4 ply yarn refers to 4 thin strands that are combined to create a single strand meeting your required thickness. Because of the structure, combined ply yarns are stronger than single yarns even if they have the same thickness.
What is 4 ply yarn & Why is it unique?
When the yarn is looped, you have an option either you want a yarn with a single strand of your required thickness or you want to combine several thin strands to create a yarn of the same thickness to make it stronger. Apart from being stronger, combined ply yarn also becomes durable. Confused between the terms yarn and thread? Check this.
The combining process is done by twisting the strands in the opposite direction of the main spin. You can perform the process both by hand and machine.
Years ago, this system used to be the finest way to find the weight, size, and thickness of yarn for a specific pattern. As there is a lot of option available for fibers today, this system does not work accurately. But now, 4 ply yarn is known as a popular type of fabric for knitters.
The more strands the yarn has, the stronger, smoother, durable, and fuller the yarn will be. On the other hand, the fewer strands the yarn has, the fluffier the yarn will become. Besides, you have an option to determine how much strength you want your yarn to have by choosing the number of the strand.
It is an important fact that this ply is not a major factor when the durability or the overall quality is concerned. There can be a larger number of strands in a yarn yet not that durable if it is poorly constructed or constructed with weak fiber. The ply means just the number of strands used to create the yarn.
Double Knit (DK) Yarn
The term double knit yarn also termed DK refers to the weight of the wool. Typically, the weight lies between worsted weight and sport yarn. It means its weight spans between light and medium. This yarn is ideal for double knitting projects, this why it’s called double knit yarn or double knitting wool.
To form a double knit, you have to tie two strands of fabrics together with the help of multiple needles. Thus, you will have finished two-faced fabrics. When the quality of DK is concerned, it is a firm, stable and durable yarn. The yarn is more suitable for lightweight garments and summer clothes.
Double knit is ideal for beginners as they are easier to knit with. Unlike some other light yarns, the double knit hardly rolls, thank their structure. You might not have a lot of issues with wrinkles and so no need to iron too frequently.
How to substitute yarn
For substituting yarn, there are three things that you have to keep in your mind. The first one is called fiber types, such as synthetic fiber, cellulose fiber, or animal fiber. Whether you change the type of yarn the pattern requires, you should not change the type of fiber they are suggesting.
If they are using wool for that specific pattern, you should choose from any of the animal fibers. And in that case, it is better if you use wool, wool blend, angora, cashmere, alpaca fiber.
Also, if they are using plant fiber like cotton, you need to stay with cotton, bamboo, corn, and linen yarn. And if they are going with acrylic yarn, you will have a lot of options to stay with that.
To know what type of yarn you have, just look at the package. They must have that kind of information there. Now there can be confusion. Like some yarn is made of 60% wool and 40% acrylic yarn. What kind of substitute yarn do you need?
You can go with both wool or acrylic types of yarn. But it might be better for you to go with wool or any other animal fiber in that case.
The next thing that requires your attention is the yarn weight which will give you a gauge. That information about yarn weight is also mentioned in the package, you might find that as a graphic or something like that.
Now the last thing you need to consider is the needle size. Even though the type and weight of yarn are going to match your project if you choose the wrong type of needles that can be a mess.
If you increase the size of the needle, the fabric will be floppy and holey as well. The thing that will not matter at all, is the color of yarn you are using.
How to convert 4-ply to double knitting
Before converting 4 ply yarn to double knitting, you need to go through a lot of things like substituting yarns, type of yarns, type of pattern you are going to work on, and so on. Although what kind of yarn you are going to use is not going to matter if the yarn weight is correct for that specific pattern.
When you choose the pattern, you will be working on, you already know what kind of yarn you need to choose. But that does not stop you from using a different type of yarn. Now if you want to convert 4 ply yarn to DK, the converting process is simple.
To get a specific weight for your specific pattern with 4 ply yarn, you just have to double the yarn. And that might work just fine. But if it doesn’t, you have to make a gauge swatch and see if you are getting the gauge the pattern needs. If you think you can go with this gauge for that specific pattern, go ahead.
Frequently Asked Question
Q. What size needles for 4 ply yarn?
Ans: 4 ply yarn needs 4.5-5.5mm needles. And the hook size is 2-3.5mm.
Q. What is 4 ply yarn in the US?
Ans: 4 ply yarn in the US is called worsted.
To determine if a yarn is perfect for your project, checking only the weight of the yarn is not the best idea. You have to see both weight and ply of yarn to have the best choice. Look at the gauge swatch and get to know different types of yarn and try to feel them before you invest a lot of money in yarns.