Yarn: "3 ply or Baby Yarn"

Is there a difference between 3 ply and baby yarn? Is it two descriptions of the same weight or does it vary and I need to check the label? :eyebrow2:

I’ve been wanting to try hats and my church collects knitted hats for the local hospital. I picked up the pattern sheet for the newborn hats; it says “with 3 ply or baby yarn” at the beginning, and then later, “If using 4 ply yarn…”

My plan was to pick up a skein or two of baby yarn and assume that it would be appropriate for these hats. However, I don’t know anything about baby yarn – including whether 3 ply or 4 ply is standard. :shrug:


While I have your attention (;)) I could also use recommendations for brands of baby yarn (or 3 ply :lol:) to check out – I have Michael’s, Hobby Lobby and JoAnn’s all available locally to me and I would like to go to one of them for the yarn. (I’m mentioning the stores since I know that some have exclusive brands and varieties. Michael’s is the most convenient for me but Hobby Lobby seems to have a larger yarn selection.)


In some parts of the world, ply is used to denote thickness. See http://yarnforward.com/tension.html for the gauges. In the US it would be equivalent to fingering weight, 4 ply would be about sport weight. Baby yarn is usually fingering or sport weight. So try to find a yarn that’s got about the same gauge on the label and then knit it up in the pattern. Hobby Lobby’s Baby Delight or I Love This Yarn sport should work very well, and there’s some RH, Bernat and maybe Lion baby yarns. Depends on what sort of colors you want.

Thanks, Sue!

There is no gauge on the pattern (it is very informal); however, the site you linked does give me a better idea of what to look for! (I’m sure I’ll know more once I’ve finished my first hat. :))

The main thing is that I really don’t know how big the hat is supposed to be – it just says “With [U]3 ply or baby yarn[/U]” and “Use a size 5 or 6 of an [U]11” circular needle[/U] OR 4 short double-pointed needles, size 5 or 6". (I’m going to either 2 circ or ML it, leaning 2 circ.) There is a sample hat on the board at church; I suppose I could take my ruler and measure it and get the gauge that way. :eyebrow2:

I’m guessing that whoever wrote the pattern is an experienced knitter whose designs are based on what she has been doing. I’ll bet she was reluctant to put it down on paper since it’s just something she makes up as she goes along! :thumbsup:

(And I probably shouldn’t assume that the knitter is a “she”, but I’ll pretty sure “she” is! :))

I only hope I get to a point where I can eyeball things and know what’s what without getting hung up on what things are called before I can buy what I need! :knitting:

With size 5 or 6 needles, you’d want at least a sport weight or a DK weight yarn, labeled a type 3 yarn weight; a thinner one might be too loose and open. Another way to figure it, is to take the number of sts in the pattern and divide by sts/inch to see how big around it is. Baby hats are usually 15-16", though some babies have larger heads.