Stockinette Stitch to 4 inches
    33–40** sts 27–32 sts 23–26 sts 21–24 st 16–20 sts 12–15 sts 7–11 sts 6 sts and fewer
    Recommended Needle in Metric Size Range
    1.5–2.25 mm 2.25— 3.25 mm 3.25— 3.75 mm 3.75— 4.5 mm 4.5— 5.5 mm 5.5— 8 mm 12.75 mm 12.75 mm and larger
    Recommended Needle U.S.Size Range
    000–1 1 to 3 3 to 5 5 to 7 7 to 9 9 to 11 11 to 17 17 and larger
    Crochet Gauge*Ranges inSingle Crochetto 4 inch
    32–42 double crochets** 21–32 sts 16–20 sts 12–17 sts 11–14 sts 8–11 sts 6–9 sts 5 sts and fewer
    RecommendedHook in MetricSize Range
    Steel*** 1.6–1.4 mm 2.25—3.5 mm 3.5—4.5 mm 4.5—5.5 mm 5.5—6.5 mm 6.5—9 mm 9—16 mm 16 mm and larger
    Recommended Hook U.S. Size Range
    Steel*** 6, 7, 8 Regular hook B–1 B–1 to E–4 E–4 to 7 7 to I–9 I–9 to K–10 1⁄2 K–10 1⁄2 to M–13 M–13 to Q Q and larger

    * GUIDELINES ONLY: The above reflect the most commonly used gauges and needle or hook sizes for specific yarn categories.

    ** Lace weight yarns are usually knitted or crocheted on larger needles and hooks to create lacy, openwork patterns. Accordingly, a gauge range is difficult to determine. Always follow the gauge stated in your pattern.

    *** Steel crochet hooks are sized differently from regular hooks—the higher the number, the smaller the hook, which is the reverse of regular hook sizing

  • Standard Knitting Needle and Crochet Hook Sizes

    Here is a handy guide to recommended needle and hook sizes. This is taken from the Craft Yarn Council.

     Standard Knitting Needle and Crochet Hook Sizes

  • How Much Fiber / How Much Yarn Do I Need For Handspun Yarn Projects?

    Weighing Fiber For Yarn Weighing Fiber For Yarn 

    A few things I get asked a lot are: 1) How much fiber do I need to make a skein of yarn? and 2) How many skeins of yarn do I need to make a scarf or other project?

    To answer #1)- Well, there are a few ways to measure this. First, it depends on your spinning equipment, method, and yarn size/weight. A jumbo bobbin on most spinning wheels can hold 3-4 oz of yarn. Let's assume you are spinning on average a 3.5 oz skein of bulky yarn on a wheel (not a drop spindle). So you should buy at least 3.8 -4 oz. of fiber per skein to cover any loss from short fibers or VM  or anything else that falls out. You might want to keep a little extra ends for future reference or swatches so that should cover it.

    To answer #2) - One way to guestimate how many skeins you'll need to knit a scarf, for example, is to weigh a similar item. I've weighed my scarves (yup, I did!) and they range from about 4 oz. for a sport weight skinny scarf to 2 lbs. for a super bulky Dr. Who type confection. Sweaters can weigh 6 lbs. You can probably make a baby hat or skinny scarf with one skein. Consider buying an entire medium fleece if you are making outerwear.

    Bottom line is, make skeins in pairs and weigh everything first. You'll want the second skein, I guarantee it.

  • How Much Yarn Do You Need? Handspun Yarn Yardage Estimator

    How Much Yarn Do You Need

    Estimating how much yarn to buy for a knitting or crochet project can be tricky, especially if you are substituting handspun yarn for commercial. There are a couple ways to figure this out depending on if you are using a pattern or making it up as you go along. Either way I recommend buying at least 5-10% more than you think you need. Who wants to run out of yarn when you're almost finished with your project? Yup. Exactly.

    If you are using a pattern:

    How many yards does the pattern call for? Figure out the total yardage you'll need: (number of skeins) x (yardage per skein) = total yardage

    Here's a handy chart from Knitting Patterns For Dummies for estimating yardage for yarn projects.

    Estimated Yardage of Yarn for Projects
    Yarn Weight CategoryStitches per InchYards Needed for a HatYards Needed for a ScarfYards Needed for an Adult Sweater
    1 Superfine 7 to 8 300 to 375 350 1,500 to 3,200
    2 Fine 6 to 7 250 to 350 300 1,200 to 2,500
    3 Light 5 to 6 200 to 300 250 1,000 to 2,000
    4 Medium 4 to 5 150 to 250 200 800 to 1,500
    5 Bulky 3 to 4 125 to 200 150 600 to 1,200
    6 Super bulky 1.5 to 3 75 to 125 125 400 to 800


    If you are freestyling and/or using handspun yarn:

    With handspun yarn this can be tricky. A skein of handspun yarn usually weighs anywhere between 3-4 oz. with the average being 3.5 oz. A super bulky handspun yarn can be anywhere from about 25-60 yards per skein. Here's a trick - Let's say you are making a scarf. Use a kitchen or postal scale and weigh a scarf that is about the same size and yarn weight as your project will be when finished. If your scarf will weigh 2 lbs. and you are using 3.5 oz. skeins, then you'll want to calculate 16/3.5 x 2. You would need 9.15 skeins of yarn.

    Here's more info in my previous post about working with handspun yarn. Of course, this is not an exact science. Needle or hook size will vary as well and with handspun yarn it's often better to use bigger hooks or needles than you would with commercial or mill spun yarn. This allows for the natural variances in thickness and twist in the yarn. Try a swatch first and see how it goes. Many spinners will sell sample sizes or have patterns for their yarn, so if you are not sure how much to buy don't be afraid to ask.