The weight conversion chart

One of the issues New Zealand knitters often face is finding a suitable replacement yarn for an overseas pattern.  It’s not always possible to obtain the same yarn as noted in the pattern, so the quest begins to look for a yarn that matches it in weight and tension performance.

Here’s a table that I have put together that I find useful when matching yarn:

US yarn weight NZ/UK equivalent Gauge/tension guide (stitches per 10cm, or 4in) Recommended metric needle size
Lace 2 ply, lace 33-40 1.5 – 2.25mm
Sock, fingering, baby 4 ply, baby, sock 27-32 2.25 – 3.25mm
Sport, baby 4 ply, 5 ply 23-26 3.25 – 3.75mm
DK, Light worsted 8 ply, DK 21-24 3.75 – 4.5mm
Worsted, aran, afghan 10 ply, aran, 12 ply 16-20 4.5 – 5.5mm
Chunky, craft, rug 12 ply, 14 ply, chunky 12-15 5.5 – 8mm
Bulky, roving Super chunky 6-11 8mm and larger

I’ve used the Craft Yarn Council’s Standards to reference all my US weights and gauge and needle recommendations.

This chart generally helps me to work out what I can use as a replacement yarn for US patterns.

The only note of caution I’d add to this is around the DK yarns.  Quite a few New Zealand yarn brands sell yarn as “DK” when the tension is closer to the lighter end of an American worsted weight.  Look at the ball band for the tension recommendation if the yarn looks a little chunky for a true DK weight.  It will usually say to knit to a tension of 20 stitches per 10cm.

Hope that’s useful.

3 thoughts on “The weight conversion chart

  1. Thanks so much for that list. I’m just back in NZ from overseas and was a little confused as I walked around the Mill Shop in Milton the other day and was trying to work out what would work with various yarns that they had.

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