Most people love bulky yarn (also known as chunky yarn) because the projects work up quickly. This weight yarn is great for many knitting and crochet projects.
This weight of yarn can be found in most every knitter’s and crocheter’s stash. From a bulky sweater and other garments to hats made with this thick yarn, bulky yarn is versatile enough for almost any project!
In this post, we’ll look at the different types of bulky yarn available on the market today, what needle and hook size you should use with these yarns, why bulkies are so popular among knitters and crocheters alike, as well as some of the different ways it can be used.
So grab your knitting needles or crochet hooks-it’s time to dive into some chunky yarn!
What is bulky yarn?
This weight of yarn is perfect for those just starting out in knitting or crochet. It is really easy to see your stitches in this weight and since the project works up quicker than DK or worsted it gives you a quick “win”.
It is a moderately heavy weight yarn that is classified by the Craft Yarn Council as a #5 in their standard yarn weight system.
Bulky yarns are the next category after worsted weight yarn. Bulky yarn is heavier than lace weight yarn, sport weight yarn, double knitting ( dk weight yarn) and worsted weight yarn. The only yarns heavier than it are super bulky and jumbo yarn.
Bulky yarns work for so many projects! They come with various types of fiber and textures-so it pays to look around at the wide variety available before making your next purchase.
We’ll explore some of them below.
Yarn Weight Chart
The Craft Yarn Council’s Standard Yarn Weight System can be broken down into just a few categories. Let’s take a look at how they compare to other systems used around the world.
In the United States, we employ the Craft Yarn Council’s Standard Yarn Weight System (CYC), which assigns yarn weights from 0 to 7 (super fine lace weight to jumbo yarn for big projects like arm knitting).
The UK, Europe, Australia, and other regions of the globe, on the other hand, define their yarns differently. They frequently use plies or numbers to express yarn weight, as seen from the chart above.
Recommended Knitting Needle and Crochet Hook Sizes for Bulky Yarn
Bulky yarn is classified as a #5, with an approximate gauge of 12 to 15 stitches per four inches in knitting gauge.
The Craft Yarn Council recommends using the following needle and crochet hook sizes for bulky weight:
Knitting needles size US 9-11 (5.5-8.0mm)
Crochet hooks size K-M (6.5-9.0mm)
The yarn’s label will indicate a suggested needle and hook size, so stick with the stated size in the pattern or on the label. If using a pattern, use the same size as specified in it, as long as you get gauge with that size.
If you want a more drapable fabric (like for a baby blanket), then you should opt for a hook or needles one to two sizes larger than the recommended size. If you want a tighter fabric for things like toys, go down a size or two.
What is Bulky Weight Yarn Used For?
This weight yarn is extremely versatile. It is a perfect choice for mittens, sweaters, hats, and blankets. Bulky yarn also works well with other types of projects-so don’t be afraid to experiment!
This heavier yarn provides just the right amount of durability for many knitting or crochet projects. It’s heavier than worsted or DK weight yarns, but lighter than super bulky and jumbo weights.
How Can I Tell if a Yarn is a Bulky?
That’s a great question! The easiest way in the US is to look on the ball band. Most yarns in the US will have these handy symbols from the CYC on them:
So, just look on the ball band and check for that number five! Sometimes you won’t see this symbol, you will just see a number 5 or “bulky” as the weight.
But what if you have a skein of yarn that doesn’t have a label? Maybe you were given it as a gift, it’s hand spun or you lost the label?
Never fear, there is a way to tell! This is when you will use wraps per inch (wpi).
You can also get an idea if a yarn is a bulky weight by checking how many stitches it gets for gauge. If it says it’s between 12 to 15 sts per inch in knitting, it’s more than likely bulky. (Yes, you can use this measurement even if you’re a crocheter!;) It just gives you a general idea of the yarn weight.
How to figure the weight of a yarn using wraps per inch
To figure out the weight of worsted-weight yarn using wraps per inch, follow these steps:
Take your skein and then wrap it around a ruler, fully covering one inch without pulling too tightly. Now count how many times you can fit into one inch.
A bulky weight yarn will give 6-9 wraps per inch. You can even get this amazing tool from Knit Picks to help you figure wraps per inch – and it even has the numbers on it so you don’t have to look it up!
Why Choose Bulky Weight Yarn?
Benefits of bulky yarn
This yarn is perfect for beginners and those who are new to working with different weights as it is so easy to see your stitches. This, plus the fact that the project will work up more quickly than a DK or worsted weight makes it a great choice.
You usually find that a lot of these yarns aren’t much more expensive than a worsted weight acrylic, as the cheaper yarns are not often made into this heavy of a yarn. But, a little goes a long way with this size yarn!
Bulkies are extremely versatile, and can be used for all sorts of projects! You’ll find a ton of quick hat patterns, cozy cardis and lots more made with bulky.
Another great benefit of bulky yarn is it really shows the stitch definition, so it’s a great choice for textured knitting or crochet projects.
My Favorite Bulky Yarns
These yarns should be a staple among knitters and crocheters-so don’t forget to add some when planning out your next project! Bulky weights come in various textures, with different fiber types as well. They work for all sorts of projects, from crochet blankets to knitting sweaters or hats!
These are some of my personal favorite bulky yarns:
PATONS CLASSIC WOOL ROVING
If you are looking for a great roving yarn, this is it! Just like it’s Classic Wool cousin, this yarn is soft and strong. I love the stitch definition that the roving yarn provides.
I crocheted a pair of men’s mittens for my hubs in this yarn, but we have to be careful how we wash it because it is hand wash only, so if you choose a wool roving yarn keep that in mind.
Fiber Content: 100% Wool
Yarn Weight: Bulky (#5)
Yardage/Weight: 120 yards/100g
Care: Hand wash and dry flat
BIGGO YARN FROM WE CROCHET/KNIT PICKS
This is really one of my favorite bulky yarns of all time! Biggo yarn comes in a range of colors, is soft and billowy, and is wonderful to work with. It’s also machine washable!
Fiber Content: 50% superwash merino wool, 50% nylon
Yarn Weight: Bulky weight yarn (#5)
Yardage/Weight: 110 yards/100g
Care: Machine Wash, Tumble Dry Low
BERROCO COMFORT CHUNKY
This is seriously one of my favorite acrylic blends of all time. I remember the first time I picked up a skein of Berroco Comfort in a local yarn store. I couldn’t believe it was mostly acrylic!
This yarn is soft enough that I chose it for the Orchard Sweater I designed – and I’ve also used it’s worsted cousin for a sweater for myself!
And don’t think that just because I found it in a local yarn store it’s expensive – this yarn is less than $8 a skein regular price!
Fiber Content: 50% super fine nylon, 50% super fine acrylic
Yarn Weight: Bulky weight yarn (#5)
Yardage/Weight: 150 yards/100g
Care: Machine wash
Free Patterns Using Bulky Weight Yarn
I sure hope you’ve enjoyed our talk about bulky yarn! Be sure to check out all of my free knitting and crochet patterns while you’re here!