2/32 – 2/16 (3/24) Hand knit needles US 0000-3 2-3.25mm 9 sts or more per inch
TENSION 3-4 on 4.5mm knitting machine (standard bed)
This section is for extremely fine yarns, which are used more often for crochet doilies and very open lacy shawls.
Machine knitting with one strand might present some difficulties in knitting off the needles. The standard gauge knitting machines should use their fine knit bar. More commonly used in double bed multi-color fabrics. When knitted in an open & loose fabric, it is a perfect, light & airy fabric for lace curtains and shawls. Also works well, to use 2 strands, or 3 strands together, or combine with other yarns, and knit at tension type 5 or 7.
LIGHT FINGERING WEIGHT
2/16 (3/24) – 2/12 (3/18) Hand knit needles US 1-3 2.25-3.25mm 8-9 sts per inch 16-18 wraps per inch
TENSION 5-6 on 4.5mm knitting machine (standard bed)
A common gauge for dress weight yarns. Perfect for slim fitting slacks & skirts, as well as flaring skirts and suits. If the yarn allows you to tighten down to one tension, this will help to keep slacks and straight skirts from seating out. Return to your regular tension for the shells, tops, jackets & blazers. These fine yarns are still good for easy 2-color jacquard. Will knit off smoothly and create warm afghans. A common gauge for light weight jean sweaters. Excellent weight for fairisle sweaters without the added weight that fairisle usually produces. I find this size of yarn laces very nicely.
2/12 (3/18) – 2/8 (3/12) Hand knit needles US 1-3 2.25-3.25mm 7-8 sts or more per inch 14 wraps per inch TENSION 7-8 on 4.5mm knitting machine (standard bed)
Good for socks, summer sweaters, for babies and lightweight shawls. 2 strands roughly makes a DK weight, 3 strands roughly make worsted weight. Fingering is such a popular weight. This is the best weight for babies. And makes wonderful summer lace items. You may find you are knitting this at knitting machine tension 6 or tension 8. “Tension” is not a hard and fast rule. It just gives us a place to start when in doubt. These are probably the most commonly used weights for the average machine knitter. Tension 7 & 8 are the ranges a lot of new machine knitters are taught in. And for easy, quick garments we continue to return to it. This weight is popular with men’s sweaters & cardigans.
SPORT WEIGHT YARNS
Hand knit needles US 4-5 3.25-3.75mm 6 sts per inch 12 wraps per inch
TENSION 9-10 on 4.5mm knitting machine (standard bed)
TENSION 2-4 on a 6.5 or 7.0 mm knitting machine (mid-gauge bed)
Almost twice as thick as Fingering. Excellent for all types of sweaters, cardigans & afghans. Used on the standard bed and sometimes not, because even though the yarn says DK or Sport Weight, we will have variations within that range. This weight and the following DK weight yarns are great on the mid-gauge knitting machines and make beautiful cabled and hand manipulated designs.
DK WEIGHT YARNS
Hand knit needles US 5-6 3.75-4mm 5.5-6 sts per inch 11 wraps per inch
TENSION 5-7 on 6.5-7mm (mid-gauge bed knitting machines)
TENSION 0-1 on 9mm (bulky bed knitting machines)
The most popular gauge being hand knit and machine knit today. Can sometimes be classified as a Light Worsted or Heavy DK. This type of yarn is beautiful in sculptured knits (i.e. cables, bobbles and textures). The Mid-gauge knitting machines were the last gauge of knitting machines manufactured and their design stems from the popularity of this weight of yarn. This knitting machine produces fabric that closest resembles hand knit garments. Great for teens and men and home décor, such as pillows & afghans.
WORSTED WEIGHT YARNS
2/8 (3/12) – 2/4 (4/8) Hand knit needles US 7-9 4.5-5.5mm 4.5-5 sts per inch 9 wraps per inch
TENSION 5 on 9mm (bulky bed knitting machines)
TENSION 8-10 on 6.5-7mm (mid-gauge bed knitting machines)
About 3 times as thick as Fingering, hand knitters work them on size 7, 8 & 9 American needles. They usually have 4.5 or less stitches per inch. Produces a heavier fabric real popular for couch afghans and jackets.
BULKY WEIGHT YARNS
2/4 (4/8) & larger Hand knit needles US 10-11 5-6mm 3-3.5 sts per inch 7-8 wraps per inch
TENSION 7-9 on 9mm (bulky bed knitting machines)
You can find bulky weight yarns in most yarn stores. Mohair with long strands knit at this gauge. The stitches need to be loose enough for the to fur. Great for cold weather activities, such as skiing. Or for jackets. Big stitches meant faster knitting and less intense concentration, thus causing this knitting to be very relaxing for the working person.
SUPER BULKY WEIGHT YARNS
Hand knit needles US 10-17 6-10+mm 1.5-2.5 sts per inch
TENSION 10 mm (maybe) (bulky bed knitting machines)
The big stitches mean faster knitting and less intense concentration, so knitting in this yarn can be more relaxing and it’s easier easy to correct mistakes. About 4-6 strands of fingering will make this weight. Some of these yarns are so bulky they will not knit on the bulky knitting machine, even on every other needle.