DK weight yarn is a very popular light weight yarn, especially for knitters, but it’s been gaining in popularity among crocheters as well!
In this post, we’ll look at the different types of dk weight yarn available on the market today, what needle and hook size you should use with dk weight yarns, why dk weights 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 dk weight yarn!
First of all, what is DK weight yarn?
DK weight yarn is perfect for those just starting out in knitting or crochet. It is a light weight yarn that is classified by the Craft Yarn Council (CYC) as a #3 in their standard yarn weight system. You may also hear it referred to as “baby” yarn or “light” yarn.
DK weight yarn falls right in the middle of the sport weight yarn (weight #2) and worsted weight yarn (weight #4).
So what does the “DK” stand for anyway? Well, it stands for double knit, or double knitting (UK).
Let’s take a look at the CYC’s Standard Yarn Weight System and how it compares to other systems used around the world. It’s easy to see the different yarn weights, from lace weight yarn (#0) to fingering weight yarn (#1) to sport weight yarn (#2) to DK weight yarn (#3) to worsted weight yarn (aran weight yarn also falls into this category) (#4) to bulky yarn (#5) to super bulky yarn (#6) and finally jumbo yarn (#7).
What is equivalent to DK yarn?
In the US a DK yarn is classified as a #3 Light weight yarn according to the Craft Yarn Council’s Standard Yarn Weight System.
In the UK it is a double knitting yarn.
In Australia and New Zealand it is the same as an 8 ply yarn.
What size hooks and needles do you use for DK weight yarn?
The knitting needle size for DK weight yarn is a range between 3.5-4.5mm, with most people using 3.75-4.5mm. In the US this would be from size 4-7.
The crochet hook size for DK weight yarn is a range between 4.5-5.5mm. In the US these hooks would be 7, H/8 and I/9.
What can I make with DK yarn?
This yarn weight is super versatile, so it lends itself really well to almost any project. You can knit or crochet a shawl, sweater, baby blanket, sock, or any other garment or project.
DK is also an amazing choice for double knitting (imagine that!) that has colorwork on both sides.
You can find DK weight yarn in any color imaginable and from every yarn manufacturer, so you’re sure to find some you like.
Down below you can find some patterns I’ve designed that use this weight yarn.
Favorite DK Weight Yarns
It took me a while to jump on the “cake” yarn bandwagon, but man am I glad I did! I love having the color variations of the cake yarns, and Mandala is definitely one of my favorites. You can find it in a huge array of colors and varieties.
Mandala comes in a generous 590 yard, 5.3 oz cake and is made of 100% acrylic, which means its easy to care for and can be machine washed and dried.
Here are a few of my favorite colors:
Mothra, in shades of lavender, purple, lilac pink, magenta, cerulean, pale blue, and pale grey. It’s stunning!
Mermaid, in shades of sapphire, midnight blue, turquoise, sky blue, ice blue, charcoal grey, periwinkle, and petrol blue. Since I’m a huge fan of blue shades (and my favorite color is turquoise) this is a winner for me for sure!
Spirit, another with gorgeous shades of blue with aqua, petrol blue, navy, charcoal, oxford grey, silver, mint.
This is a gorgeous DK that comes in more than 40 shades, so you are bound to find a color you like in this collection. Plus it’s more affordable than a lot of superwash wool yarns, so be sure to check it out.
Swish DK comes in a 123 yard skein (50 grams) and is 100% fine superwash merino wool, which means that the project can be machine washed and dried – one of my favorite things about superwash merino!
I fell in love with this yarn when I came across it at my local Hobby Lobby store (the only place I know of where you can get Yarn Bee yarns). It is a cake yarn with gorgeous color changes. I love stocking up when they have their yarn sales!
Sugarwheel cotton comes in 335 yard skeins (5 oz) and is made of 100% cotton – so you know it’s great for everything you typically use cotton yarns for. Personally I’ve made shawls, a water bottle holder, dishcloths, etc. with mine. This yarn can also be machine washed and dried.
This yarn is an amazing blend of alpaca and cotton. It is a very soft yarn with amazing color changes created by the blending of the two fibers.
Kindred comes in 115 yard (50 grams) skeins and is 68% baby alpaca and 32% pima cotton. This yarn needs to be hand washed and dried flat.
If you’ve been around here for a while, you might have noticed I really love this yarn. I created my first ever crochet doll with this yarn and have used it for ornaments, tops and more. It’s amazing!
Coboo comes in 232 yard (3.5oz) skeins and is a blend of 50% cotton and 50% rayon from bamboo, making it a perfect yarn for summery tops and other projects. You can also machine wash and dry it!
How Can I Tell if a Yarn is a DK Weight?
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 three! Sometimes you won’t see this symbol, you will just see a number 3 or “light” or “dk” 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 DK weight by checking how many stitches it gets for gauge. If it says it’s between 33 to 40 sts per inch in knitting, it’s more than likely worsted. (Yes, you can use this measurement even if you’re a crocheter!;)
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 DK weight yarn will give 12-17 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 DK Weight Yarn?
DK weight yarn is perfect for beginners and those who are new to working with different weights of yarn.
The price point is an excellent benefit, as dk weight yarn often provides excellent yardage for the price. Of course, you can get expensive dk yarns if you prefer, but there are plenty of options for all price levels since it is such a popular yarn weight.
DK yarns are extremely versatile, and can be used for all sorts of projects! You’ll find a dk weight sweater in stores year-round–so there is always something to knit or crochet with worsteds on hand.
Another great benefit of dk weight yarn is it really shows the stitch definition, so it’s a great choice for textured knitting or crochet projects.
Patterns that Use DK Weight Yarn
For my crochet friends:
This doll and her clothes are all created with DK yarn – coboo for the body, Wool Ease DK Cake for the clothes. The hair is worsted weight, but the rest of the doll is DK.
This shawl uses the Yarn Bee Sugarwheel Cotton yarn I detailed above. I fell in love with this colorway and bought a couple of skeins without knowing what I was going to do with it, but it didn’t take long to decide on this shawl pattern!
I used some of my leftover yarn to create this fun water bottle holder. I love using this to carry water bottles, and it’s easy to adjust the strap longer so you can be hands-free!
For my knitter friends:
Practice some simple colorwork with this cute and easy ornament – perfect for gift-giving! Uses Lion Brand Coboo, one of my other favorite DK yarns!
Common Questions about DK Weight Yarn
A standard American DK weight yarn is equivalent to an AU/NZ 8 ply.
While some light worsteds could also be classified as a #3 on the CYC’s Standard Yarn Weight System, but generally a worsted weight yarn will be in a heavier classification (#4) than a DK yarn.
Generally, it takes two strands of DK yarn to equal the thickness of one strand of worsted weight yarn. Keep in mind that this isn’t foolproof, and always check your gauge swatch against the gauge given in the pattern.
You can, but with some drawbacks. Since DK is lighter than worsted, you would need to go up a hook/needle size or two to get the same gauge, and then the drape of the fabric might be different. You can also try holding two strands of DK together to get gauge for worsted.
I sure hope you’ve enjoyed our talk about dk weight yarn! Be sure to check out all of my free knitting and crochet patterns while you’re here!
- Skein of yarn
- Ruler, if figuring wraps per inch (wpi)
- Look on the ball band and check for that number three! Sometimes you won't see this symbol, you will just see a number 3 or "light" or "dk" 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 DK weight by checking how many stitches it gets for gauge. If it says it's between 33 to 40 sts per inch in knitting, it's more than likely worsted. (Yes, you can use this measurement even if you're a crocheter!;)
How to figure the weight of a yarn using wraps per inch
To figure out the weight of dk 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 DK weight yarn will give 12-17 wraps per inch.