We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.

Advertiser Disclosure

Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.

How We Make Money

We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently from our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is 4 Ply Yarn?

By Tara Barnett
Updated May 16, 2024
Our promise to you
HomeQuestionsAnswered is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At HomeQuestionsAnswered, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Basic 4 ply yarn is yarn consisting of four separate plies twisted together. Traditionally, ply was used as a measure of the thickness of yarn, sometimes corresponding directly to the size of knitting needles. With the abundance of different fibers, ply has become a less reliable indicator of yarn thickness, and so the number of plies is now simply a description of the yarn. 4 ply yarn, then, is simply yarn with four plies twisted together, just as 2 ply yarn is yarn with two plies.

Yarn of this weight is essentially equivalent to medium-weight yarn. This is also sometimes called worsted weight yarn. Descriptions such as these do not always inform knitters of what size needles should be used with the yarn, and so it is important to knit a small amount of the material to test the needle size first. Most yarns come with a suggested needle size, and this is a good place to start.

The tricky thing about plies is that different fibers yield different size plies. This means that a 4 ply yarn can be very thick or very thin. A good way to think about this problem is to consider the difference in size between twisting together four pieces of thread and four pieces of rope. Both would form something that might be loosely considered 4 ply, but the difference in thickness would be enormous.

In actual yarn production, plies are usually made by spinning fibers to create single-strand yarns. Those single strands are then combined by twisting them together, often with a tool such as a spinning machine or a spindle, although the process can be done solely by hand. This twisting makes the resulting yarn stronger and more durable. 4 ply yarn is necessarily stronger than a yarn with fewer plies made from the same materials. These characteristics are important when picking a yarn for a specific kind of knitted item, as different strengths of yarn are suitable for different projects.

Plying can also be used to create yarn with interesting visual effects. In a 4 ply yarn, not all the plies need to be the same material or color. Twisting together different materials can also change the tactile effects of the yarn. Plies themselves do not even need to be the same size, although plies are usually at least similar in size. All these possibilities make manipulation of ply a valuable technique in hand spinning yarn.

HomeQuestionsAnswered is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.

Discussion Comments

By watson42 — On Feb 06, 2011

I have personally found that some single ply yarns are great, while other single ply bulky yarn was very prone to breakage while knitting, without even much stress applied. At the same time, I have used 4 ply knitting yarn that worked really well and others where the plies constantly came apart while knitting and got tangled with new stitches.

I think that the ply issue is not as important as the general quality and reliability of the yarn and the company that produces it.

By hyrax53 — On Feb 05, 2011

These days purchasing yarn based on ply can be a very deceptive task. For example, it is becoming easier to find single ply yarn in many different weights, including chunky yarn many knitters prefer this, because they feel it frays and knots less easily. Most yarn patterns, though, do not have any connection to the actual ply of the yarn used, only the weight, so it can be a matter of personal preference for the knitter.

HomeQuestionsAnswered, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

HomeQuestionsAnswered, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.