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What Is DK Yarn?

January 26, 2022 5 min read

A guide to DK yarn
If you're new to knitting, it's easy to be overwhelmed by the jargon! One term that you might have seen used is DK wool or DK yarn. But what is DK wool anyway? Let's take a closer look and unravel this knitting mystery...


  1. What is double knitting yarn?
  2. What ply is double knit yarn?
  3. What can I knit with double knit yarn?
  4. How much DK yarn do I need for a project?
  5. What size crochet hook should I use for DK yarn?
  6. What size knitting needle should I use for DK yarn?

What does double knitting mean?

DK stands for double knit yarn or wool. You might still see the term "double knit wool" in older knitting patterns. Most modern patterns and yarns just use the initials DK. To understand what DK yarn is, first you'll have to know about ply. This is a term used in the world of knitting and crochet to describe the weight of yarn. DK yarn is twice the thickness of sock yarn. Historically, sock yarn was easier to get hold of, but it is very thin. Knitters would use it held double to make a thicker garment, which is where the name double knit wool comes from.

As a quick note, you might have heard of the term double knitting to refer to a particular knitting technique. This involves using two colours of yarn together to create a reversible project. It has nothing to do with DK yarn, so don't let it confuse you!

What ply is double knit?

Generally, a ply is a single strand of yarn. When two or more plies are twisted together, they create a thicker yarn that is then knitted or crocheted into different projects. The higher the number, the more plies and the thicker the yarn. Some very thick yarns can have 16 plies or more.

DK yarn is 8-ply, which makes it a light to medium weight. It is usually sold in balls of 50g, and there will generally be around 100 - 125m of yarn per ball. This is not always true, though. Ply refers to the thickness of the yarn, not its composition. You might find some very lightweight, airy DK yarns made of finer fibres like silk or alpaca, which weigh less than cotton, merino, or wool.

Is 4ply the same as DK?

4ply and DK (Double Knitting) are two different yarn weights commonly used in knitting. 4ply is a lighter weight yarn and DK is approximately double the weight of 4ply. DK yarn is widely preferred for various garments due to its versatility and quicker knitting properties. Understanding the distinction between these yarn weights enables knitters to choose the right yarn for their projects.

What is double knit yarn good for making?

What is double knit wool used for, you might ask? The answer is just about anything and everything! DK yarn is very versatile, and can be used for a wide number of projects. It is thick enough to be suitable for beginners, but it is not so bulky that it gives unwieldly results. It has become one of the most popular weights of yarn sold worldwide, thanks to its versatility.

You can use DK yarn to make jumpers and cardigans for children and adults. These will generally be fairly lightweight, suitable for spring or autumn weather but not deep winter. Using light, easy-wearing cotton or linen DK yarn, you can also make tops for summer wear. Ambitious knitters can even make dresses!

DK wool can be used to make accessories, too. DK yarn can be used for scarves and hats. It is too thick to be used for normal socks for everyday wear. However, you might find knitting patterns that use DK to make thick house socks, or even felted slippers. If your pattern calls for the finished item to be felted, make sure you're using pure wool, and that it has not been given the superwash treatment.

DK yarn can also be used to make clothes for babies. However, it may be too thick for many babies' accessories like hats and scarves. DK yarn is ideal for babies' blankets. It can be used for large blankets, too, but knitters often prefer a thicker yarn. However, these bulky wools are not suitable for babies, who are sensitive to heat. DK yarn is perfect. Just remember, if you are making anything for babies with DK yarn, pay attention to the composition. Pure wool can be scratchy on delicate skin. Always look for yarn with a superwash treatment, suitable for machine washing. Parents of newborns don't usually have time to handwash delicate garments!

How much double knitting wool do I need?

Before starting a project, always make sure you have enough yarn. Most patterns will tell you how much yarn you will need, although it can be a good idea to have one ball spare to be on the safe side. If you're working without a pattern, you'll need to calculate the amount of yarn you need. This can vary from pattern to pattern, but here's a rough guide of how much DK yarn you will need to make a jumper, a scarf, and more:

Project Yarn in metres
ProjectHat Yarn in metres180 - 230
ProjectScarf Yarn in metres340 - 450
ProjectSocks Yarn in metres250 - 360
ProjectShawl Yarn in metres340 - 500
ProjectAdult jumper Yarn in metres1000 - 1500
ProjectBaby blanket Yarn in metres1000 - 1200
ProjectLarge blanket Yarn in metres2700 - 3200

Remember, the exact amount of yarn that you need will vary according to a number of different factors. If you're making a garment, then size will play a part. Your knitting gauge will also affect the amount that you need. Every knitter's gauge is different, and you may be a naturally tighter or looser knitter. Finally, consider the type of pattern you're making. Some stitches, such as ribbing, require more yarn than plain stockinette or garter stitch. Cabled patterns require more yarn, while lace patterns tend to use less. All of this should be considered, to ensure that you have the right amount of yarn for your project.

If you are working from a pattern written for DK yarn, you can substitute other yarn weights with some simple mathematics. To convert 4 ply to double knitting weight, you will need to use two strands held double. This means you'll want twice the amount of yarn to complete the pattern.

What size crochet hook should I use for DK yarn?

When crocheting with DK yarn, you will generally want to use a hook size of 4.5 - 5.5 mm. However, this will vary according to the pattern that you're making. If you crochet with a larger hook, you'll create a lighter, airier fabric. This gives a lacy effect that can be very attractive in some patterns such as shawls. On the other hand, crocheting with a smaller hook gives a tighter fabric. This is ideal for making projects that require tight texture. For example, if you are crocheting a hat or a basket, it will need to stand up on its own, and should be made with a smaller hook.

What is DK weight yarn

What size needles should I use for double knitting wool?

Most projects written for DK yarn specify needles of 3.5 - 4.5 mm. The smaller the needles, the tighter the fabric; larger needles will create a looser fabric with a drapey effect. Before getting started, it's a good idea to knit a gauge swatch. This lets you see if you are knitting too loosely or tightly for the pattern; in this case, you'll want to change to a different needle size. This is less important if you're making an unfitted pattern like a scarf or blanket, but in the case of garments like jumpers or cardigans, it's essential.

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