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Worsted weight yarn listed on a yarn label?
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Dec 5, 2018 01:22:22   #
ChocPieMom
 
As a beginning knitting teacher I have a lot of patience. But I wonder....Are there yarn brands that use the words "worsted weight yarn" on their label? I got this frequently asked question again tonight from a new knitter. I am frustrated with pattern designers who put these words in their patterns and teachers who put these words on the supplies list for their beginning knitting/crochet class. Project Knitwell has these words in their Learn to Knit booklet and no other explanation. Ravelry uses these words on their pattern pages with no other explanation. We are not being fair to new knitters using the lingo without explanation. When have you seen an explanation of worsted weight yarn in a Pattern Key? I will get off my soap box now.
 
Dec 5, 2018 01:56:29   #
ChasingRainbows (a regular here)
 
Use this dilemma as a teaching opportunity. Teach you students to use the internet and its many knitting websites for information. Google worsted weight yarn, Google yarn weights. Find knitting reference tables. Either print them out or show your students how to do their own searching. You'll be doing them a great favor by showing them how to find sites that have answers they're looking for - instead of having to ask other people, they'll become self-sufficient in finding their own answers.

Tell them to go to sites like CraftYarnCouncil.com and find the Standards and Guidelines. There is a wealth of information there, including a chart showing the Standard Yarn Weight System.

https://www.craftyarncouncil.com/standards/yarn-weight-system

As you can see from the above chart, worsted weight is #4 - Medium. But worsted is not the only #4 weight yarn. Regardless of whether the yarn is labeled worsted or #4, it's the knitter's gauge that is important. That can be adjusted by using larger or smaller needles.

Sites like Ravelry have designers from many countries, and many patterns are written or published in other countries. You could also show them the difference between UK and US needle sizes, in case they come across a pattern they like that's published in the UK, Canada, Australia, etc.

https://www.deramores.com/pages/knitting-needle-conversion-chart
Dec 5, 2018 04:37:08   #
patnxtdr
 
This is a common problem, and causes great confusion amongst the fibre artists.

There is no such thing as "worsted weight" yarns, although it is commonly used, and you may have an understanding of what meaning YOU give to that term. But there is no legal definition for those words.

"Worsted" is a term used in spinning, and it has a specific meaning. It only means that the fibres are all aligned to make spinning easier. Usually, it is combed as well, so the shorter pieces are removed, and you get the longer fibres. This makes for a smoother even yarn. It is also more compact, and heavier than 'woolen' spun yarns, and not as warm (less insulating factor). Think of 'worsted' fabric for men's suiting, as opposed to 'woolen' spun yarns for suits, which are rougher (less shine), and may itch (but less expensive).

Unfortunately, someone started calling a particular yarn "worsted weight" referring to a specific size, and it stuck. But since then, the weights of the yarn have changed, up and down, and now that word means whatever YOU want to make it! My worsted is not your worsted! This is where the problem starts.

There is a standard used by spinners for sizes of yarns, and it is very accurate and exact. But knitters still haven't gotten into the flow and will still use their own terms for something they assign to it. So each of us will have a different understanding of what a particular term means. Confused yet?

I remember receiving a yarn from Australia, which said it was 8-ply on the label. It clearly didn't look like an 8 ply yarn, and when it untwisted a bit, I could only count 5 strands. There was no way possible I mis-counted... and finally realized they were not talking about the number of strands, but they arbitrarily assigned the term "8-ply" to this particular thickness of yarn, without it meaning anything at all! So what is on the label needs to be translated into proper English so you know what it means.

When a pattern says "worsted weight" yarns to be used, that means use what you have, it doesn't matter, and use an appropriate needle size to get the gauge YOU need, and all will be well. It can be confusing, and results uncertain. I notice some patterns will actually have a picture of the yarn in actual size, and that helps to find something similar. Words can have different meanings to different people. Isn't that what causes friction between husbands and wives?
Dec 5, 2018 04:55:43   #
JennyG12 (a regular here)
 
ChocPieMom wrote:
As a beginning knitting teacher I have a lot of patience. But I wonder....Are there yarn brands that use the words "worsted weight yarn" on their label? I got this frequently asked question again tonight from a new knitter. I am frustrated with pattern designers who put these words in their patterns and teachers who put these words on the supplies list for their beginning knitting/crochet class. Project Knitwell has these words in their Learn to Knit booklet and no other explanation. Ravelry uses these words on their pattern pages with no other explanation. We are not being fair to new knitters using the lingo without explanation. When have you seen an explanation of worsted weight yarn in a Pattern Key? I will get off my soap box now.
As a beginning knitting teacher I have a lot of pa... (show quote)


ChasingRainbows wrote:
Use this dilemma as a teaching opportunity. Teach you students to use the internet and its many knitting websites for information. Google worsted weight yarn, Google yarn weights. Find knitting reference tables. Either print them out or show your students how to do their own searching. You'll be doing them a great favor by showing them how to find sites that have answers they're looking for - instead of having to ask other people, they'll become self-sufficient in finding their own answers.

Tell them to go to sites like CraftYarnCouncil.com and find the Standards and Guidelines. There is a wealth of information there, including a chart showing the Standard Yarn Weight System.

https://www.craftyarncouncil.com/standards/yarn-weight-system

As you can see from the above chart, worsted weight is #4 - Medium. But worsted is not the only #4 weight yarn. Regardless of whether the yarn is labeled worsted or #4, it's the knitter's gauge that is important. That can be adjusted by using larger or smaller needles.

Sites like Ravelry have designers from many countries, and many patterns are written or published in other countries. You could also show them the difference between UK and US needle sizes, in case they come across a pattern they like that's published in the UK, Canada, Australia, etc.

https://www.deramores.com/pages/knitting-needle-conversion-chart
Use this dilemma as a teaching opportunity. Teach... (show quote)


ChasingRainbows is correct, craft yarn council is an excellent source of information.
The yarn industry started using those terms on their own labels. Crafty yarn council gathered all of the information from many different manufacturers and created the guideline that is available on their site.


The term Worsted Weight can be classed as #3 light worsted or #4 medium worsted. A person would have to review other information in the pattern like the needle size for gauge that will give a large hint as to what class it is, #3 or #4.


It is all a part of the crafting learning process.

When looking at patterns listed on Ravelry, their database has autofilled the terms for the yarns when designers enter their patterns into the database.
When it shows worsted weight or aran weight or DK weight, it is the weight class that the manufacturer has classified their brand lines as being.

As a side note to the OP. As a knitting instructor, you may even want to touch on the wraps per inch way of determining the weight class.
Dec 5, 2018 05:02:44   #
JennyG12 (a regular here)
 
patnxtdr wrote:
This is a common problem, and causes great confusion amongst the fibre artists.

There is no such thing as "worsted weight" yarns, although it is commonly used, and you may have an understanding of what meaning YOU give to that term. But there is no legal definition for those words.

"Worsted" is a term used in spinning, and it has a specific meaning. It only means that the fibres are all aligned to make spinning easier. Usually, it is combed as well, so the shorter pieces are removed, and you get the longer fibres. This makes for a smoother even yarn. It is also more compact, and heavier than 'woolen' spun yarns, and not as warm (less insulating factor). Think of 'worsted' fabric for men's suiting, as opposed to 'woolen' spun yarns for suits, which are rougher (less shine), and may itch (but less expensive).

Unfortunately, someone started calling a particular yarn "worsted weight" referring to a specific size, and it stuck. But since then, the weights of the yarn have changed, up and down, and now that word means whatever YOU want to make it! My worsted is not your worsted! This is where the problem starts.

There is a standard used by spinners for sizes of yarns, and it is very accurate and exact. But knitters still haven't gotten into the flow and will still use their own terms for something they assign to it. So each of us will have a different understanding of what a particular term means. Confused yet?

I remember receiving a yarn from Australia, which said it was 8-ply on the label. It clearly didn't look like an 8 ply yarn, and when it untwisted a bit, I could only count 5 strands. There was no way possible I mis-counted... and finally realized they were not talking about the number of strands, but they arbitrarily assigned the term "8-ply" to this particular thickness of yarn, without it meaning anything at all! So what is on the label needs to be translated into proper English so you know what it means.

When a pattern says "worsted weight" yarns to be used, that means use what you have, it doesn't matter, and use an appropriate needle size to get the gauge YOU need, and all will be well. It can be confusing, and results uncertain. I notice some patterns will actually have a picture of the yarn in actual size, and that helps to find something similar. Words can have different meanings to different people. Isn't that what causes friction between husbands and wives?
This is a common problem, and causes great confusi... (show quote)


So much wrong information.
Dec 5, 2018 05:50:07   #
aprilla
 
I never heard of worsted (as a yarn weight) until I started reading on d'internet. But then I also found our DK and Aran weights weren't common elsewhere. Teach them to be flexible, to translate. Gauge is their best friend and learning to select yarn with a good possibility of getting the gauge they are aiming for will serve them well.
The world of fibre is a big place now we can shop anywhere and all sorts of names are used to describe yarns. And fibre difference can make yarns behave different anyway. I find names aren't that important anymore, personally I go by needle size on the band and cross my fingers.
 
Dec 5, 2018 09:03:21   #
Jiggs
 
JennyG12 wrote:
So much wrong information.


Dec 5, 2018 09:15:28   #
deenashoemaker
 
As a spinner, I rely on WPI and swatching. I despise the numbering system.
Dec 5, 2018 09:33:00   #
ChocPieMom
 
Thanks to those who responded. Like we used to use the word "wool" to refer to all yarn, I'm beginning to believe that the word "worsted" is an outdated word. I remember seeing worsted on a skein of yarn from an old stash that also included Columbia Minerva brand yarn.
Dec 5, 2018 10:10:58   #
JennyG12 (a regular here)
 
ChocPieMom wrote:
Thanks to those who responded. Like we used to use the word "wool" to refer to all yarn, I'm beginning to believe that the word "worsted" is an outdated word. I remember seeing worsted on a skein of yarn from an old stash that also included Columbia Minerva brand yarn.

Yes the 'vintage' type yarns did indeed use the word "worsted" on their labels. They changed that to just be the number system to denote the weight class (#3, #4, etc). Though they still mean the same, just different printed ways from days gone by, and slight thickness changes have also happened along the way.

It is wonderous to watch the evolving of terms to be standarized around the world. It is also enlightening to learn the differences between coutries.
Dec 5, 2018 10:16:15   #
JennyG12 (a regular here)
 
deenashoemaker wrote:
As a spinner, I rely on WPI and swatching. I despise the numbering system.


I use the numbering system as a guide, because us seasoned crafters knows that there is a low end and a high end of each class. Not all yarns are created equal. We still need to rely on swatching. The WPI method is a valuable bit of knowledge to know as I am sure we have all ran across those skeins/balls of yarn with no labels. :)
 
Dec 5, 2018 15:06:49   #
deshka (a regular here)
 
The words Worsted Weigh have been around for a very long time, much longer than the number system of sizing. Worsted Wt. always meant heavier yarns, heavier than Sport and Fingering, baby, lace. When Worsted was not heavy enough we went to Bulky weight. The numbering system is actually not very old, compared to the worded system. Then along come DK, that one to me is fairly new compared to the old worded system. The skeins of long ago had big strands of yarn, remember the old Red Heart WOOL?, that stuff was heavy, thick yarn. I still have some of it and it was labeled as Worsted Weight. I don't care what it's called, Worsted fits and so does #4. The term 'Light Worsted', that's the one that threw me, guess it's dk, but the newer yarns are getting so tiny, some #4/Worsted are smaller around then DK, which is #3. this is not scientific it's just my take on things.
Dec 5, 2018 19:08:57   #
Ellebelle (a regular here)
 
I rely on a combination of words "worsted weight", "bulky", "chunky", "sport" etc...; numbering system 3 = DK, 4= worsted, 5 = chunky etc; and "wraps per inch" to determine the appropriateness of a specific yarn to a project, when substituting, which is often.

My big wish: Is that yarn brands and pattern designers use "wraps per inch" in addition to all the other info including "gauge" about the stated yarn in question. IMHO, this would help when choosing and/or substituting yarn for any given pattern.

.
Dec 6, 2018 02:45:01   #
targa416 (a regular here)
 
ChocPieMom wrote:
As a beginning knitting teacher I have a lot of patience. But I wonder....Are there yarn brands that use the words "worsted weight yarn" on their label? I got this frequently asked question again tonight from a new knitter. I am frustrated with pattern designers who put these words in their patterns and teachers who put these words on the supplies list for their beginning knitting/crochet class. Project Knitwell has these words in their Learn to Knit booklet and no other explanation. Ravelry uses these words on their pattern pages with no other explanation. We are not being fair to new knitters using the lingo without explanation. When have you seen an explanation of worsted weight yarn in a Pattern Key? I will get off my soap box now.
As a beginning knitting teacher I have a lot of pa... (show quote)

Good question. It’s frustrating for sure, but as with any craft, there’s a learning curve and people will need to take some responsibility for figuring out things like this. These days, there’s so much information floating around and so many ways to ask questions.
Dec 6, 2018 07:18:34   #
purdygirl
 
The term Worsted has been around since the 12th Century...from a little village in England, named Worstead. Thought you might find this interesting.
https://bespokeedge.com/blog/what-is-worsted-wool
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