Collected wisdoms of the knit-a-square community on yarn weights
These are the collected crochet and knitting results using different yarn weights, knitting needles sizes, crochet hooks and number of stitches to achieve an 8 x 8" square (and a few other wisdoms as well).
armchairinterviews.com writes: The Knitter's Book of Yarn: the ultimate guide to choosing, using, and enjoying yarn collects seven years of knowledge that has led Parkes to be considered by some a "yarn whisperer." Her goal is to help knitters avoid "yarn-related errors" and match the right yarn to the right project, "to hold a skein in our hands, look at it, touch it, listen to it, even smell it, and instinctively know what the yarn wants to become." Savvy knitters will reach for The Knitter's Book of Yarn before their next yarn purchase.
Yarns by weight and fibreJoann.com is a huge online store which sells a great range of yarns at good prices by both fibre and weight. There is also a clearance section - good to have a look for cheap yarn.Click anywhere in this box.
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CATLADY88: I've been doubling up about a 3-ply wool yarn from China and knitting about 28 stitches per row on size 6 mm needles. It feels really warm and thick.
DORCHAS22: No 4 worsted weight wool, with size US 7 (4.5 mm) knitting needles. The sport weight or British DK weight is a bit too thin but you can switch to crocheting a thick stitch like a half-double crochet, which bulks it up. Garter stitch knitting isn't thick enough in sport weight, unless you double the strands.
BUGLADY132: I’m using 4ply worsted weight yarn and size 10 knitting needles (6 mm). I cast on 32 stitches and knit 64 rows and I get an 8 x 8 square
KYLA: I’m using size 5 needles (Canada, UK, 5.5 mm, 9 USA) and worsted weight yarn, which is the same as category 4, afghan
DONNA: I have made one square for the blanket (size 10 needles USA, 6 mm, 4 UK, Canada )and I used a category 4 yarn (as described above) and only casted on 29 stitiches, then measured from corner to corner (like the picture on the webiste to make a square and measured again and it was an 8 X 8 square. I would say what ever yarn you use just measure it until it gets to 8 X 8 inch size.
I've have thought about cutting out an 8 x 8 piece of cardboard and measuring my square by putting it on that piece of cardboard (no matter how many stitiches or what size yarn you use).
MARIAN: I've tried various needle sizes, number of stitches and yarn weights to knit the 8 x 8" square and finally settled on the size 10 needles recommended but it requires 4 extra stitches when using 4 Medium weight merino wool yarn.
RACHEL: I've been using either 2 strands of sport weight, one strand of worsted weight, or one strand of sport weight with one strand of a thinner worsted weight. I have some Caron Simply Soft (I've been using up my odds and ends of acrylic), and, even though it's worsted weight, it seems a little thinner to me so I'm going to use 2 strands of that together too. I think, as long as it is 8" square, it really can't be too bulky or thick.
RACHEL R: I used Aran and got 32stitchs on 6mm needles gave 8”. Aran is 10ply and would normally give 18 stitches to 4” on 4.5-5.5mm needles so going up to 6mm needles gave few stitches per inch so it came out right.
RHONDA H: I’m using knitting worsted weight (US), and so far, so good. It’s a good weight for an afghan; doubled or Aran weight is warm but can be almost too heavy depending on the stitch.
LIZ: I used double knit - size 4 mm (8) needles. Cast on 44 stitches - garter stitch for 76 rows. Cast off. This made an eight inch square.
RCo7: For knitters in the UK, if they wish to use the basic instructions for a square, casting on 32 stitches on 6mm needles, use an Aran or a Chunky that is only just a Chunky. If a UK knitter wishes to use DK weight yarn according to the same instructions, then knitting with two strands at once should do it.
JEANNE: I generally use Red Heart Acrylic Worsted Weight yarn, as that is what Walmart carries but I find it works up thicker than everyone else's seem to. I perpetually have to use smaller hooks and less stitches than specified to get an 8 inch square.
JEANNE AGAIN: I generally use Red Heart Acrylic Worsted Weight yarn, as that is what Walmart carries and it's what I can afford but I find it works up thicker than everyone else's seem to. I perpetually have to use smaller hooks and less stitches than specified to get an 8 inch square. It isn't just my tension.
MARY: Just wanted to say that in order to make a square as close to 8 inches as possible, if you are crocheting, I find it easier to make a granny-type square, working around in circles, rather than back and forth. You just work the square until you hit 8 inches, then you stop.
LINDA: It doesn't really matter what size your yarn is, what matters is getting a nice dense square that is the right size. Once you have knitted a swatch, have your gauge and like the thickness of it, then use this helper:
Stitches per inch # of stitches to cast on3 243.5 284 324.5 365 406 48
If your swatch is too light weight, go to a smaller needle. I recommend using one needle size smaller than the recommended needle size on the yarn packaging to make it a little warmer.
CAROLINE: After experimenting with my tension I found that I could get exactly 8 inches (20cm) across if I cast on 36 stitches with 8 ply (double knitting) wool and size 4.00mm (UK 8) needles.
CAROLINE AGAIN: The following arechart printed in 'The Really Useful Little Reference Guide' printed by the British magazine 'Simply Knitting'
Choose the right yarns to knit with.
1, 2 & 3 ply. Knit on 2-3.5mm needles. Use for delicate lace knitting and baby garments. Good for socks and gloves.
4 ply. Knit on 3-4mm needles. Great for more substantial baby clothes, heavier socks and lightweight tops.
Double knitting (DK). Knit on 3.5-4.5mm needles. Usually double the weight of 4 ply; this is the most widely used weight of yarn. Suitable for most garments and quick to knit up.
Aran. Knit on 4-5.5mm needles. Originally created for fishermen's jumpers. Use when DK isn't heavy enough yet chunky is too bulky. Perfect for outdoor or warm clothing.
Chunky. Knit on 5.5-7mm needles. Associated with outdoor wear and winter jumpers, chunky is great for oversized garments.
Super chunky. Knit on 7-12mm needles. A great weight for beginners as it produces quick results. Good for furnishings.
Big. Knit on 9-20mm needles. Super-sized yarn perfect for eye-catching scarves and coats, as well as cosy cushions and throws.
SABRINA: I have found the easiest way to ensure I get an 8" x 8" square is to create a template I can use reuse so that all of my squares are exactly the same size regardless of yarn weight or gauge of needle or hook.
MIRA: Medium worsted is the most commonly used yarn in the US, and the label generally recommends a size 7 or 8 needle, (4.5 - 5 mm, 7, 6 UK/Canada) which takes 18 or 17 stitches to make 4" (36 stitches for 8" on a size 7 needle, or 34 on a size 8). You could use medium wieght yarn on a size 10 needle (6 mm), but it would be a bit loose. Bulky weight yarns (category 5) usually recommend a size 9, 10, or 11 needle. I have used a size 10 needle with bulky yarn and 32 stitches to make an 8" square. I have also used a size 8 needle and 34 stitches to make an 8" square with medium (worsted) weight yarn.
FROM ALBUQUERQUE NM: I began knitting in 1962. Over the years, I noticed that the weights of yarn have been consistantly decreasing. Knitting worsted weight (commonly referred to in California as 4-ply yarn), is now about 75% of the thickness as it was 20 or 30 years ago. In order to achieve the same thickness as used to be obtained with a USA #8 needle, now requires a USA #6 or #7 needle.
KYLA: here's a tip - some yarns are just going to be warmer than others - take a finished square, put it on your leg and see how long it takes to warm up and how warm it gets. I have sat in class with a square on each thigh, (with one still on the needles - yes, my professors are starting to wonder what I'm up to) each of a different yarn, trying to figure out which one needs to wait until I can find it a doubling partner and which one is warm enough on its own. Some yarns are warm enough even if they are thin, some of them wont be.
LAST WORD FROM LAURA: Light weight yarn can be doubled up to make a thicker fabric if you like. In my opinion, worsted weight probably works best but it really depends on the tension, stitch type and needle size. People use different tension when they knit or crochet which affects the density of the fabric and the needle size they need to product similar results. Also the stitches listed in the guides on the site are basic stitches. If you’re using these squares to learn new stitches and techniques (something I’m doing with this project), there will not be guidelines for them on the site at the moment. Thickness in my opinion is less important to a certain extent because squares can be sorted and sewn together with similar weights but you don’t want them to be cardboard thick.
For now, I’d see how much light passes through your square and use this as your guide. Less holes/light mean less air gets through and it better contains the body heat.