Knitting Needle vs Yarn Size

Each and every time I begin a new knitting project, unless I make a special trip to the store I am missing something. Sometimes the yarn I want to use is thicker or thinner than what the pattern calls for and sometimes I don't have the required needles, but it's usually no problem.

Sizing knitting projects is just math proportionality. There are four main variables: yarn weight, needle size, number of stitches and stitch gauge. Stitch gauge refers to how tightly or loosely the project is knit. Since we each have our own tendencies for how much tension we place on the yarn, this variable is difficult to adjust.

When I created this hat I learned an important lesson about modifications. The pattern called for DK weight yarn and I wanted to use worsted. Since the yarn was thicker, I compensated with smaller needles. Although the finished hat was the proper size, the lace pattern within the hat wasn't quite as nice as the one in the book. This was because I violated a knitting rule of thumb for yarn vs needle size.

Lace weight - size 1 and smaller needles
Fingering weight - size 1-3 needles
Sport weight - size 3-5 needles
DK weight - size 5-6 needles
Worsted weight - size 7-9 needles
Heavy Worsted weight - size 9-11 needles
Bulky weight - size 11 and greater needles

I used size 3 needles which were really too small to use with worsted weight yarn. For this particular hat, it would have been better if I had used larger needles, but cut out some of the stitches to create the proper size. I'm very satisfied with the hat, but will probably compensate differently if I make another one.

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1 comment:

  1. Knitting is something I always think "that would be fun to try", but I never quite get there. Obviously there is a little more to it then just grabbing a ball of yarn and a pair of needles and going at it! I'm glad your hat worked out, even if it isn't perfect.


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