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What is Sport Weight Yarn?

By Sheri Cyprus
Updated May 16, 2024
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Sport weight yarn is a fine weight of yarn used for knitting and crochet projects. Sometimes called double knitting (DK), it's the third thinnest yarn after lace and baby weight yarns, and just under worsted in thickness. This yarn is typically knitted with medium sized knitting needles and crocheted with a medium sized crochet hook. There are many different kinds of sport weight yarns, including acrylic, cotton, and alpaca.

The name of this yarn has nothing to do with athletics, but rather refers to the thickness of knitted or crocheted material it creates. The thickness of garments knitted with sport weight yarn is considered similar to the fabric associated with women's sportswear. It is a popular yarn for creating thin sweaters.

Lightweight blankets may also be knitted or crocheted in sport weight yarn. Although the yarn is heavier than baby weight, it's still popular for knitting and crocheting baby outfits, and it's sometimes sold as sport weight baby yarn. Novelty sport yarns often have flecks of texture and color added to a solid background. The yarn is also a good pick for knitting or crocheting dog sweaters and a variety of doll clothes.

Acrylic sport weight yarn is the most economical type, and it’s considered practical for knitting children’s wear, as it tends to be tougher than yarns made from natural materials. For softness, though, sport weight baby alpaca is the best option. Alpacas are animals in the same family as camels and llamas, and alpaca yarn from the first shearing of the animal is the softest. It’s called baby alpaca because of its fine, soft texture.

Organic cotton yarn is often available in sport weight. It’s made from cotton grown without pesticides and in many cases without dyes, so organic sports weight cotton yarn is considered an eco-friendly choice. Natural cotton colors can be extremely beautiful shades of brown, tan and white. Good quality organic sport weight yarn can be machine washed in the cold, gentle cycle of a washer and dried on the low heat setting of the dryer. Some shrinking may occur and this may affect the finished knitted or crocheted item, so yarn labels should be carefully checked.

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Discussion Comments

By anon159750 — On Mar 13, 2011

Buy online anyway - walmart is cheap and nasty. Why waste time working with hideous static charged yarn in headache inducing colors! Create something beautiful instead.

By anon151693 — On Feb 11, 2011

Blah, I live in Wyoming, so my options are slim too. I have a wal-mart and a Ben Franklin's here as my means of yarn buying. Walmart only has baby weight and mostly worst 4, some 5 & 6 weights. That's it. I do have a Hobby Lobby about two hours from where I live but I rarely get there. I want to make a dress for my daughter that requires sport weight yarn. Perhaps we who have few options may need to buy online for the best stuff.

By CellMania — On Aug 18, 2010

@oceanswimmer: If you still can’t find the yarn you need, you can substitute. When you do that, you need to choose a yarn that is within the same weight class and has a similar fiber and gauge. If you know the weight, fiber, and gauge, that gives you an idea of other kinds that you can use.

Most patterns tell you what kind or weight of yarn to use.

By googie98 — On Aug 18, 2010

@oceanswimmer: If you have a Hobby Lobby in your area, they usually keep a great supply of yarn. I get all of mine there and they have always had what I needed.

By christym — On Aug 18, 2010

@oceanswimmer: Yes, there is a difference in sport weight yarn and worsted weight yarn. There are five basic categories of yarn weight. They are sport, DK, bulky, worsted, and fingering.

Sport weight yarn is a little heavier than the fingering yarn and is often used in afghans, baby items, and sweaters.

Worsted weight yarn is the most common of the five. It can be virtually used for anything. It is durable and works up quickly. It’s the best to work with if you are just learning to crochet or knit.

By OceanSwimmer — On Aug 18, 2010

I have been trying to find sport weight yarn for a crochet project that I am going to start. I've been to Wal-Mart and K-Mart but all they have is worsted weight yarn. Is there a huge difference?

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