If you’re new to the art of knitting, the first thing you need to understand is the type of yarn you should use.
As a beginner, it may be daunting to find the right yarn, as there are so many to choose from, with each type dictating the technique, type of project, and needle that you can work with.
Specifically, what is DK weight yarn?
Understanding yarn weight (DK or not) is one of the first steps to take as a beginner. Yarn weight is the system by which yarn is categorized in the knitting world. Thankfully, it’s not as hard as it first seems.
In choosing the right yarn for your next knitting project, you will need to refer to the standard yarn weight system.
Standard Yarn Weights
In knitting, yarn is categorized by its ‘weight.’ Yarn weight, which refers to the individual weight of the yarn itself, is organized according to the Standard Yarn Weight System.
The Standard Yarn Weight System is a guideline that all knitters and yarn manufacturers use. When you buy a ball of yarn, you may notice that its labels come with boxes, as well as numbers. One of these boxes will have a picture of a ball of yarn, with a number. This box refers to its weight.
While deciphering what this number means can look daunting at first, it really isn’t complicated. You will find a number from 0 to 7; the higher the number, the bulkier the yarn.
0 would refer to lace, while 7 would refer to jumbo yarns. Think of yarns that are large enough to be knit using your arms!
Chunky, Bulky, and Jumbo Yarn
Chunky, bulky, and Jumbo yarns (6, 7, and 8 on the yarn weight system, respectively) are often the favorite of intermediate knitters. Because of their size, you could finish a project much faster than with other types. With bulky yarn, you may even create a scarf in less than half an hour.
Additionally, chunky yarn can be used alongside DK and worsted yarn, to add a bit of flair to the project. You could thread chunky yarn through a smaller weight yarn and achieve a complicated looking piece without too much effort. Commonly, this type of yarn is used in larger projects, like blankets and afghans.
While it may be tempting, using this type of yarn when first starting out may not be the best idea.
Jumping into heavier yarns skips the fundamentals of knitting, which may be necessary when figuring out your own personal style and preferences (like the make and size of needles you like, or the types of knits that you use most.)
DK Yarn and Worsted Yarn
As a beginner, you should begin somewhere in the middle of the yarn weight system.
These two types of yarn, namely DK weight yarn and worsted weight yarn (3 and 4 on the yarn weight system, respectively), would also be the most readily available type of yarn for knitting.
Because of their weight, these types of yarns are incredibly versatile; you would often see them used to make clothing, from mittens to shawls to socks.
These yarns are also the most accessible when it comes to knitting patterns, especially those aimed at beginners.
Fine Weight Yarn
Fine weight yarn, namely 0 to 3 on the standard yarn weight system, would often refer to delicate types. These are often finicky to work with, requiring additional technique, as well as a very gentle and careful hand.
However, projects made with fine weight yarn truly pay for the effort, as finished projects look effortlessly intricate and precious.
Fine weight yarns can often be found in blouses, and especially shawls and scarves. The finest of the group, namely lace weight yarn (0 on the weight yarn system), is often used in shawls, as they are too delicate for other types of clothing.
Otherwise, lace can be found decorating a living room or a kitchen, giving the place an elegant and timeless vibe.
How to Choose Yarn Weights
When starting out, you may not have the most flexible of budgets for choosing yarn. However, it’s always a good idea not to go too cheap, or too expensive.
For beginners, popular DK yarn brands in the US include Paton, Red Heart, and Lion. These offer a large array to choose from and are easily accessible with time-tested quality.
When choosing yarn, first consider your pattern. Pre-made patterns will have recommended types of yarn to work with, and as a beginner, it may be wise to follow these recommendations.
Next, you will need to consider the type of needle that is required for this yarn; its packaging will recommend the needle size. Of course, try to see if your yarn is pleasing to the eye and soft to the touch.
Lastly, make sure that you have enough of the same dye lot to ensure that your project’s color remains consistent throughout.
Here’s a video showing the differences between some DK weight yarn.
What are your favourite yarn weights?