Sport yarn sounds kinda fun, don’t you think? Like it’s the yarn used for sports rather than handicrafts. And while knitting marathon as a sports event is an intriguing thought, that’s not what the name sport refers to.
Instead sport weight yarn is a group of yarns in a certain thickness. The thickness of yarn is also called weight, so a heavy yarn means a thick yarn and a light yarn refers to a thin yarn.
Sport weight yarns are on the thinner side of the scale. Sport is placed between Fingering and DK, heavier than Fingering and lighter than DK.
The name sport comes from the fact that the yarns in this group are great for knitting garments for wearing outdoors. This weight of yarn is perfect for making sweaters, mitts, and hats for hiking or skiing. I can’t swear by this, but it sounds about right.
How to recognize a sport weight yarn
- The meterage is between 250 and 400 grams per meter.
- The yardage is between 300 and 360 grams per meter.
- Recommended knitting needles are US 2,5–6 / 3–4mm
- The gauge knit on recommended needles is about 23–26 stitches per 4 inches / 10 centimeters.
Information on recommended knitting needles and gauges as well as meterage/yardage are found on the yarn tag.
Keep in mind there is a bit of wiggle room in these numbers. It depends a bit on who you ask 🙂
Other names to look out for
There are a lot of different names for each of the yarn weights, and sport is no exception.
4 Ply and 5 Ply
These are names used in the UK and Australia.
In UK and Australia alike, 4 Ply means both fingering and sport weight yarns. But, in Australia 5 Ply is also used for sport weight.
Baby can mean both sport and fingering yarns, just like 4 Ply. The name baby yarn is often used in these two categories because these yarns are common for knitting and crocheting baby clothing.
In the USA, this yarn weight is also called 2 Fine. This term comes from the national yarn weight standard used in North America. Craft Yarn Council created this standard in collaboration with the yarn industry. Before, there were a lot of different ways to group yarns of similar weight together, and the standard made communication easier.
What can I knit with Sport weight yarn?
As mentioned above, sport weight yarns are popular for knitting baby clothes like cardigans, sweaters, booties, and hats. Thinner yarn weights are ideal for baby knits as it won’t make the small garments bulky. Another benefit is the little stitches that are unlikely to snag tiny fingers.
Sport is a little thicker than the often used fingering weight, which makes the projects a little warmer and a little faster to knit.
This yarn weight knits up beautifully in lighter sweaters and other clothing for adults, like the outdoorsy garments and accessories mentioned at the beginning.
The thin yarn makes knitting garments a slow process, but the tiny stitches make all details nice looking. You can use it for color knitting as well. A colorwork sweater/cardigan in a thicker yarn is often too hot, using a thinner yarn gives a nice detail to the pattern as well as a lighter garment.
Textured patterns also come out nice in this kind of yarn.
Which needles to use with sport weight yarn?
Recommended needle size for Sport weight yarn is usually US 2,5–6 / 3-4mm. But what needles to use depends a lot on your knitting style and the project you’re about to knit.
If you are following a knitting pattern you should use the needle size that gives you the gauge stated. If you get too many stitches per inch /10 centimeters you need larger needles, and vice versa, if you get too few stitches per inch / 10 centimeters you need smaller needles.
- Choose thin needles for knitting socks the tighter gauge will make the socks more durable.
- Shawls and scarves crave larger needles to create a soft and flowy fabric.
- For lace, you will want to use a large needle size to make the holes big enough for the lace pattern to open up.
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Sport weight knitting patterns
Classic candy corn
Classic Candy Corn is designed by Christie Archer and can be bought through Knitpicks.
The pattern includes instructions to knit the tee in the image, a longsleeved version, and a mid length.
Classic Candy Corn is knit with Heatherly Sport a merino acrylic blend that is available in a range of beautiful spring pastel colors!
Buy the pattern alone or add yarn in the colors of your choice with the Knitpics kit builder.
Pattern and kit builder is found here!
Veggie Patch Baby Cardigan
Knit this cute little cardigan using sport weight yarn. The patterned stripes add a little interest and are fun to knit!
Buy the Veggie Patch knitting pattern at Annie’s
Butterfly Baby Cloth
A cute little project to make for a baby and its new parents.
The pattern is a free download from Knitpicks, and if you want to you can easily add the yarn with their kit builder. The kit builder is found if you scroll down a bit on the pattern page!
Download the free pattern and buy yarn to go with it from Knitpicks
Sport crochet kits
Cuddle Bear Hooded Lovey
The cuddle bear hooded lovey is an adorable crochet project to make for a baby or toddler!
Download the free pattern or buy the yarn kit from Lion Brand Yarn
Granny Baby Throw crochet kit
The Granny Baby Throw is an easy project to crochet that looks beautiful.
If you don’t like to sew/crochet a lot of pieces together this kind of large granny square blanket is perfect!
Buy the Granny Baby Throw kit at Lion Brand Yarn
Tween Dream Scarf
The Tween Dream Scarf could honestly be a dream scarf for anyone! It’s crocheted in a fun color block design and the fringes are lovely!
Get the Tween Dream Scarf crochet kit from Lion Brand Yarn
Sport weight yarns
Cotton Fair is a DK weight, soft, and machine washable 100% cotton yarn for Premier® Yarns.
Try it for blankets, summer sweaters, baby clothing, dishcloths, or anything you want.
Buy Cotton Fair from Annie’s
Heatherly sport is an incredible soft merino and acryllic blend yarn.
The color palette of this yarn is out of this world… these the lovely pastels one can imagine!
Click here to enjoy all the colors and buy you some Heatherly Sport from Knitpicks!
Shine sport has a nice luster that reminds me of the shine of silk but at a much nicer price!
The shine highlights textured stitches and cables, but the yarn is also good for knitting colorwork.
This sport weight yarn is made of 60% Pima Cotton and 40% Modal natural beech wood fiber.
Pick your favorite color(s) of Shine Sport at Knitpicks
More to read about yarn weights
––> What is Fingering yarn? + yarn and kit suggestions!
––> What’s DK yarn?
––> What’s Super Bulky yarn? And what to make with it