The following information will be of use to those translating older and vintage patterns for use with modern materials.
Needle Size Converter
Trying to find the corresponding imperial, US or metric needle size for a pattern?
|Imperial (UK)||Metric (mm)||U.S.|
Have an old pattern that specifies the quantity of wool required in ounces or pounds and you’d like to know how many grams to buy? The table below contains common weights rounded to the nearest gram.
Do remember that wool weight does not convert exactly between wool brands and that modern wool is often heavier than wool brands mentioned in older patterns; it pays to buy extra.
|20oz (1lb, 4oz)||567g|
|25oz (1lb, 9oz)||709g|
Although the thickness of a yarn differs between brand and type of wool, there are some terms found in older patterns that are not so familar today. Ultimately you need to ensure you have the correct tension for a pattern, this may mean experimenting with different wool and or needle size.
|Term||Ply equivalent||Wraps per Inch|
|Lace||Very fine yarn||18 or more|
|Fingering||3ply – 4ply||16 – 18|
|Aran***/Worsted**||about 10ply||about 12|
|Bulky/Chunky||13ply – 14ply||10|
* Sport weight is these days a heavy 4ply (or a light double-knit yarn) but in vintage patterns a double-knit is often the correct substitute.
** Worsted in a difficult term to pin down. These days it applies to heavier double-knit/10ply yarn but in many vintage patterns it seems to apply to a wool about the weight of 8ply.
*** Aran too is a less than consistently applied term. Yarns described as aran can differ considerably in thickness and weight.