So here's my quick and hopefully easy guide to different yarn weights and the needle sizes to use (the size you choose will depend on the outcome of your knitted test square):
- Lace weight/feather weight - the thinnest yarn, used for shawls and very delicate items. Check the pattern for the needle size.
- 2 ply - a thin yarn not often used in modern patterns. Knit with 1.5 - 2.5 needles.
- 4 ply - also known as fingering weight and sport weight. Used for more delicate knits with 2 - 3mm needles. Great for socks - you may see this yarn marketed as sock yarn.
- DK (double knitting) - This is a common yarn weight in the UK and is usually knitted with 4 or 4.5mm needles. It is known in some other countries as 8 ply.
- Worsted and aran - these are heavier than DK but not as thick as chunky. Worsted may also refer to the way the wool is processed. usually knitted with 4.5 - 5.5mm needles.
- Chunky - 12 to 16 ply, great for knitted garments and accessories speedily. Use with 5.5 - 8mm needles.
- Super chunky - for very big knits! Requires a needle size larger than 8mm.
I've treated myself to some killer flamingo yarn from Rainbow Heirloom, custom dyed in the UK by Emily Wessel. It is a pinky/orange yarn I spotted at Yarndale, but didn't buy. It has been on my mind ever since and I'm looking forward to knitting a hat and cowl with it when my three skeins arrive.