How to knit with chunky yarn

Written by katelyn kelley
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How to knit with chunky yarn
Chunky yarn makes thick winter woollies. (Max Oppenheim/Digital Vision/Getty Images)

Chunky yarn, also known as bulky-weight yarn, is a thick yarn that can reduce knitting time because it forms such large stitches. A typical gauge for chunky yarn is about 14 stitches and 18 to 20 rows to 10 cm (4 inches) of knitting using size 3 to 4 needles. Chunky yarn is termed "12-ply" in the UK and Australia. Because of its thick texture, chunky yarn is useful for knitting winter accessories such as hats and scarves.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Chunky-weight yarn
  • Knitting needles between sizes 0 and 5
  • Ruler or measuring tape
  • Scissors
  • Knitting pattern (optional)

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  1. 1

    Review basic knitting instructions for casting on, the knit stitch and casting off.

  2. 2

    Select a needle size between 0 and 5, which is appropriate for chunky-weight yarn. If you are following a pattern, use the needle size recommended in the pattern to start.

  3. 3

    Knit a gauge swatch with the chunky yarn by casting on 20 stitches and knitting 20 rows.

  4. 4

    Measure the gauge swatch with your ruler to see how many stitches and rows you have to 2.5 cm (1 inch). If you are working with a pattern, compare your results with the gauge stated in the pattern.

  5. 5

    Plan your chunky-yarn project based on the final dimensions you want the item to have, now that you know how many stitches and rows equal 2.5 cm (1 inch). If you are following a pattern, change needle sizes and repeat the gauge swatch if your gauge does not match the one stated in the pattern.

Tips and warnings

  • If your gauge swatch has more stitches per centimetre than needed, choose a larger size needle. If you have less, choose a smaller size needle. Repeat the gauge swatch to check the measurements again.
  • Avoid using needles that are too small for the chunky weight yarn. They may split the fibre as you attempt to knit.

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