What is Worsted Weight Yarn?

You probably have wandered around a crafts store and gotten to the fabric section to find fabric types of your taste. If you’ve ever searched and come across “worsted weight yarn? You might get questions like; What does it mean, and what sets worsted weight yarn from other varieties of yarn?

Worsted weight yarn is typically used to create winter-related apparel such as scarves, caps, and sweaters. Also, afghans and blankets are frequently made with it too. 

Being in the mid-weight yarn class, the Craft Yarn Council rates it as a #4 in their system of standard yarn weights. 

What is Worsted Weight Yarn?

Worsted Weight Yarn
Worsted Weight Yarn

Worsted weight yarn, also referred to as Aran weight yarn, is a form of yarn mostly characterized by its thickness. “Worsted” is not truly a fiber; it is more like a yarn weight.

Compared to yarn types like sport weight yarn, it is somewhat heavier, whereas bulky weight yarn is much heavier. It is usually incorporated into warm-weather knit items like sweaters, hats, and scarves. 

Crafters, clothing lines, manufacturers, and designers frequently employ the worsted yarn in yarn production.

So, the Craft Yarn Council established a standard yarn weight system to unify and organize the different weights in the yarn industry. It’s more like a benchmark for classifying yarn weights.

This yarn classification system puts Worsted weight yarn in the middleweight yarn fabric category. That’s the number four yarn in this system, with a knitting pattern of up to 20 stitches per four inches of knitting.

Yarn weights are more frequently referred to by their figures in the UK and Europe and differently in the US.

A French yarn manufacturer could refer to a “number three yarn” rather than a “DK weight,” while an American may use “Worsted yarn” rather than using terms like “number four yarn.” 

How is Worsted Weight Yarn Produced?

Worsted weight yarn incorporates wool, acrylic, and sometimes alpaca or silk, which are distinct kinds of fiber combined to create the yarn type.

The fibers give the yarn its unique features in that while the wool provides warmth and protection, acrylic strengthens and lessens the pilling of the yarn.

To create Worsted weight yarn, long fibers of the fabric blend are first chosen.

The long fiber strands are first formed by carding the fibers together, then thoroughly combed to make them straight and parallel.

The yarn is then treated carefully during the spinning process to ensure the fibers remain straight, maintaining the finished yarn and giving it an exceptionally smooth feel. 

The result of the blend is a thick, resilient yarn ideal for knitting or crocheting blankets, flannels, and other heavy coats. Afterward, these strands are then twisted together.

How fine yarn is reflected in its “weight.” Some yarns are fine, such as those used to make socks, although they may appear fragile and delicate.

Usually, when knitters and crocheters use these woven weight yarns and knit or crochet them into a finished item, these thin yarns are rather rigid.

A Brief History of Worsted Weight Yarn

Although the exact beginning of worsted weight yarn’s history is unknown, it is thought to have occurred in Worstead, England, in the early 17th century. It was referred to as “stuff” at the time to distinguish the yarn from cloth, a woolen fabric in the 18th and early 19th centuries.

Back then, unique breeds of sheep bred in enclosed meadows were introduced in England, and long, fine core wool was spun to produce the worsted yarn. 

The sheep generated long fibers of wool, also known as long staple fibers, which were further used to create the yarn. It’s much more different today as other long fibers are now being utilized.

In addition to silk, other woven fabrics of fibers other than silk were also referred to as “stuff,” particularly after cotton became more widely used as a fabric in the later part of the 18th century.

Types Of Worsted Weight Yarn

Wool yarn, alongside other fibers, is probably the most popular kind of worsted weight yarn, and it’s used most frequently for knitting and crocheting.

While there are numerous varieties of worsted weight yarn, they pretty much have got some things in common. 

  • Acrylic weight Yarn

Acrylic worsted weight yarn is a reasonably priced yarn available in many colors and is not scratchy and coarse like many types of acrylics.

However, unlike natural fibers made from plants and animals, they cannot decompose because it is essentially plastic.

  • Wool/Acrylic Blend yarn

Wool/acrylic blended worsted yarn is inexpensive and available in various hues. Additionally, it incorporates the elegance and adaptability of wool with the simplicity and ease of upkeep of acrylic yarn. 

This yarn type typically has 5 stitches per inch in thickness and is a fantastic option for busy crocheters because it is machine washable and dryable.

  • Alpaca weight yarn

The alpaca weight yarn possesses unique aesthetic qualities and knits up beautifully.

The yarn is soft and quite similar to the wool yarn type but much warmer, softer, and hypoallergenic.

  • Merino Wool Yarn

This type of worsted weight fabric is a high-quality, machine-washable yarn from merino wool, a unique grade of wool.

This worsted wool yarn is available in different colors and is also safe for dryer use after machine washing. 

  • Lace weight yarn

Lace weight worsted yarn has over 35 twists per inch of fabric yarn. It’s usually employed in producing yarn for knitting lace or anything that needs to be extremely lightweight.

What’s The Average Cost Of Worsted Weight Yarn Per Yard?

Worsted weight yarn types like wool are among the most common yarn weights and are ideal for many knitting and crochet projects. Dwelling on this fact, wool yarn may be inexpensive compared to other yarn types. 

Since the length of yarn is so fine, lightweight yarn is physically lighter by nature, and items manufactured with these yarn types typically have a similar fine and lightweight quality. This might be a factor that determines its average cost. 

Worsted weight yarn may range from $7 for 100% woolen yarn to $25 for worsted cotton yarn to $30 for worsted acrylic yarn averagely when measured per yard. 

Depending on the brand, worsted weight yarn has different average costs per yard. Different brands may possess low-cost weighted yarn or yarns that are a little pricey.

Worsted Weight Yarn Uses And Applications

Worsted weight yarn is an absolute favorite among knitters because it helps them greatly modify their crotchet designs and use it for virtually all their knitting and crocheting projects.

Considering that it is one of the most widely used yarn weights, you can probably find it in most yarn fabric shops.

For knitting and crocheting, the worsted weight yarn is denser than the other types of yarn and is made of wool or synthetic fiber.

Worsted weight yarn is perfect for newbies to the knitting process for knitting winter accessories like hats, scarves, mittens, and different types of blankets since its thickness is in the middleweight category.

The medium-weight yarn is also ideal for many crafts, including baby blankets, afghans, and sweaters.

Worsted Weight Yarn Care And Maintenance Tips

Since the worsted weight yarn is often used for knitting and crocheting projects, it would have to be maintained to preserve its qualities for a long time. 

However, it’s crucial to keep your projects looking their best. So I recommend you follow all of the tips below to get the best out of the yarn. 

  • Worsted weight yarn requires fabric maintenance methods that are quite different from the regular fabric type. That’s why it’s important to check the label on the worsted yarn to ascertain the proper care methods suitable for it.
  • You should wash your worsted weight yarn in a washer on its required and optimal settings. A simple dry with a dryer set to low heat is also necessary for the yarn. 
  • Washing worsted weight yarn should be done in cold water and, as mentioned above, dried on a low heat setting to prevent the yarn from felting. 
  • Worsted weight yarn is pretty easy to maintain. So use a detergent devoid of optical brighteners to avoid any odd shade, fade, or color bleed from appearing on the yarn. 
  • For optimal quality, do not overload the washer with the yarn or with any other type of fabric in addition to the yarn. It’s not a good idea for the yarn to become stretched.
  • Worsted weight yarn should be folded and stored in a cool, dark place in breathable cotton bags or containers. Ensure that you do not store them in basements or attics because of their variable temperatures and humidity. 
  • Worsted weight yarn should never be hung since the garment’s weight will quickly cause them to spread out.

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