Yarn Ply Is Not Same As Yarn Thickness

Yes. Yarn ply doesn’t mean yarn thickness! Surprised? Shocked? You may be, but that’s the fact! What is ply exactly? Yarn is made of fibers that are spun together to make them smooth and strong. First fibers are spun in single strands, after the first strands are spun, two or more strands are spun together to make the final yarn strand.

Technically the process of twisting the strands together is called ‘to ply yarn’. A single strand of yarn is called a ‘single’ but most people will call it ‘single ply’ instead. 2 ply yarn is created from twisting two singles, 3 ply from 3 singles and so forth. Plied yarn is typically stronger than single strand yarn. But as mentioned earlier, there can be a lot of variation in strand size. A one ply yarn can be thicker than a 3 ply yarn, for instance. Thus, using ‘ply’ as a standard is problematic.

Yarn Ply
Yarns are composed of two or more single yarns twisted together.

Example: 2 ply yarn is composed of two single strands; 3 ply yarn is composed of three single strands.

Tips

  1. Never mix 2 brands even if they claim to be the same ply. For e.g. I never recommend mixing Ganga Cuddly and Oswal Knit plus in a project even though they are 4 ply, their thickness varies a little.
  2. Dyed yarns are more thicker than their white counterparts. Meaning – a coloured yarn may feel thicker than the same brand white yarn even if their ply is the same.
  3. Blended yarns are much thicker than both dyed and white ones even if they are the same brand. Blended means the colour was made by mixing two or more colours of yarns.
  4. So if you feel a yarn isn’t thick enough for a project, don’t think it has been wasted. Try to double it and use in. As in – use 2 strands instead of one. I, personally, do that a lot. So I can vouch for it 🙂
  5. If you are really keen on pointing out that this yarn isn’t 4 ply because its not thick. Wait. Take a moment to split the yarn and check how much ply is it? and you will have the answer!