List of yarns for crochet and knitting

Yarn size

Depending on the exact yarn weight and the gauge of the knitter or crocheter and how tight or loose the yarn is held, the gauge listed below can vary. For this reason it is important to check the gauge of the pattern being used to be sure so the finished project is the desired size. Most patterns have a listed gauge to create an item of the size(s) indicated in the pattern.

Category name Symbol Description Crochet gauge[1] Hook size Knitting gauge Needle size
Lace fingering, crochet 10-count thread 33 - 40 sts 1.5mm - 2.25 mm
Super fine sock, fingering, baby 21 - 32 sts 2.25mm - 3.5 mm
Fine sport, baby 16 - 20 sts 3.5mm - 4.5 mm
Light DK, light worsted 12 - 17 sts 4.5mm - 5.5 mm
Medium worsted, Afghan, Aran 11 - 14 sts 5.5mm - 6.5 mm
Bulky chunky, craft, rug 8 - 11 sts 6.5mm - 9 mm
Super Bulky bulky, roving 5 - 9 sts 9mm & larger


Common terms used to describe knitting and crochet yarn properties.

Term Description
Absorbency The ability of a fiber to hold water, determines sweat absorption and suitability for warm weather wear.
Breathability How readily air passes through the fiber.
Dyeability How well the fiber accepts and holds color.
Hand/Handle Tactile description: softness, resiliency, etc.
Loft The amount of air between fibers.
Resiliency (elasticity) The tendency of a fiber to resume its original shape after stretching.
Thickness The diameter of the fiber in micrometres.

Fiber type

Plant based


All varieties of cotton have a dull finish unless mercerized. Cotton yarn has minimal elasticity unless blended with other fibers. Pure cotton is useful for projects that require structure such as purses and tote bags, placemats, and other utilitarian items.

Fiber type Description
Egyptian cotton Longest cotton fiber, smoother and softer than other cottons.
Pima cotton Cross between Egyptian and American cottons. Intermediate properties.
American cotton Medium-long fiber, readily takes on dye. Available in widest variety of colors.

Other plant fibers

Fiber type Description
Linen Strong fiber, good for warm weather items. Wrinkles easily.
Bamboo bast Similar to ramie, possesses an elegant sheen. Not to be confused with the more common bamboo rayon.

Animal based fibers

Fiber type Description
Merino wool Softer than cotton, tends to pill.
Icelandic wool Strong but scratchy.
Mohair Lofty and luxurious, best used as an outer layer. May feel scratchy.
Cashmere Soft, luxurious, expensive.
Alpaca Very warm. Suitable for accessories such as scarves.
Angora Very soft, tends to shed. Best used in pure form as an accent material, or blended with other fibers.
Silk Exceptionally strong, lustrous, and shiny. Good for summer wear.


Fiber type Description
Acrylic Washes well, inexpensive. Good choice for beginners and for items designed for babies or pets.
Nylon Strong, elastic, washes well. Not ideal for garments unless blended with other fibers.
Rayon Made from processed cellulose (e.g. wood pulp, bamboo, seaweed) extruded into threads. Inexpensive and highly absorbent, natural sheen.


  1. Estimated, single crochet 4". Stoller, p. 24.


  • Debbie Stoller, Stitch 'N Bitch Crochet: The Happy Hooker New York: Workman Publishing, 2006.
  • Edie Eckman, The Crochet Answer Book, North Adams, Massachesetts: Storey Publishing, 2005.
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