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What is Chunky Yarn?

By Sheri Cyprus
Updated Feb 02, 2024
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Chunky yarn refers to thick yarn used to knit or crochet warm clothing and other items that suit a heavy weight and large stitching. It's also sold as bulky weight yarn and is usually used with United States' size 10, US10 (6.5mm) knitting needles or USJ (6mm) or USK (6.5mm) crochet hooks. Super-chunky is even thicker than chunky weight yarn and is the thickest and heaviest weight of yarn available. Super-chunky is often used with US11 (8mm) or larger knitting needles and a USM (9mm) or larger crochet hook. There are many different textures and materials available in chunkier yarn weights.

Cashmere chunky yarn is elegant and soft. It's ideal for making luxurious scarves or throw blankets. Cashmere chunky is available in many colors from soft pastels to vivid brights to tasteful neutrals. Cashmere is wool that is combed from the silky undercoat of the Cashmere goat. Some cashmere chunky yarns are blended with silk to create an even silkier feel to the yarn.

Mohair is another type of silky, elegant yarn made from goat hair. Angora goats have soft silk-like hair that is used to make mohair chunky yarn. Mohair is known for its strength as well as the misty texture it creates when it’s knitted or crocheted. Mohair chunky yarn is available in variegated or multi-colored balls that may have a watercolor look to them. Some mohair yarns are hand-painted for one-of-a-kind, rainbow-like color patterns.

Wool chunky yarn is made from lamb's wool. Some wool chunky and super-chunky yarns are blended with acrylics. Cotton chunky yarn is a natural alternative to acrylic chunky and super-chunky yarns. Some chunky yarns may be all acrylic. These synthetic yarns are economical and easy to care for and may have a coarse, tweedy texture rather than the soft silky feel of natural wool, mohair or cashmere chunky yarn.

While chunky yarns are used to knit or crochet sweaters, super-chunky varieties aren't usually used for clothing other than shawls because the stitches are very large. Super-chunky yarns may be used to make throw pillow covers or small rugs for the home. Chunky yarns are popular for knitting and crocheting pieces of clothing such as sweaters, vests, shawls, hats and scarves. Chunky weight yarn is also ideal for making blankets, slippers and socks as well as purses and bags. Leftover lengths of chunky yarn can be tied together and knitted or crocheted into placemats, dog sweaters and many other items.

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Discussion Comments
By DentalFloss — On Oct 04, 2011

I think more expensive yarns are worth it if it's a complex project. I like to reward myself with things like chunky alpace or merino yarn- if I do something I don't want to, then I get to buy a nice yarn for my next project.

By watson42 — On Oct 03, 2011

Chunky wool yarn is great, but can be itchy. I like to use the types that are a mix of acrylic and wool, and there are a lot of pretty affordable brands out there, like Patons chunky yarn, Bernat and Lion Brand. They are usually pretty durable too, and come in some nice shades. I like more expensive kinds too, but I can't always talk myself into buying them.

By hyrax53 — On Oct 03, 2011

@aaaCookie- I love chunky knitting yarn too. I'm not much of a knitter, but anyone can follow chunky yarn scarf patterns. They're simple and fast, and so rewarding to think that you made something like that yourself.

By aaaCookie — On Oct 02, 2011

I love chunky yarn for lots of patterns. It makes great scarves, cowls,hats and sweaters in colder weather especially. And it knits up so quickly. While I do enjoy working with lace and with smaller yarns, chunky yarn is what I use when I want some easy knitting gratification.

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