Classified as a number two on the Craft Yarn Council’s Standard Yarn Weight System, here is everything you need to know about sport weight yarn.
The Craft Yarn Council’s Standard Yarn Weight System is a grading system that categorizes yarns from lightest to heaviest. Sport weight is a number 2 on the scale, heavier than fingering weight but lighter than dk weight yarn. It has enough heft to show stitch definition and isn’t too heavy for most garments, making it great for baby blankets or sweaters.
What is sport weight yarn and what does it look like?
Sport weight yarn is a type of yarn that falls between fingering weight and dk weight. A number 2 on the Craft Yarn Council’s Standard Yarn Weight System, it is heavier than a fingering weight yarn, but lighter than a dk weight. This means that it will show stitch definition better than a fingering weight, but won’t be as heavy as a dk weight. It doesn’t have too much heft so it is still perfect for baby blankets and sweaters.
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 US, we use the Craft Yarn Council (CYC)’s Standard Yarn Weight System as seen above, which gives yarn weights a number from 0 (super fine lace weight) to 7 (jumbo yarn for large projects like arm knitting).
A sport weight is a fine weight yarn and is a weight #2 in this system.
The most common yarn used is either a dk weight yarn or a worsted weight yarn, depending upon where you live.
But, as you can see from our chart above, the UK, Europe, Australia and other parts of the world classify their yarns differently. They often use plies or numbers to describe the weights of their yarn. A sport weight yarn is equivalent to a 5-ply.
Recommended Knitting Needle and Crochet Hook Sizes for Sport Weight
Sport weight is classified as a #2 fine/baby weight yarn, with an approximate gauge of 23-26 stitches per four inches (10cm) in knitting gauge.
The Craft Yarn Council recommends using the following needle and crochet hook sizes for sport weight:
Knitting needles size US 3-5 (3.25-3.75mm) – Crochet hooks size E/4-7 (3.50-4.50mm).
The yarn label will provide a recommended needle and hook size, so your best bet will be to go with the recommended size in the pattern or on the label.
If you want a better drape in your knitted or crocheted fabric, 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 dishcloths or toys, go down a hook/needle size or two.
What is sport weight yarn used for?
Sport weight yarn is made for projects where you need a little more heft than with a fingering weight yarn, but don’t want to get too heavy. It makes a great choice for baby blankets, sweaters and other lightweight garments without being too heavy.
Sport weight is considered as “a fine or baby weight yarn”. It can also be used to knit or crochet a hat, cowl or shawl, or a great lacy scarf. It also makes a great sock yarn, knits or crochets up a beautiful sweater and gives definition to textured stitches.
How Can I Tell if a Yarn is a Sport or Baby 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 two!
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 sport weight by checking how many stitches it gets for gauge. If it says it’s between 23-26 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 sport 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 sport weight will give 15-18 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!
My Favorite Sport/Baby/Fine Weight Yarns
Sport 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 sport weight yarns:
Lion Brand Bon Bons
These adorable little skeins are the best! They are great for amigurumi, embroidery, and colorwork. You get 8 shades per bag in these cute mini skeins.
Each mini skein has around 28 yards and the fiber content varies depending upon type. They have a 100% acrylic version and a 100% cotton version and a blend.
Care: Machine wash, lay flat to dry
Knit Picks/We Crochet Brava Sport
Brava comes in many weights and is a 100% premium acrylic yarn. I love all the Knit Picks yarns, and this beautiful one is no exception.
Each skein has 273 yards and weighs 100g. It comes in a wide variety of colors.
Care: Machine wash, tumble dry
Malabrigo has some of the most amazing colors out there when it comes to tonal yarns. I have yet to meet a skein of any type of Malabrigo yarn I don’t like! There are over 60 colors and you can also find quite a variety of speckled hanks of this yarn!
Arroyo comes in 335 yard, 100 gram hanks that are 100% Superwash Merino Wool. I love superwash wools because the care for them is so much easier than a regular wool yarn.
Care: Machine washable, gente cycle, cold water, do not tumble, dry flat
Free Patterns Using Sport Weight Yarn
Oh my!! This is one of the most impressive crochet blankets I think I’ve ever seen!! This is sure to become a treasured heirloom.
This classic knit sweater uses sport yarn to create a timeless, lightweight top that you’ll want to wear year-round!
Common Questions about Sport Weight Yarn
A sport weight yarn is a number 2 on the Craft Yarn Council’s Standard Yarn Weight System. This puts it between fingering and dk weight yarns. It is also a 5-ply yarn.
No, that is a dk weight yarn. A sport weight yarn is a 2 on the Craft Yarn Council’s Standard Yarn Weight System. This puts it between fingering and dk weight yarns.
I hope you’ve enjoyed our look at sport weight yarn today!! I’m off to go add some to my stash…. I think this is a weight that often gets overlooked.
Happy Knitting and Crocheting!