Best Types of Fingering Weight Yarns for your Projects

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Best Types of Fingering Weight Yarns for your Projects

What is Fingering Weight Yarn?

Fingering weight yarn is a smaller diameter yarn that usually has 400–450 yards per 100 grams. Alternatively called “Sock Yarn” this is the most common weight used for making socks because of its light weight creating a fine texture"

Fingering Yarn usually contain a small percentage of nylon or silk for strength in high stress areas like heels and toes.

Knitted on larger needles (4, 5, or 6), another use for fingering weight yarn is finer gauged sweaters and hats. This weight is also found in many shawls and lace work items. Fingering Yarn is more substantial than lace weight and offers more warmth. Many baby items use fingering as well because of the finer texture and less bulk.

Choosing the wrong yarn for your project can be a heartbreaker. We've all done it, make a beautify garment and find out that it's not durable or pills like crazy. This is a guide to help take the mystery out of choosing yarn for your next project.

If you are new to the knitting world, you might already have realized how challenging it can be to select a particular type of yarn for your project. So you know already know you need fingering weight thickness... what other factors do we need to consider?

What are the different types of Yarn Weight?

The various types of yarn weights are suited for different purposes. For instance, fingering weight yarn is ideal for making baby items while the fine yarn is also suited for socks and colorwork sweaters, among other accessories. Let us take a look at some of the types of yarn weights available on the market.

Fingering Weight Yarn

1. Lace weight yarn

Being the lightest of all, this fine yarn is perfect for making delicate knits like shawls.  You can also make airy scarves and soft, open, sweaters with lace weight yarn.

Lace shawl pattern

2. Super Fine weight yarn

This weight 1 yarn is called fingering weight. It's typically found in yarn to make socks. Ideally, your sock yarn will be a wool and nylon blend.  Fingering weight yarn is also perfect for doing colorwork projects and can often be found in a rainbow of colors in smaller sized skeins or balls.

3. Fine weight yarn

Also called sport weight yarn, this material is highly suited for baby clothes like fingering weight yarn. Designers usually prefer working with weight 2 yarns since it is faster to work with.

 

knitted bunny kit

Sport weight yarn works faster, is lightweight, much like fingering weight yarn.  Since designers like working with this fabric, you will find plenty of sport weight yarn brands in the market.

4. Lightweight yarn

This is weight 3 yarn often referenced as light-worsted and DK weight yarn in yarn stores.

Madelinetosh DK

DK weight yarn, meaning double knit, is one of the most versatile weight yarns. The fabric is not light like fingering weight yarn and not excessively bulky either. Thus, it falls right in the middle of the spectrum.

5. Medium 

This weight 4 yarn includes worsted weight yarn and Aran weight yarn. A lot of beginners use worsted weight yarn for their initial projects. 

Tosh Vintage

Aran weight yarn is similar to worsted weight yarn but a tad bit heavier. Shop Now.

6. Bulky weight yarn

Bulky yarn is also often called chunky. It is a sturdy piece of fabric that is mostly used for making warm and cozy sweaters, scarves, and hats. Shop Bulky Weight Yarn.

Blue Sky Techno Wrap

7. Super Bulky weight yarn

If fingering weight yarn is on one end of the spectrum, super bulky is the opposite end. It is a very thick yarn. Working with super bulky yarn can be a bit problematic for beginners. You'll find that garments made from the fabric are nice and warm. Shop Super Bulky Weight Yarn.

Malabrigo Rasta

8. Jumbo weight yarn

Not many people know about this yarn type. It is popular among arm knitters. Anything heavier than super bulky weight yarn falls in this category. You will find plenty of variations in width. Therefore, check the yarn sizes before making your purchase.

Jumbo Yarn

Yarn type weights

It can be a bit tricky to differentiate between different types of yarn. This is where weight assumes significant importance. The weight of the yarn is closely related to its thickness. A pattern for fingering weight yarn will not work well with bulky yarn. Therefore, understanding the weight yarns is integral if you do not want your knitting project to suffer.

Things do not get any easier when you find that the method of labeling yarn weights differs in various countries like the UK and the US.

The weight of the yarn is significant in determining how your project will turn out. Yarn weight basically refers to the thickness of a particular yarn. One of the most commonly used knitting yarns is fingering weight yarn, also called 4 ply in the UK.

Take a look at the table below to acquire a better understanding of the weights of different types of knitting yarn.

Yarn Weight Table

 Type of Yarn Weight
Lace Weight Yarn 0
Super Fine Weight Yarn 1
Fine Weight Yarn 2
DK Weight Yarn 3
Worsted Weight Yarn 4
Bulky Yarn 5
Super Bulky Weight Yarn 6
Jumbo Weight Yarn 7


How to Work with Weight Yarn Types

Working with various types of weight yarns can be challenging if you do not know the right way. For instance, the needle used to knit fingering weight yarn cannot be expected to work on DK weight yarn. Similarly, you cannot use Jumbo weight yarn to make baby garments since the fabric cannot be considered an alternative to fingering weight yarn.

Therefore, before you commence any knitting projects, you need a better understanding of the yarn types. Let us give you a few examples.

The lace weight yarn, which is nearly equivalent to 1 ply, is lightest and is mostly used to make lace designs. One needs to handle it with care to avoid breakage. This is why fingering weight yarn is preferred for baby clothes. Its soft texture makes it ideal for baby skin.

Baby Knit

Fine, superfine, and lightweight yarns are equivalent to two to five-ply. Thus, they are used for making small items, including gloves and hats. They should be cast on and off loosely. Fine yarn is also referred to as sport weight yarn due to its texture. Unlike fingering weight yarn, they are a bit heavy and yet can be used for making garments for babies and children.

The medium weight yarn comprises eight to ten ply and makes for great stitch in sweaters, hats, mittens, and scarves. Aran weight yarn further increases the warmth of the fiber.

Bulky and super bulky weight yarn with 12 to 14 ply is mostly used for fast projects. Big needles are required to work with them. Unlike fingering weight yarn, they are quite rough and therefore, can be used to make throws and blankets.  This Infographic from Allfreeknitting should give you a clear idea of how you should be using various weight yarns. Download the chart

Yarn Weight Chart Legend

Differences among the types

The differences in the various types of weight yarns lie in the number of plies, their texture, and the needle used to knit them.

For instance, fingering weight yarn is the lightest of all and should be knit with a small needle of not more than 2.25mm. However, with super bulky weight yarn, a big needle of at least 8mm has to be used.

knitting needle gauge

Furthermore, the classification of yarn varies in different countries. While you might find fingering weight yarn easily, the same cannot be said about Aran weight yarn. This is because Aran weight yarn is considered equivalent to worsted weight yarn in the UK. In the US, these yarns are a bit heavier than worsted weight yarn.

Therefore, if you are making your purchase via online yarn stores, ensure that you select the right size. It won't do you any good if you end up buying sport weight cotton yarn instead of fingering weight yarn due to some confusion.

Similarities among the types

The best thing about yarn weights is that you can customize your projects. Perhaps the cotton yarn crochet patterns you have in mind require a particular yarn. Yet you prefer working with other yarn brands or colors.

You can substitute this with another yarn type having the same weight. The look of the knitting project can also be changed depending on the yarn weight you use. The only thing you have to do is ensure that a gauge swatch is created. You can then see how the stitches would look.

Whether it is fingering weight yarn or a light one, you need to make sure that the right needle is used to make sure that your project turns out the way that you expect.

Yarn Material and Climate Considerations

If you live in California or another hot and sunny part of the world you're going to want to use cotton and plant blend yarns that have breathability and wear cooler. 

If you live up north and will be wearing the garment in cold or rainy weather wool is your friend. There are many types of wools available, Merino being the softest wool. Alpaca, Angor and Cashmere are also great for cold weather. 

Yarn Construction and Durability

For certain types of garments like socks or fisherman's sweaters you'll want a durable yarn. Fiber type is a consideration for sure but yarn construction is huge. Yarn get's it's strength from being spun or twisted. From there additional strength can be developed by twisting or braiding multiple strands of spun yarn together. 

Take a look at any of the popular merino multi-ply yarns and you'll see a great example of the twist and ply. Tighter spun yarn tends to pill less and wear better while the looser spun single ply can pill quite a bit.

If you want durability for say a sock project, look for a multi ply, fingering weight yarn that is tightly spun for best results and longevity.

Here are some examples of the best fingering weight yarns for your specific projects

An all around great fingering weight yarn is Madelinetosh Tosh Merino Light.  This gorgeous superwash merino yarn is hand dyed in stunning solid, semi solid, and variegated shades.  We don't usually recommend it for socks because it's a single ply yarn that doesn't have any nylon in it, so it won't wear quite as well. It's our go to pick for many other projects that require a fingering weight yarn. It's ideal for shawls, scarves, fine gauge sweaters, hats, and more. 

 

Baa Ram Ewe Pip Colourwork is a fabulous yarn for, you guessed it, colorwork! This classic fingering weight yarn is made from 100% British wool.  This yarn comes in a handy 25 gram size so knitting with multiple colors won't leave you with a bunch of leftovers. 

 

Baa Ram Ewe Pip Colourwork

 

 

The Fibre Company Amble is a great choice if you're look for a fingering weight sock yarn! It's a blend of wool, alpaca, and nylon. It's a multi ply construction which adds durability to help make your socks last.

The Fibre Company Amble Yarn

 

If you need a wool free fingering yarn you'll want to check out Hikoo CoBaSi!  It's a blend of cotton, bamboo, silk, and nylon so it's great for warm weather garments. The bamboo and silk add tons of strength to this multiply yarn which makes is versatile for warm weather socks and also great for knitters and recipients, that are sensitive to wool or have wool allergies.

 

Hikoo Cobasi Yarn

 

For a beautiful hand dyed sock yarn you can't go wrong with Malabrigo Sock!  This fingering weight yarn is smoothly plied for strength and made out of 100% superwash merino. This is a soft and strong yarn you'll love to knit with. It's available in a range of semi-solid and watercolor multi colorways. Don't limit yourself to just socks though! This versatile yarn is also great in shawls, scarves, sweaters, and more!

Malabrigo Sock Yarn

  

Fingering weight yarn is suitable for baby garments and is usually soft and drapey due to its weight. It is usually knitted on 3 to 4mm needle sizes and is one of the coziest and lightest fabrics. If you want your knitting project to turn out as you had envisioned, you need to ensure you get the right yarn sizes.

knit baby sweater

Conclusion: Which is better?

This is a tricky question. This wholly depends on your project. As mentioned above there are a ton of considerations. Luckily fingering is a super popular weight and there are tons of yarn construction styles made from all kinds of materials from soft warm wools to sturdy cotton, tencel and other plant based blends. If there's a specific yarn recommended in the pattern your using that's a great benchmark when making a substitution when trying to match the requirements of your next knitting project. You can also just ask your local knitting shop, they're happy to help :)

rowan knitted wrap

Make sure the yarn you choose is top-notch. There is no harm in buying yarn on sale. However, make sure that it is not cheap yarn, which would compromise the look and feel of your project. If you're going to take the time to knit it, use high quality yarn, you'll be glad you did.

 

Shop for Yarn on FilloryYarn.com

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