Yarn Question - thicknesses

Hi everyone, I’ve enjoyed reading the posts here for the last couple of weeks and finally decided to register. I used to crochet and knit years ago and decided recently that I just have to knit again!! I knitted an afghan this week and was just starting another when I realized that the yarn is not as thick as I would have expected, being a bulky yarn.

The afghan I just finished was made with Lion Brand Wool-Ease Thick and Quick - very thick and soft and I loved using it. Now I’m about to start an afghan using Bernat Softee Chunky, which I just received from joann.com. This yarn is not any thicker than some worsted weight that I have had for years. Compared to the Lion Brand Wool-Ease Thick and Quick, it’s downright thin. Is this normal?? I would have expected the Bernat yarn, labeled as bulky to be a little thicker than the worsted weight.

When I used to crochet and knit years ago (1970’s and 80’s) I only used cheap worsted weight acrylic yarn because it was cheap and I could afford it!!! So using different weight yarn is new to me.

Thanks for any thoughts on this!!!


I’m not from US, so i can’t really comment on the particular yarns you’re using, but from what i know and yarns i’ve used - the bulky ans super bulky weights are much more widely interpretated than other weights, so they are all different and you really need to look at the # of sts to the inch that you get than on the weight it’s labeled under. HTH :hug:
And of course - welcome to KH! You’ll find a really great community here.

Hi, and welcome!
Here’s the deal-- anybody can call any yarn anything they want. But that doesn’t mean you’re left guessing. . . There are 2 things to look for on the label. One is a yarn skein with a number in it. The system goes from zero (lace weight) up to 6 (super bulky). The other thing is the guage. They will say, something such as size 10/6mm needles, 15 sts x 20 rows = 4"/10cm. The translation is that over a 4" square, they are expecting you to get 15 sts across and 20 rows up and down, and that they think American size 10, which is 6mm knitting needles will produce that guage. The needle size is the least of your worries-- it’s only recommended and a lot of people use a wide variety of sizes to produce a certain guage, depending on how tightly or loosely they knit. But the actual guage numbers ARE very helpful-- it’s a way of telling if a yarn really is thin or thick.
Here’s the guideline for sts across (rows are less important, as you can make up for that by knitting more or fewer of them in the length of the piece), all to equal 4":
Weight 0 (Lace). Lace weight/cobweb.
Weight 1 (Fingering, Sock, or Super Fine). 27 - 32 sts.
Weight 2 (Sport or Baby). 23 - 26 sts.
Weight 3 (DK or Light Worsted). 21 - 24 sts.
Weight 4 (Worsted or Aran). 16 - 20 sts.
Weight 5 (Bulky). 12 - 15 sts.
Weight 6 (Super Bulky). 6 - 11 sts.

Softee chunky is somewhat thicker than worsted, even the old worsted acrylics which are thicker than today’s worsteds. The Thick and quick is actually super bulky, woolease also has a Chunky version which is similar in size to the softee chunky; both of them falling into the bulky category that brittyknits posted above.

About needle size on the labels - it’s not the recommended size for that yarn, but the size used to get the gauge on the yarn so it will fall into one of the ranges to classify it as 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, or 6. I’ve found a size 10 is too small for a bulky yarn, it knits up very stiff, and is much softer when an 11 is used.

Thanks for the replies!!!

Sue, I went to Michael’s this morning and bought another skein of the Softee Chunky, in a different color, and it was noticeably softer and thicker than the skeins I received from Joann’s. I wonder if color matters?? I’m a little disappointed that the yarn from Joann’s is not the same thickness and softness as what I had felt in the store - it was the reason I ordered it (couldn’t find the color I wanted at Michael’s). I’m thinking that I’m going to have to use a different size needle too - the size 10 is not helping the softness!! Unfortunately, I only have needles size 2 to 10 - so that means another trip to the store for a larger needle!!

I love knitting - but I find myself thinking ahead to what I want to knit instead of concentrating on what is on my needles!!! Right now I’m working on a scarf, an afghan (going to have to rip it out and start over with larger needles though), and slipper socks (in the right yarn!!). It’s so bad that yesterday I didn’t have the right size needles or the right weight yarn, but I made one of the slipper socks anyway. If I was a giant it would have fit!!! So ripping that out as well - I just had to be knitting something!!!

Thanks again!!


Bernat also has a Softee yarn that is worsted, or they used to; I can’t find it anywhere, but I know I saw some at Walmart a couple years ago. Maybe that’s what you got from Joann’s. There’s also a Softee baby that is not chunky, but it’s DK weight. And we’re all thinking ahead to the next project; I have several running around my brain…

:knitting: Welcome back to the Land of Knitting! You’re in good company! :thumbsup: I don’t know of a real knitter yet who hasn’t been in the same boat!

When I’m experimenting with my own patterns, there is a lot of ripping out that I end up doing before I’m happy with it. If I know I’m going to be pulling out the whole thing, or made something larger than it should be, instead of ripping it out, I knit directly from the work. It saves me so much time. I don’t have to tear it apart, wind it, untangle, you get the idea. Hope this is helps as a bit of timesaver for you.
(It doesn’t always work out to do it this way, but it’s great when it does)

Hi Amber - actually, I’m planning on doing the exact same thing - will knit from it instead of ripping it all up!!!

I can’t believe I’m taking a break from knitting to read this forum!!!