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Worsted Weight Yarn Comparison

Link easily to this resource in your patterns: www.planetjune.com/wwyarn

Worsted weight acrylic yarn is what I use and recommend for my amigurumi designs. That’s 100% acrylic yarn, marked as worsted weightmedium weight, or number 4. (Outside North America, it may also be called 10 ply or aran weight.)

worsted weight acrylic yarns

That makes it sound pretty locked down, and that any yarn you choose that fits those requirements will be exactly the same. Of course, if you’ve ever touched, let alone used, two brands of worsted weight acrylic, you’ll know that’s not the case. Thickness, loft (bounciness), stretchiness, softness, shininess – all these properties vary wildly between different yarns all marked as worsted weight acrylic, and that’s why I usually recommend that you don’t mix yarns within an amigurumi.

worsted weight acrylic yarns
The same pattern, worked in different worsted weight acrylic yarns with the same hook, can produce a different-sized result. I crocheted these samples for my original worsted weight yarn comparison in 2012 – click through to see the detailed results of that experiment.

But buying all new yarn for every project isn’t practical, is it? Wouldn’t it be helpful if there was a way to know which yarns are similar enough to get away with mixing? That’s my goal with this ongoing project! The results are a living document; as I receive new samples, I’ll categorize them and add them to this list.

This resource is a comparison of yarns used for amigurumi (and to make afghans etc), to give you a better idea of which yarns may be mix-and-matchable in the same project, if you need a colour that you can’t find, or if you have yarns in your stash already and are hoping to avoid buying the same colour from a different brand.

worsted weight acrylic yarns

For this comparison, all the yarns I’ve used are:

  • weight: worsted weight / medium / #4
  • fibre: 100% acrylic
  • type: plied yarn (not unplied/roving or textured/novelty yarns)
As manufacturers have been known to change some yarns over time, I used the newest sample of each yarn that I had available, so these results are hopefully current. (I will add to and update these results as I acquire new samples.)

Categories

I’ve split the yarns by two measures:

Weight:

  • light worsted weight
  • worsted weight
  • heavy worsted weight

Appearance and Texture:

  • soft and shiny
  • slightly soft/shiny
  • sturdy and matte

Here’s an example from each of the categories (I’ve chosen samples for this photo that vary in both weight and appearance/texture):

worsted weight acrylic yarns - differences

Left:  light worsted weight  soft and shiny
Middle:  worsted weight  slightly soft/shiny
Right:  heavy worsted weight  sturdy and matte

Hopefully you can see the differences! Between the left and right samples there’s a huge difference in both thickness and appearance, and the middle sample lies somewhere between the two in both measures.

Table of Results

I’m listing the results of all my samples below, but it’s a very long list and not the most useful format to use. So, I’ve also compiled them into as a 3×3 table in a downloadable PDF file, with weight across the top and appearance/texture down the side. This is a free download that you can grab from my shop for no charge 🙂

Worsted Weight Yarn Comparison - a free 2 page PDF file by PlanetJune

I’ll keep the downloadable version updated as well as the list below, as and when I receive new yarns to include.

Last modified: September 2021

Yarn Brand Yarn name Weight Appearance/Texture
Bernat Satin light worsted soft and shiny
Big Twist Soft Touch light worsted soft and shiny
Caron Simply Soft light worsted soft and shiny
KnitPicks Brava Worsted1 light worsted soft and shiny
Lion Brand Heartland light worsted soft and shiny
Loops & Threads Colorwheel light worsted soft and shiny
Loops & Threads Soft & Shiny light worsted soft and shiny
Patons Canadiana light worsted soft and shiny
Premier Yarns Ever Soft light worsted soft and shiny
Red Heart Soft light worsted soft and shiny
Red Heart Soft Baby Steps light worsted soft and shiny
Lion Brand Jeans light worsted slightly soft/shiny
Lion Brand Basic Stitch Premium light worsted sturdy and matte
Willow Yarns Wash worsted soft and shiny
Lion Brand Basic Stitch Anti-Pilling worsted soft and shiny
Yarn Bee Soft & Sleek worsted soft and shiny
Baby Bee Soft & Sleek Baby worsted slightly soft/shiny
Crafter’s Square Acrylic Yarn worsted slightly soft/shiny
Hobby Lobby I Love This Yarn! worsted slightly soft/shiny
KnitPicks Brava Worsted2 worsted slightly soft/shiny
Lion Brand Mandala Ombre worsted slightly soft/shiny
Master Knit Victoria worsted slightly soft/shiny
Paintbox Yarns Simply Aran worsted slightly soft/shiny
Premier Yarns Everyday worsted slightly soft/shiny
Stylecraft Special Aran worsted slightly soft/shiny
Yarn Bee Soft Secret worsted slightly soft/shiny
Caron Big Cakes worsted sturdy and matte
Mainstays Basic Yarn worsted sturdy and matte
Red Heart Super Saver worsted sturdy and matte
Big Twist Soft heavy worsted slightly soft/shiny
Craft Smart Craft Yarn heavy worsted slightly soft/shiny
Craft Smart Value heavy worsted slightly soft/shiny
Lion Brand Vanna’s Choice heavy worsted slightly soft/shiny
Premier Yarns Just Yarn Worsted heavy worsted slightly soft/shiny
Red Heart Roll With It Tweed heavy worsted slightly soft/shiny
Red Heart With Love heavy worsted slightly soft/shiny
Big Twist Value heavy worsted sturdy and matte
Caron Jumbo heavy worsted sturdy and matte
Caron One Pound heavy worsted sturdy and matte
Caron United heavy worsted sturdy and matte
Herrschners Aran heavy worsted sturdy and matte
Lion Brand Pound of Love heavy worsted sturdy and matte
Loops & Threads Impeccable heavy worsted sturdy and matte
Premier Yarns Deborah Norville Serenity heavy worsted sturdy and matte

1 Labelled as Made in China or Made in Serbia
2 Labelled as Made in Turkey

Notes

How to Use This Table

This table is intended for guidance, to give you a good starting point as to how similar or different two specific worsted weight acrylic yarns may be. These results are somewhat subjective – based on the samples I’ve collected, I’ve evaluated the thickness, appearance and texture of the yarns to see which are close matches and which are completely different.

  • You should be able to mix and match any yarns within the same weight and appearance/texture category with good results.
  • You could probably mix and match yarns in the next category if necessary (e.g. ‘light worsted’ to ‘worsted’ or ‘soft and shiny’ to ‘slightly soft/shiny’).
  • I’d suggest you avoid mixing yarns at the extremes of my scales if possible, so don’t mix ‘light worsted’ and ‘heavy worsted’ yarns, or ‘soft and shiny’ yarns with ‘sturdy and matte’ yarns.

I’ve only analysed one sample of each yarn, in one colour. Some yarns have slight but noticeable differences in weight, texture or sheen between different colours of the same yarn, or over time, as the manufacturers make unannounced changes. All this to say, my analysis is not 100% guaranteed! Yarns can change over time, and slight differences in weight, softness, etc are likely between colours, even if you stick to one brand of yarn and buy all the colours at the same time.

Please don’t get too obsessed with trying to match yarns exactly – it’s not necessary, and perhaps not even possible! Provided you don’t mix very thick and very thin yarns, or very soft and very sturdy yarns, or very shiny and very matte yarns, you should be fine for most projects 🙂

Tip: Although I’ve only included yarns marked as worsted weight/medium/#4), some yarns labelled as DK/light/#3 are the same weight as the light worsted yarns, and some labelled as aran, or chunky/bulky/#5 are the same weight as the heavy worsted yarns, so you may also have further options for mix-and-matching if you look at nominally lighter or heavier yarns.

Observations

In my samples, at least, there seems to be a correlation between the thickness of the yarn and how soft and shiny it is: the lighter yarns tend to be smoother and shinier, while the heavier yarns tend to be sturdier and more matte. So this may help you decide which end of the scale is more suitable for your project: for a wearable project or decorative piece, a softer, shinier yarn may be more appealing, whereas for a sculptural piece or something that will see a lot of wear, you may prefer the sturdiness of a heavier, less shiny yarn. (Or vice versa – make the choice that seems best for you!)

About the Yarn Brands

Many of the yarns I’ve tested are big brands that can be found online and in-store at many craft and yarn shops. Some of the yarn brands, however, are store brands that are only available from a specific shop:
  • Jo-Ann: Big Twist
  • Michaels: Craft Smart, Loops & Threads
  • Hobby Lobby: Baby Bee, Hobby Lobby, Yarn Bee
  • Herrschners: Herrschners, Willow Yarns
  • WalMart: Mainstays
  • Dollar stores: Crafters Square

What’s Missing?

This comparison will be most useful if I can keep it up to date with the yarns that you like to use. And here’s where you can help with that! Do you have some worsted weight acrylic yarn samples you’d like me to add to the list?

Please send me about 1 yard (or 1 metre) of your yarn (preferably not white, black, or very dark colours), with a note identifying the brand and name of the yarn, and your name and email address so I can thank you! If you’re sending more than one sample, please send a different colour of each, or label each strand of yarn individually, so I can identify which is which. You can find my PO Box address on my contact page.

I’d recommend you don’t tie the yarn into bundles – try to keep it flat by laying it inside a folded piece of paper/card so you can hopefully save on shipping and send it as lettermail. Don’t worry about the yarn tangling – I can fix that if necessary!

Thanks for helping me maintain this resource for all of us.🙂


1 Comment »

  1. Susan Jackson said

    Hi June!
    I thoroughly enjoyed reading your yarn analysis! You’re incredibly detailed and so clear in explaining! I just wanted to say Thank you! and Wow! You’re Awesome, June!
    Kind Regards from Texas

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