Defining Ply of Yarn with Crocheting

Yarn ply is a spinning technique which takes a single strand of yarn to create various size and colors of yarn. In the picture example, I have taken the individual strands of yarn apart so you can see what ply mean.
  • 4-ply is 4 strands of yarn. Crochet hooks sizes I recommend for 4-ply are G,H, I, J, K. 4-ply is used with warm hats, mittens and heavy sweaters.
  • 3-ply is 3 strands of yarn. Crochet hook sizes I recommend for 3-ply are D, E, F. 3-ply is what I use for baby booties, sweaters, hats and afghans. 3-ply is also a nice weight for adult size sweaters or a lighter weight afghan.
  • 2-ply is 2 strands of yarn. Crochet hook sizes I recommend for 2-ply are B, C, D. The 2-ply is a very light or sportweight type of yarn. 2-ply is the type of yarn used in most commercial type of knit sweaters. 2-ply would be a good weight for crochet or knit socks. It would not be to light or to heavy.
These hook and yarn recommendations are just what I have found to work the best. If you can get a size B hook to work with 8-ply yarn, then that is just another combination of materials that work together. Don't ever let a recommendation stop you from trying something different.

There are many different types of yarn to work with. The companies are coming up with new and different types of yarn the time.

Keep in mind that different yarns will affect the outcome and size of your project. One example I can think of is Caron 4-ply and Red Heart 4-ply. Both are great yarns to work with. Red Heart is stiffer and works up larger than Caron which is softer and more flexible. I have made a granny square out of each from the same pattern, hook and there is a difference in size. The Red Heart square turned out larger. You can use 3-ply yarn with a pattern that calls for 4-ply yarn. All you will need to do is gauge and adjust your project for the smaller size yarn.


  1. Thanks so much. How do these yarns compare to crochet thread? I know there is thread size 3, 10, 20 or higher -- I think those very thin ones are for tatting or lace making.
    Personally I find the ply yarns that you describe seem to 'stretch' more than the thread. So ply yarns are easier to work with, for me.
    What do you recommend for amirugumi?

  2. cynthia,
    You are welcome. Yarn and Thread each have their place with crocheting. Yarn is more flexible and larger. Thread has less give. Yarn is used with hats and blankets. Thread is used more for fine detailed pieces like doilies.

  3. Hello Teresa,

    And thank you for the tips on the different plys of yarn. I was wondering 'in general' though. What type of yarn do you use for most of your regular projects?

    I've heard mixed reviews for the Red Heart yarn, although I notice you recommended it here.

    Thank you for your time.

    A fellow crocheter

  4. Anonymous,
    I use 4-ply for regular projects. I like the Red Heart for demonstrations because it holds it's shape. I like it for hats and granny squares. I like Caron because it is nice and soft. Red Heart has come out with a nice and soft yarn like Caron. Both of those are great for hats or baby afghans.

    The reason I really like the standard Red Heart is because it holds its shape while you are working with it. I hear people tell me that it is stiff but that can be taken care of after the project is complete. I have taken a couple dryer sheets and thrown them in the dryer with the afghan and they soften it up really well. It can be washed with fabric softener and that will work too. When I was working with my flower afghan several years back, I threw it in the dryer with dryer sheets before I had finished. It made it nice and soft but loosened the shape up quite a bit.

  5. Thank you Teresa for your reply.

    I was so wondering about the Red Heart Supersaver, but wasn't very sure, because I'd read some negative reviews about it's roughness of texture. But it'd seemed to me like a nice practicle yarn to use.

    Thanks for the tips about softening the yarn. Really appreciate it.

    I remember seeing that Flower Afghan you were talking about(on youtube), if it's the same one, and loved it!

  6. Anonymous,
    It is the one with flower hexagon puff stitch and green background. That afghan is at least 15 years old and still very soft to this day. It has held up really well. All the afghans that were shown in that video were done with Red Heart yarn.


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Abstract Crochet Cats

Crochet Baby Beanie Cap - Half-Double Crochet

Larksfoot Crochet Blanket Pattern Stitch - Baby Afghan