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In the craft world, it’s common to hear about DK weight yarn. But what exactly is DK yarn?
In this blog post, we’ll take a closer look at DK yarn: what it is, what it’s used for, and why you would want to use it. We’ll break it down and make it easy to understand how and when to use this popular and versatile yarn.
What is DK weight yarn?
DK yarn, or double knitting yarn, is a lightweight yarn that is perfect for a wide range of knitting and crocheting projects. DK yarn falls into the Craft Yarn Council’s 3/Light category. In Europe and Australia, you might see DK yarn labeled as 8-ply yarn.
DK yarn is lighter than worsted yarn, but heavier than sport yarn. You may also hear it referred to as “light yarn” or “light worsted” yarn.
DK yarn comes in many different colors, textures, and fiber contents. It usually comes packaged as a skein or hank, but is sometimes sold as a yarn “cake.
What’s in a Name?
The “DK” in DK weight yarn stands for “double knitting.” But don’t confuse it with the “double knitting” technique! DK weight doesn’t necessarily indicate a type of project, as its name seems to imply. Instead, it’s just a term used to describe the weight of the yarn.
Characteristics of DK Weight Yarn
Now that we’ve answered the question, “What is DK weight yarn?”, let’s take a closer look at some of its characteristics.
CYC Category: DK weight yarn is classified as a “Category 3/Light” yarn according to the Craft Yarn Council’s Standard Yarn Weight System. This puts in between Category 2/Fine (commonly called sport weight) and Category 4 /Medium (commonly called worsted weight).
Recommended Needle/Hook Size: The most common knitting needle sizes for DK yarn are US size 5 to 7, or 3.75-4.5 mm. The most common hook sizes for crocheting are US sizes 7 to I/9, or 4.5-5.5 mm.
That said, the exact needle or hook size to use will depend on your project. Check your pattern to see what size needles or hooks the designer recommends.
Gauge: When knitting with DK yarn, you’ll likely get 21-24 stitches per 4-inches in a swatch of stockinette stitch. When crocheting, you’ll likely get 12-17 stitches per 4-inches in a swatch of single crochet.
Of course, your gauge will depend on your needle/hook size. Larger needles and hooks will give you lighter, looser fabric. In contrast, smaller needles and hooks will give you tighter, dense fabric.
Meters/Yards per 100g: The number of meters/yards per 100 grams varies depending on the exact yarn. However, you will generally find DK yarn to have between 190-300 meters/yards per 100 grams.
WPI: DK weight yarn measures between 11-15 WPI, or Wraps per Inch.
Ply: DK weight yarn is traditionally made up of 8 plies, or strands of yarn twisted together. (In fact, Australia and New Zealand call it “8-ply”.) But, not all DK yarn is 8-ply. You’ll see some that are made up of fewer plies.
What is DK yarn used for?
DK yarn is a great choice for so many projects! It’s versatile and comes in a wide range of colors, making it perfect for everything from hats and scarves to sweaters and baby blankets.
Since it’s a lighter-weight yarn, it’s great for garments. In particular, I love using DK yarn to make cozy sweaters that don’t look too heavy or bulky.
And, of course, DK weight yarn is also an excellent choice for double knitting and colorwork projects. (If you’re unfamiliar with the term, double knitting is a technique that allows you to create two layers of fabric on one set of needles.)
Why would you want to use DK weight yarn?
There are many reasons why you might want to use DK weight yarn. Here are some of the most common reasons:
- Versatility. DK yarn can be used for so many different types of projects, from hats and scarves to sweaters and baby blankets.
- Availability. DK yarn is widely available from most craft stores and online retailers. You’ll find DK yarn in a wide range of fibers and colors.
- Affordability. Another reason to choose DK yarn is that it is very affordable. You can find DK yarn for a great price, especially if you purchase it online.
- Ease of Use. Finally, DK yarn is also very easy to use. It is a great choice for beginners and experienced knitters alike.
Popular DK Weight Yarns
Now that we know what DK weight yarn is and what it’s used for, let’s take a look at some of the most popular DK weight yarns.
Some of our favorite DK weight yarns include:
- Lion Brand Coboo: This yarn is made from a blend of cotton and bamboo. It’s soft and drapey, making it perfect for garments.
- Lion Brad Truboo: This yarn is made from 100% Rayon from bamboo.
- Lion Brand Mandala: This is a self-striping yarn that comes in a wide range of beautiful colors.
- Paintbox Yarns Simply DK: This is a 100% acrylic yarn that is very affordable. It’s machine-washable, making it a great choice for baby and children’s projects.
- Knitpicks Swish DK: This is a 100% superwash merino wool yarn. It’s extremely soft, making it great for garments.
- KnitPicks Cotlin: This is a DK weight yarn made from a blend of linen and cotton.
- KnitPicks City Tweed DK: This is a tweed yarn made from a blend of merino wool and alpaca.
- Cascade Ultra Pima: This is a DK weight yarn made from 100% Pima cotton. It’s extremely soft and breathable, making it great for garments.
How to Check if Your Yarn is DK Weight
The easiest way to check if your yarn is DK weight is to look at the ball band or label. The ball band will tell you everything you need to know about the yarn, including the weight category. It should say “DK” or “3-Light” somewhere on the packaging.
Of course, as all yarn crafters know, you’ll sometimes find a lovely yarn in your stash that’s lost its label. Don’t worry! You can still figure out the weight of your yarn with either of these easy tests.
WPI (wraps per inch) method: Measure your yarn’s WPI to see if it falls into the DK weight category. Take your strand of yarn and wrap it around your pencil or ruler. Wrap the strands next to each other, until you’ve made enough wraps to cover 1-inch of the ruler. Count the number of strands it takes to cover 1-inch. A DK weight yarn will have between 11-15 WPI.
Gauge method: Another way to verify the type of yarn is to make a quick gauge swatch. If you’re knitting, use a pair of size 6 (4mm) needles to cast on 30 stitches. Work up a few rows in stockinette stitch. Then, see if you get a row gauge of 21-24 stitches per 4 inches/10 cm. If so, you might have DK weight yarn on your hands.
If you’re crocheting, use an H (5mm) hook to make a gauge swatch. If you have a DK weight yarn, you should get 12-17 single crochet stitches in a 4-inch swatch.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some common questions about DK yarn.
Is DK the same as worsted yarn?
No, DK and worsted are similar in weight, but they are not the same. Worsted weight yarn is a bit heavier than DK weight yarn.
What is the difference between DK and sport weight yarn?
The difference between DK and sport weight yarn is the thickness. Sport weight yarn is a bit thinner than DK weight yarn.
Can I use DK yarn for a baby blanket?
Yes, you can use DK yarn for a baby blanket. In fact, it is a great choice! DK yarn is soft and cozy, and it will be sure to keep your little one warm.
How can I substitute for DK weight yarn?
If you don’t have DK weight yarn, you can try substituting a lighter worsted weight yarn or a heavier sport weight yarn. Just keep in mind that the gauge will be different, so you may need to adjust your needle size accordingly.
Another way to substitute for DK weight is by knitting or crocheting with two strands of fingering weight held together. But, any time you want to substitute yarns, be extra careful to check your gauge first.
We hope this post has helped you to understand DK weight yarn a little better. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask in the comments below. And be sure to check out our other posts about different types of yarn!
More Yarn Weight Posts
- Guide to Worsted Weight Yarn
- Ultimate Guide to Aran Weight Yarn
- Complete Guide to Fingering Weight Yarn
- Yarn Weight Chart and Guide
- How to Read Yarn Labels and Symbols
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Sarah Stearns has helped millions of makers find their next craft project with free patterns and step-by-step tutorials on her blog, sarahmaker.com. Read more.
With over a decade of experience in knitting and crochet, she has been featured in prominent publications like The New York Times, Scientific American, Good Housekeeping, Vox, Apartment Therapy, and Lifehacker.