Yarn Weights and Categories. A beginner's guide to the weight category of yarns, and their uses.

Yarn Weights & Categories

So, you’ve been hanging around long enough now to have heard some terms and abbreviations bandied about.  One of those terms we talk a lot about is yarn weight.

(for your convenience this post may contain an affiliate link or two)

Yarn Weights and Categories. A beginner's guide to the weight category of yarns, and their uses.

What is Yarn Weight?

Yarn weight, despite what it implies, does not refer to the weight of the ball of yarn.  Also, not to be confused with ply ( the number of strands twisted together to make the yarn) yarn weight refers to the thickness, or the size, of the yarn.  I know, crazy right?

There are basically 6 different weight categories, although some yarn manufacturers have separated them out even further, and with the addition of the now popular giant yarn, I suspect a new official weight category will be added soon.

Yarn Weights & Categories

So about those 6 categories.  From smallest to largest, there are

  • Fingering
  • Sock
  • Sport
  • Worsted
  • Bulky
  • Super Bulky

The finest yarn, fingering weight will feel the softest, whereas worsted may start to feel a bit scratchy.  But then again, yarn has come a long way, and it is now entirely possible to get a worsted weight merino that feels lovely, and even a worsted weight synthetic that would still be super cozy.  But I digress.

Yarn Weights and Categories. A beginner's guide to the weight category of yarns, and their uses.

Best Uses for Yarn Weights

Because of the softness of the fingering and sock weight yarns, it is often the popular choice for baby clothes and socks. Due to the fineness, it is also usually the yarn you would choose when making lace, or airy, delicate shawls and wraps.

Sport and DK (double knit) weight yarns are often the go to choice for kids’ clothes, and spring and summer wear.  You can use this yarn weight also for hats and scarves and sweaters etc, however, most patterns for those items are written with a bigger yarn in mind, such as a worsted weight or larger, and you would really need to mind your gauge.  We’ll save the gauge talk for our next pontification.

Worsted weight yarns are probably the yarns that get the most use.  Good for sweaters, afghans, scarves, mitts, hats, thick socks, kitchen and bath accessories, and many many other projects.  As I mentioned before it is possible to get worsted weight yarns ( both natural and acrylic varieties) that still feel luxurious.

Bulky yarns and Super Bulky yarns are possibly my favourite weight yarns.  Not always the easiest to work with, but they add a certain level of instant gratification to any project, as using them helps the project work up much, much quicker.  Excellent for hats and scarves, and blankets etc.Yarn Weights and Categories. A beginner's guide to the weight category of yarns, and their uses.

Was this helpful?  Check out our Which is Better, Acrylic Yarn or Real Wool? pontification

Get My Book

Love this hat pattern?  Then be sure to get a copy of our book ‘Super Duper Knit Hats for Beginners’

Hand Knit Gingerbread Man Pattern perfect for holiday gift giving and decorating this pattern allows you to whip up gingerbread cookies from your yarn stash!

Hand Knit Gingerbread Man Pattern

Gingerbread Man = one part cute, one part sweet, one part kind, and three parts fun!

(this post contains affiliate links to the materials required for your convenience)

hand-knit-gingerbread-man

Hand Knit Gingerbread Man

This sweet invention is going be just as popular as your Elf on the Shelf – minus the tattling.  Whether he ends up on the tree as a decoration, in the playroom with the other toys, or hanging from the chandelier, this Hand Knit Gingerbread Man is going to be a welcome addition to your home this holiday season.

About the Hand Knit Gingerbread Man Pattern

I have made this pattern beginner friendly by designing the entire project to be worked flat – that means that you need not get intimidated by those double pointed needles.  Becasue a gingerbread man has so many parts ( who knew, right?) the pattern may seem a bit longer than my usual ones.  Hang in there, and just follow along.  It will all turn out.  And this is a stash buster project!

Notes

Rated: Easy +

Materials

Skills Used

·        Cast on
·        Knit
·        Purl
·        M1R ( see the video below)
·        M1L ( see the video below)
·        K2tog
·        Bind Off

M1R

M1R ( Make one right) is an invisible increase that slants to the right.  When adding shape to your projects, for example when you want to add width to your project equally on both sides, you would use this along with the M1L increase.  Using this type of increase also ensures that you won’t have any gaps in your knitting, and this can be important depending on what it is you are making, and of course, your preference.  I created a video tutorial for this stitch, and you can see it here:

 

M1L

M1L ( Make one left) is an invisible increase that slants to, yep you guessed it, the left.  You would use this along with the M1L increase.  Again, Using this type of increase also ensures that you won’t have any gaps in your knitting, and you can see it here:

 

Hand Knit Gingerbread Man Pattern

Neck & Body

Cast on 18 stitches
Row 1: Purl
Row 2: K2, M1R, K1, M1L, K2, M1R, K1, M1L, K5, M1R, K1, M1L, K2, M1R, K1, M1L, K3 ( 26 sts)
Row 3 : Purl
Row 4: K3, M1R, K1, M1L, K4, M1R, K1, M1L, K7, M1R, K1, M1L, K4, M1R, K1, M1L, K4 (34 sts)
Row 5: Purl
Row 6: K4, M1R, K1, M1L, K6, M1R, K1, M1L, K9, M1R, K1, M1L, K6, M1R, K1, M1L, K5 (42 sts)
Row 7: Purl
Row 8: K5, M1R, K1, M1L, K8, M1R, K1, M1L, K11, M1R, K1, M1L, K8, M1R, K1, M1L, K6 (50 sts)
Row 9: Purl

Divide for Arms

Row 10 : K7, Slip next 11 stitches onto stitch holder, K14, Slip next 11 stitches onto another stitch holder, K7 (28 sts)
Row 11: Purl across the remaining 28 stitches now on your needle, being careful to pull the yarn tight where you have made rhe openings for the arms
Row 12 : K6, M1R, K1, M1L,  K14, M1R,  K1, M1L,  K6 ( 32 sts )
Row 13 : Purl
Row 14:  Knit
Row 15 : Purl
Row 16 : Knit
Row 17 : Purl
Row 18 : Knit
Row 19 : Purl

Hand Knit Gingerbread Man Pattern perfect for holiday gift giving and decorating this pattern allows you to whip up gingerbread cookies from your yarn stash!

The arm stitches are on separate stitch holders, and the 16 leg stitches for the first leg have just been knitted, and the work is turned.

Divide for Legs

Row 20 : Knit the first 16 stitches on the needle, and turn your work. You will be leaving the other 16 stitches on the needle and coming back to them later
*Row 21 : Working only on the 16 stitches you just knit  ( one leg ) Purl across
Row 22 : Knit
Row 23 : Purl
Row 24 : Knit
Row 25 : Purl
Row 26 : Knit
Row 27 : Purl
Row 28 : Knit
Row 29 : Purl
Row 30 : Knit
Row 31 : Purl
Row 32 : Knit
Row 33 : Purl
Row 34 : K2tog ( 8 times ) ( 8 sts )
Row 35 : Purl
Row 36 : K2tog ( 4 times ) ( 4 sts)

Hand Knit Gingerbread Man Pattern perfect for holiday gift giving and decorating this pattern allows you to whip up gingerbread cookies from your yarn stash!

One leg has been completed, and seam has been sewn – I have the one leg turn inside out in this image, but I would totally sew the seam with the fabric right side out. It won’t make a huge difference in the finished product, and it may just feel easier.

Cut yarn, leaving about 8 “, thread darning needle, and pull the darning needle through the last 4 stitches on the needle, remove them from the knitting needle, Pull tight, and sew up one leg seam.*

Rejoin yarn to the 16 stitches you set aside for the other leg, and work from * to * for the other leg.

Arms

**Slip 11 stitches from one of the stitch holders, and rejoin yarn, and work as follows
Row 1 : Knit
Row 2 : Purl
Row 3 : Knit
Row 4 : Purl
Row 5 : Knit
Row 6 : Purl
Row 7 : Knit
Row 8 : Purl
Row 9 : Knit
Row 10 : Purl
Row 11 : K2tog (5 times), K1 ( 6 sts )
Row 12 : Purl
Row 13 : K2tog (3 times) ( 3 sts )

Hand Knit Gingerbread Man Pattern perfect for holiday gift giving and decorating this pattern allows you to whip up gingerbread cookies from your yarn stash!

One arm has been completed, and the stitches from the last stitch holder have been slipped onto a knitting needle, the yarn is joined again, and the arm is ready to be worked

Cut yarn, leaving about 8 “, thread darning needle, and pull the darning needle through the last 3 stitches on the needle, remove them from the knitting needle, Pull tight, and sew up one leg seam.**

Repeat from ** to ** for the other arm.

Head

Pick up 18 stitches along the cast on edge from the neck ( where you started ) I’ve got a handy little video on Instagram for it – just click over to have a look, and come back when you’re ready.

Row 1 : Purl
Row 2 : K4, M1R, K1, M1L, K8, M1R, K1, M1L, K4 (22 sts)
Row 3 : Purl
Row 4 : K5, M1R, K1, M1L, K10, M1R, K1, M1L, K5 (26 sts)
Row 5 : Purl
Row 6 : K6, M1R, K1, M1L, K12, M1R, K1, M1L, K6 (30 sts)
Row 7 : Purl
Row 8 : Knit
Row 9 : Purl
Row 10 : Knit
Row 11 : Purl
Row 12 : K4, K2tog, K1, K2tog, K12, K2tog, K1, K2tog, K4 (26 sts)
Row 13 : Purl
Row 14 : K3, K2tog, K1, K2tog, K10, K2tog, K1, K2tog, K3 (22 sts)
Row 15 : Purl
Row 16 : K2, K2tog, K1, K2tog, K8, K2tog, K1, K2tog, K2 (18 sts)
Row 17 : Purl
Row 18 : K1, K2tog, K1, K2tog, K6, K2tog, K1, K2tog, K1 (14 sts)
Row 19 : P2tog across (7 sts)
Row 20 : K2tog, K3, K2tog ( 5 sts)

Cut yarn, leaving about 12 “, thread darning needle, and pull the darning needle through the last 5 stitches on the needle, remove them from the knitting needle, Pull tight, and sew up seam, stuffing the gingerbread man as you go.

Hand Knit Gingerbread Man Pattern perfect for holiday gift giving and decorating this pattern allows you to whip up gingerbread cookies from your yarn stash!

Add embellishments as desired.

Hand Knit Gingerbread Man Pattern perfect for holiday gift giving and decorating this pattern allows you to whip up gingerbread cookies from your yarn stash!

More Cookie Fun

Cocoa & Cookies DIY Gift with Free Printable Envelopes – by Sunny Day Family

Macarons Coloring Page for Adults – by Moms & Crafters

Ornament Cookies – by Craftulate

Cookies & Bookies – by Growing Book by Book

Eggnog Sugar Cookies with Bourbon Cream – by Playground Parkbench

Poinsettia Spritz Cookies – by Arts & Crackers

Stained Glass Window Cookies – by Life is A Cabernet

Get My Book

Love this kniting pattern?  Then be sure to get a copy of our book ‘Super Duper Knit Hats for Beginners’ and check out all of our patterns in our Etsy Shop

natural wool vs acrylic yarn. The pros and cons and when to use acrylic yarn instead of natural wool

Which is Better, Acrylic Yarn or Real Wool?

The answer is pretty obvious – natural fibers are going to always be better than synthetic ones, right? Of course.  Before we write off acrylic yarn completely though, let’s talk about the pros vs. cons.

natural wool vs acrylic yarn. The pros and cons and when to use acrylic yarn instead of natural wool

Natural Wool

Natural wool fibers can not be dismissed.  This stuff has been keeping multitudes of animals and people warm and dry for eons.  If you’re looking to knit some hard core work clothes, 100% natural wool is definitely your better option.  It can and will likely last a very long time, and stand up to the elements.  As long as wool bearing animal farms keep producing healthy stock, it is a renewable resource.  Also, the wool market has grown to include more than just sheep.  Wool producers have turned to alpacas, goats and rabbits as well as yaks.  Now really, what could be cooler than a yak farm?

natural wool vs acrylic yarn. The pros and cons and when to use acrylic yarn instead of natural wool

Be aware however, that it does not wash easily, and is quite expensive.  Depending on the wool itself, it may not feel so great next to your skin.

Acrylic Yarn

Acrylic yarns come in all varieties of textures, weights, colours – I have yet to meet a yarn I don’t love. They are 100% washable, dryable and wearable, and that makes them more than ideal for children’s clothes, hats, mittens, socks and anything else you need to wash often, without having to rely on washing by hand.  Don’t get me wrong, washing the laundry by hand is totally something I want to spend my time doing. Ok, so not really. Acrylic yarns are more affordable than real wool, and can be manufactured to be soft enough to be against the most sensitive skin.

natural wool vs acrylic yarn. The pros and cons and when to use acrylic yarn instead of natural wool

So acrylic yarns get a bad rap because, they’re well, synthetic. And wool is frowned upon for being unwashable. Consider though that acrylic yarns can now be manufactured using recycled synthetics, which is a win all around, and natural fibers can be treated to make them washable. Another win.

natural wool vs acrylic yarn. The pros and cons and when to use acrylic yarn instead of natural wool

Get My Book

Be sure to get a copy of our book ‘Super Duper Knit Hats for Beginners’ and check out all of our patterns in our Etsy Shop and mark us as favourite 

Super Duper Knit Hats for Beginners ebook Collection of 6 super fun super easy knit hat patterns for beginners and professionals