What is DK Yarn - A Helpful Guide for Beginners (2023)

Beginners in the knitting and crocheting world often ask, “What is DK yarn?” and “When should I use it?” Learning the answers to these questions is essential for you to accomplish your knitting and crocheting projects successfully. This article will provide you with those basic pieces of knowledge and more, including the DK yarns available in the market that you should consider purchasing.

What is DK Yarn - A Helpful Guide for Beginners (1)


  • What is DK Yarn - An Overview
    • What Does DK Stand For?
    • What is DK Yarn Weights Equivalents
    • How to Identify DK Yarn?
    • What is DK Yarn's Guage?
    • DK Yarn vs Worsted Weight Yarn
    • Why Use DK Weight Yarn
  • More About Yarn Weights
  • What Needle Sizes or Crochet Hooks Should You Use With DK Yarn?
    • What is DK Yarn Crochet Hook Sizes?
    • What is DK Yarn Knitting Needle Sizes?
  • What Can You Make With DK Weight Yarn?
  • What is DK Yarn's Best Brands
    • Bernat Softee Baby DK Yarn
    • Lion Brand Ice Cream Big Scoop DK Yarn
    • Lion Brand Comfy Cotton Blend Yarn
    • Patons Classic Wool DK Superwash
    • Rowan Felted Tweed DK
    • Alpaca Warehouse Blend Alpaca Yarn Wool Set
  • What is DK Yarn - In Summary

What is DK Yarn - An Overview

DK yarn (or double knitting yarn) is a weight of yarn found mainly in the UK which is also called 8ply in Australia and New Zealand, and light yarn or light worsted in the US. It is considered to be a category 3, light to medium weight of yarn and is particularly popular for knitters. These numerical classifications are decided by the Craft Yarn Council.

What Does DK Stand For?

The DK stands for double knit or double knitting.

If you’re familiar with or have read about the double knitting (DK) technique, keep in mind that it’s different from the DK yarn. This method of knitting involves simultaneously creating two various hand-knit layers of fabric and only using one needle. On the other hand, the term DK yarn refers to the yarn’s weight.

What is DK Yarn Weights Equivalents

DK yarn is the UK equivalent of the USA’s light-worsted or lightweight yarn and Australia’s eight-ply yarn. Some manufacturers also label it as light or size 3.

The DK yarn has 11 to 17 wraps per inch (wpi), so you’ll expect a 100-gram (3.5oz) ball of yarn to have a length ranging from 200 to 250 meters (219 to 273 yards). Since DK yarn is mainly found in the UK, the label will most likely have metric measurements on the band.

DK YarnLight-worsted
or lightweight
or size 3

When it comes to what is DK yarn compared to other yarn weights, it is heavier or thicker than the sport weight yarn but lighter or thinner than the worsted weight yarns. Two strands of DK yarn can be used as a substitute for worsted weight yarn.

How to Identify DK Yarn?

The easiest way to tell if you have a DK yarn is to look at the label. If it doesn't specifically say DK, look for terms such as 8 ply, category 3 or light. If you are still not sure if your yarn is DK weight, pull the twisted strands apart to see if you have 8-plies.

What is DK Yarn's Guage?

If the yarn has no label because you lost it or the manufacturer simply didn’t include it, you can work with an average DK gauge which will help you in substitution. To assess the knitting gauge, make a swatch of 10cm (4inches) in stockinette stitch. A DK yarn will have an average of 21 to 24 stitches per 10cm (4 inches).

DK Yarn vs Worsted Weight Yarn

Worsted weight yarn is a category 4 yarn and is thicker than DK yarn. Worsted weight yarn is also called 10ply while DK yarn is called 8 ply. Some manufacturers refer to DK yarn as light worsted yarn.

Why Use DK Weight Yarn

DK yarn is extremely popular with knitters as it is readily available all year round from a large number of brands. Acrylic DK yarns are cheap and great for learning how to crochet or knit.

More About Yarn Weights

  • Types of Yarns
  • Worsted Weight Yarn
  • Yarn Ply
  • Yarn Weights

What Needle Sizes or Crochet Hooks Should You Use With DK Yarn?

Using the right knitting needle sizes and crochet hook size is essential to achieve the correct stitch your project requires. Always look at the DK yarn label for the manufacturer's suggestions.

What is DK Yarn Crochet Hook Sizes?

For DK yarn, the best size ranges from 4.5 to 5.5 mm. This is equivalent to a gauge of 7-9 (UK/Canada) and 7 to I-9 (US).

What is DK Yarn - A Helpful Guide for Beginners (2)

What is DK Yarn Knitting Needle Sizes?

If you are knitting with DK yarn, then the best size needles are 3.75-4.5mm. This is equivalent to a 5-7 US size.

What is DK Yarn - A Helpful Guide for Beginners (3)

What Can You Make With DK Weight Yarn?

This versatile, light weight yarn is not exclusively used for projects requiring the double-knitted technique. The great thing about this yarn is that it’s resilient enough to withstand common wear and tear and won't pill much. Due to its weight, it creates a nice stitch definition.

Some of the most popular projects you can craft with DK yarn are lightweight scarves, cowls, baby clothing and blankets, socks, and hats, as well as mid-weight shawls and mittens, perfect for fall, spring, and summer. You can also make lightweight sweaters and cardigans.

What is DK Yarn's Best Brands

Now that you have a good understanding of what is DK yarn, when to use it, and what suggested needles and hooks to use, it’s time to begin your projects.

While you can always opt for any DK yarn, high-quality yarn produces quality results, so you’ll enjoy crafting more and improve your skills faster. With this in mind, below are some of the highly recommended DK yarns for crocheting and knitting.

Bernat Softee Baby DK Yarn

Bernat Yarn is a brand that offers safety-certified yarns perfect for most projects. As the name implies, the baby line is the best choice for those of you who plan on crocheting and knitting baby items.

Made with 100% soft acrylic, the Bernat Softee Baby DK Yarn is easy to maintain since you can wash and dry it in the machine set to delicate. You’ll find that it’s available in multiple colors, such as pumpkin, petunia, and bright sky.

Knitting-needle-wise, the manufacturer recommends that you use a number 6, while for crocheting, go for the 4-millimeter hook size.

Lion Brand Ice Cream Big Scoop DK Yarn

The Lion Brand is yet another established company that offers yarns perfect for crafting baby items. The Ice Cream Big Scoop is also made of machine-friendly acrylic but a little more expensive than the Bernat Softee Baby.

Aptly named, this line of lightweight yarn comes in unique color combinations that somewhat resemble ice cream. For instance, the strawberry color contains baby pink and white, while the cake batter palette blends baby blue, sky blue, white, and baby pink.

Lion Brand recommends you use a crochet hook with a five-millimeter (H-8) gauge and a knitting needle with a (No. 5) 3.75-millimeter gauge.

Lion Brand Comfy Cotton Blend Yarn

Another entry from the family-owned business Lion Brand, the Comfy Cotton Blend contains 50% cotton and 50% polyester. It’s perfect for knitting and crocheting summer and spring garments and accessories. Not only is the yarn absorbent, but also durable, machine-washable, and soft.

Another great thing about the Lion Brand Comfy Cotton Blend Yarn is its selection of flecked colorways. Beginners won’t have problems combining and using several colors. Nonetheless, this line also comes in plain colors.

When using this yarn, the suggested gauges are (J-10) six millimeters for crocheting and (No. 7) 4.5 millimeters for knitting.

Patons Classic Wool DK Superwash

If you prefer to craft warmer sweaters, scarves, baby blankets, and more, the Classic Wool DK Superwash Yarn by Patons is an excellent choice. Of course, you can also make stunning home decor pieces with this yarn.

The Patons Classic Wool DK Superwash is machine washable and dryable using a delicate setting since it’s made from 100% authentic wool. You would need a four-millimeter crochet hook and knitting needle to use this yarn successfully.

In comparison to the last three yarns, the Patons yarn is available in more classic colors, such as mocha, teal, white, and black. You can also find varieties with a mix of several colors. For instance, the autumn spice combines red, brown, eggplant, and more, while the welsh coat is a mixture of eggplant, brown, green, and more.

Rowan Felted Tweed DK

This England-based company has been in the business since 1978 and already manufactured a good line of DK yarn available in 98 shades. That said, it only introduced the Felted Tweed DK line in 2002 with only 12 different shades. It became so popular that Rowan created more palettes, having a current count of 50.

So, what is the DK yarn by Rowan popular for? The most outstanding feature of the Rowan Felted Tweed DK is its “tweed” effect, giving your end product a rustic look. What’s even better is that comfort and warmth aren’t compromised, thanks to the different fibers it’s made of: 25% alpaca, 25% viscose, and 50% lightly felted wool.

Available colorways range from nature-inspired tones to cool watery ones. You’ll also find warm colors like fiery ginger and cherry red. Definitely, you’ll find colors that will match any season.

The only issue with the Rowan Felted Tweed DK is you can’t tumble it dry, though you can wash it in the machine.

Alpaca Warehouse Blend Alpaca Yarn Wool Set

A family-operated business based in the US, Alpaca Warehouse has been famous for importing and selling Peruvian products at an affordable price. When it comes to Alpaca Warehouse’s advantage over the others, that is their products come with a 30-day guarantee. As such, you’re rest assured that they stay true to what they claim the yarn offers.

This particular DK wool yarn set contains three steins, each weighing 1.76 ounces or 50 grams. You can choose from 14 plain colors, including baby pink, beige, black, ivory, navy blue, and red.

The custom-made yarn contains 45% acrylic, 5% wool, and 50% alpaca. Hence, it’s hypoallergenic, durable, lightweight, soft, and breathable, perfect for crafting baby and adult garments.

What is DK Yarn - In Summary

DK is a light to medium weight yarn that allows you to craft decorations, accessories, and fall, summer, and spring garments. Its thickness or weight also assures it will be gentle on your baby's skin, especially if the yarn is made of hypoallergenic fibers.

You'll find a wide selection of brands producing DK yarn, but beginners can greatly benefit from the list above. All the brands included are established and have made a name in the industry because of their yarn lines’ outstanding features.

Choose what works best for your specific project by considering the yarn’s durability, breathability, color selection, and versatility. In terms of budget, you can purchase yarn individually or in sets. Hopefully, we've helped you understand better what is DK yarn and ensured you use it with the correct needle and hook sizes.

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