DK Weight Yarn: What It Is and Where To Find It

If you’re a new crocheter, you might be overwhelmed with how much there is to learn. It seems like every pattern is just a mess of abbreviations. And that can be hard to figure out if you don’t know where to start. Never fear! I’m glad to help you learn the ins and outs of the crochet world, and today, we are going to be talking about the abbreviation DK. Or, more specifically, DK weight yarn.

DK should not to be confused with the abbreviation DC, which, you probably have already figured out, stands for a double crochet stitch.

DK on the other hand is one of the abbreviations that does not refer to a type of stitch. It’s actually the thickness, or weight, of the yarn.

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What is DK Weight Yarn? 

The short answer is “double knitting” yarn. At least, that’s what it stands for. Double knitting is a knitting technique that uses two strands of different colored yarn to create a fabric that is a different color on each side. 

Wait, this is a crochet blog, right? 

Yes, don’t worry. The double knit stitch is just where DK yarn gets its name from.

In reality, DK Weight is just a standard name for the particular thickness of yarn. (The kind that’s usually used for double knitting.)

DK yarn is fairly thin, which makes it great for doubling up without making the project too bulky. 

DK Yarn vs. Sport weight yarn

Sometimes, if a pattern is not specific, figuring out the weight of yarn you should be using can get confusing. Especially with baby items. Since DK weight yarn is used in a lot of baby clothing projects, you may be tempted to go for “baby yarn” (a common name for sport weight yarn).

But be careful! Sport weight yarn is a thinner class of yarn than DK weight, and making this substitution can throw off your gauge. Possibly enough that the garment will come out too small. Make sure to read your pattern carefully before choosing yarn.

DK yarn vs. Worsted weight yarn

Another common mistake people make when choosing yarn is the difference between DK weight yarn and Worsted weight yarn.

Sometimes a pattern will call for “light worsted” yarn, which is another common name for DK weight yarn.

If you were to use a worsted weight instead of a light worsted weight, your gauge would be different again, this time in the opposite direction. Using a worsted weight yarn in place of a DK weight yarn will make your project come out bigger than intended. 

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So What Size IS DK weight yarn?

The best way to tell if you’re picking out the right weight of yarn, then, is to pay attention to the Craft Yarn Council category. It’s usually printed on the bottom of the yarn’s label. DK weight yarn falls into the #3-Light category. The symbol for this is a ball of yarn with a number 3 inside. 

What Ply is DK yarn?

If you’re trying to find the correct yarn for a DK weight pattern in the Australia/New Zealand standard, you’ll be looking for an 8 ply yarn. 

However, UK and US stitchers, don’t be worried if your DK yarn doesn’t have 8 plies of fibers spun together. This is not the standard anymore. Yarn manufacturers have experimented with different sizes and numbers of strands being spun together to get the same effect. As long as the finished weight of the yarn is the correct size, the actual number of plies doesn’t matter.

Where to find DK weight yarn ( and my favorites!)

DK weight yarn is very common for crochet and knitting patterns, so it’s widely available and easy to find. 

If you’re one of those people who needs to see and feel your yarn before you make a decision, stores like Joann’s, Michael’s and Hobby Lobby will have a good amount of options for you. But if you’d rather have the widest selection available, I love ordering my yarn from Lion Brand or We Crochet. 

My recommendations (aka. my FAVORITE DK Weight Yarns

  1. Mandala by Lion Brand. Mandala is a 100% acrylic yarn with a gradient colorway. It’s great for scarves, hats, and other accessories where sometimes one color just doesn’t cut it! (Plus, most of them are named after mythical creatures which just adds to the charm, I think.)
  2. Truboo by Lion Brand. Truboo is a very soft, 100% bamboo yarn that comes in a variety of light colors, making it perfect for spring and summer garments. 
  3. Superwash Merino Yarn by Lion Brand. Superwash Merino is a 100% merino wool yarn that is nice and soft and warm, and even machine washable, making it a good choice for a variety of project types. 
  4. Comfy Cotton Blend by Lion Brand. Comfy Cotton Blend is a a 50% Cotton, 50% Polyester blend that has a few plain color options, but draws yarn artists in with it’s gradient options that are plied together with neutrals to give the finished product a beautiful speckled look. 
  5. Swish DK by We Crochet. Swish DK is a 100% merino wool yarn that is super soft and great for baby garments and blankets, or for stitching with multiple strands to blend colors. There are currently over 40 beautiful rich colors to choose from. 
  6. Gloss DK by We Crochet. Gloss DK is a 70% Merino wool, 30% Silk blend that makes for a soft, luxurious yarn with a slight sheen and elegant draping of the finished project. The beautiful jewel tones available are perfect for dressy fall and winter garments, like cardigans or sweaters. 

What is DK yarn used for?

I know I listed a lot of different types of projects in the last section that different DK yarns can be used for…

But that’s because you really can use it for pretty much anything!

DK is very easy to handle, even for new crocheters. Because of the weight, it works up faster than fine yarns while still being able to create a nice, thin, pliable fabric. 

Here are a couple of my patterns that were specifically created with and for DK weight yarn.

DK weight yarn patterns

pink and purple amore shawl, made with DK Weight Mandala Yarn

This Amore Shawl was made from Lion Brand Mandala yarn. It’s a triangle shawl pattern with a lace design that looks intricate but is really just a combination of mostly double crochet, chains, and slip stitches, shaped together to form little lace hearts.  

blue and pink cotton candy cardigan made with DK weight Truboo yarn

This Cotton Candy Cardigan was made from Lion Brand Truboo yarn. However, you can actually use any yarn you want for this pattern. I teach you how to adjust it to fit perfectly based on the gauge of whatever yarn you use. But I just couldn’t resist these Truboo colors, and I love how it feels after it’s worked into fabric. 

DK Yarn Substitutions

Just one last quick tip about DK yarn before we are done. If you’ve ever been totally in love with a yarn, but it just wasn’t the right size for the project you wanted to make with it, you know that substituting yarn sizes is sometimes a necessary evil. Here are the substitutions I recommend that involve DK weight yarn.

To use DK weight yarn on a project that calls for worsted weight yarn, double up and work two strands of the DK yarn together. This works best for solid colors, but it can have a cool effect if you are using gradient colorways. 

To use a thinner yarn for a pattern that calls for DK weight, two strands of sock yarn or two strands of sport yarn will come close to the correct size. It will vary a little depending on the particular yarn you use (because sock and sport can be very close in size!)

Just remember, whenever you are making yarn substitutions, it’s important to do a test swatch first so you can make sure you can obtain the correct gauge for the pattern. 

Psst… If getting the gauge figured out scares you, check out my free email course:

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I hope that answers any questions you have about DK weight yarn. If there’s anything else you’d like to know, feel free to ask in the comments. If you have a question, chances are someone else is looking for the answer too!

Happy crocheting!

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