What Is Double Weight Knitting Yarn?

    by Contributing Writer

    When it comes to knitting, familiarizing yourself with the various types of yarn can help you better plan for a project. There are many varieties of yarn available, but they can be categorized into several weight groups to help simplify part of the process. A type of yarn that is not well known is double knitting weight yarn, or DK yarn.


    The term "double knitting" originates from Great Britain and refers to a weight of yarn commonly used there. In the United Sates, the weight of DK yarn falls between worsted and sport weight. DK yarn is thinner than worsted weight yarn, but thicker than sport weight yarn. Different countries have different names and weights for their yarns, and DK yarn is no exception. In fact, the words "yarn" and "wool" once referred to worsted weight yarn, which in the United States is the most commonly used yarn weight.


    The Craft Yarn Council of America is an organization that has been in existence for 20 years to standardize yarn production and promote a consistency between names and weights across the yarn industry. They feature a chart on their website that categorizes yarns into seven categories. DK yarn is under the category "light yarn" with the symbol "3."


    According to the Craft Yarn Council of America, DK yarn averages a knit gauge range (4 inches, or 10 centimeters, in stockinette stitch) of 21 to 24 inches on U.S. needles 5 to 7 (3.75 to 4.5 millimeters). DK yarn also is in the same category as light worsted. A pattern that calls for a light worsted yarn also can use DK yarn. The substitution should have little effect on the piece's size, but always check your gauge to be sure.


    The slight difference in weight between DK yarn and worsted and sport weight yarns allows for a simple substitution into a project that calls for worsted or sport yarn (and the other types of yarns that fall into those categories). If you're creating a piece that calls for worsted weight yarn, but you want it to be lighter, use DK yarn. For a project using sport yarn, using DK yarn will make the piece a little heavier. Either way, know your gauge so you can adjust the stitch count and stay within the finished size of the piece.


    DK yarn is best used for projects that require a lighter weight yarn such as lightweight sweaters, hats and accessories, and children's items.