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In the US "ply" is not used to describe weight. Ply here refers to how many strands a particular yarn contains. For instance you can have 4 ply sock yarn but single ply worsted weight yarn! In other parts of the world ply is used to describe weight.

As for working with more than one yarn at a time. This depends on what you mean by that. If you mean color work, like Fair Isle or Intarsia, bobbins are the easiest way to do this so you don't have 5 or 6 skeins attached to your needle(s). If you mean knitting with more than one strand of yarn from different skeins - I find that winding them together with a ball winder, makes this easier. Sometimes I will use my spinning wheel to "ply" yarns together.
 

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Hi Strega,

As far as I know, it stands for double knit. In Australia, we refer to most DK yarns as 8 ply. Though this is quite a loose term, it identifies the yarn as a good hand knitting yarn suitable for 3.25mm needles for the ribbing, to a 4mm needle to knit the main body of the garment.

Rose
 

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In the back of my creative knitting magazine they have a chart for yarns Ihope I can get it copied so you can understand:
0/lace fingering 10-count crochet thread
1/super fine sock fingering baby
2/fine sport baby
3/light DK, light worsted
4/medium worsted,afgan, aran
5/bulky chunky,craft,rug
6/super bulky bulky,roving
there is more information pertaining to guages and needle sizes if you need more let me know. Hope this helps.
 

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Strega said:
Do we know what the "D" and the "K" stand for?

Thanks.

Strega
DK stands for Double Knitting. It's an English/UK term and fairly recent, much less than a hundred years old, although I'm uncertain as to the exact date of its first appearance.

Before WWII the only yarn weights commonly available were 3-ply and 4-ply and Aran. I have many patterns completed using UK/Canadian size 12 (2.75mm) (US size 2) needles, some are even on UK/Canadian size 14 (2mm) (US size 0) needles. Rows across a man's sweater could be very long. I have even seen an Edwardian pattern that specified 2-ply yarn. As an asides, I once made a bedjacket for my Mother using 3-ply, it was knitted in one piece cuff-to-cuff in blackberry stitch, I'm never doing a pattern with that many stitches in a row ever again!

Following the war, an increasing number of patterns appeared using two strands of yarn held together and knitted as one on UK/Canadian size 8 (4mm) (US size 6) needles. Fewer stitches meant garments knitted up quicker and this fitted in with the accelerating rate of change and the democratization of fashion brought about and driven by full employment and working class families having disposable income.

Home-produced hand-knitted garments had hitherto been an economic necessity for many families, a man's heavy winter sweater knitted on UK/Canadian size 10 (3.25mm) (US size 3) needles would use only 16 oz (450g) of a heavyweight 4-ply and was a luxury. A standard man's sleeveless pullover knitted on UK/Canadian size 12 (2.75mm) (US size 2) would require only 6 oz (170g) and was therefore very economical. During the war when everything was rationed and we had to eke out clothing coupons, the need for economical patterns became an imperative for all.

The big spinners responded to changing demands and by the late 60s DK had become the standard for adult clothes, 4-ply became the standard for baby clothes, toys and light women's clothes. By the '80s 3-ply had virtually disappered from the shelves.

Inevitably people started knitting with two strands of doubleknit held together. Once again the spinners responded to demand, I can recall in the late '60s and early '70s this being referred to as DDK and Double Quick Knit. It roughly approximates to our modern chunky yarns.

I think it's fascinating how something as seemlingly mundane as the changing thickness of knitting yarns can reflect social and economic history. I'm a bit strange that way, I like to explore these things.

Dave
 

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Hi! DK stands for double knitting. Dk weight yarn is a lighter weight yarn which is interchanagable with sport yarn. It is lighter that a worsted weight yarn and is a good yarn to use for babies and toddlers. It is heaver than sock yarn or fingering yarn. Aran yarn is about the same as worsted weight yarn. Hope this helps. Norita from WI
 

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master of none said:
Dave, Bless you! of all the good info here on this subject you have hit the (my) nail on the head. Now I understand. Thank-you. Una :-D
Thanks Una, I find it helpful to understand the historical context, things usually make more sense and are more easily rembered when they are part of a story. I'm glad you it.

Dave
 

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Look for a weight number on the yarn. Worsted is weight 4, DK is weight 3. This is usually a large number inside a geometric shape. There is consistency among the manufacturers when using this number, so you can substitute a brand for the one called for in the pattern.
 

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Double knitting, the process used to be tube or tubular knitting back in the dawn of time. It's the description I've always used until a lovely lady from the site brought me into the 21st century by letting me know it is now called double knitting. :oops: :?: How's that for confusing the issue?
 
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