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Understanding Weaving Yarn Sizes

Weaving yarn sizes and their naming system can seem like gibberish when you’re starting out, but a basic understanding will go a long way in helping you choose the best yarn for your weaving projects. We hope this post will help demystify some of the common weaving terms you'll come across while searching for the perfect yarn.

Weaving Yarn Weight Explained

Let's say you're considering a yarn for your next weaving project, and trying to decide between a 10/2 yarn and a 3/2 yarn. In the US system, the first number refers to the size of one ply in the yarn. In simple layman's terms, the lower that first number, the thicker one ply of yarn is. The second number denotes how many plies the yarn has. So a 10/2 yarn and a 3/2 yarn both have 2 plies, but the 3/2 yarn is much thicker than the 10/2 yarn. 

To complicate matters, in other countries these numbers are sometimes reversed, but typically the smaller number is the number of plies in a yarn.

What about other terms like YPP (yards per pound), EPI (ends per inch), WPI (wraps per inch), PPI (picks per inch), and Sett?

When shopping for weaving yarns, you might come across terms like YPP, EPI, PPI, and weaving sett. What does it all mean? Below are some definitions to these common weaving terms.


The number of yards per pound of yarn. Within a specific fiber, the higher the number, the thinner the yarn. Of course, some fiber is lighter than others so this isn’t a great measure of telling the difference in diameter between fibers.


Picks per inch. The number of weft threads per inch of woven fabric. This will vary based on the yarn size, the end use of the fabric, and desired drape.


Wraps per inch. The number of times a yarn wraps around a 1” space on a ruler or pick up stick. This number helps determine sett.


Ends per inch. The number of warp threads in one inch of woven fabric. It is often used interchangeably with Sett. EPI is determined by the yarn size, the pattern, the end use of your fabric and how much drape you would like it to have. See also: What is WPI, EPI, PPI, & Sett?


The distribution of warp ends in your woven fabric, usually over one inch (hence EPI = sett). 

What if my yarn doesn’t have a size number?

A couple of our yarns, like Duet and Mallo are slubby blends and don’t map precisely to an industry standard measurement like 3/2 or 5/2. But you can get an idea of what yarn size they may be similar to by comparing yards per pound, wraps per inch and suggested setts.

For example, Mallo, at 1500 ypp, is between Beam 3/2 (1260 ypp) and Brassard 8/4 (1680 ypp). You can also see that the wraps per inch and suggested setts are similar.

What yarn size should I use for my weaving?

A delicate hand towel or scarf will call for a finer yarn while a cozy wrap or blanket may require something thicker. A great way to learn about yarn sizes if you're a beginner is to start with a weaving kit. Beam Organic Cotton is a fantastic yarn for new weavers, and we highly recommend the Beginner Cotton Towels.

Beginner Cotton Towels Weaving Pattern

Size Chart for Our Weaving Yarns

We carry a number of different weaving yarns for you to choose from, in a wide array of colors. The chart below lists the yards per pound, wraps per inch, and suggested sett for each line of yarn we carry.




Sugg. sett

3/10 Alpaca








Brassard 8/2 Cotton




Brassard 8/4 Cotton
















Ode 1118 18 8-12
Sero 2468 24 10-15


Popular Yarns for Weaving

Beam Organic Cotton Weaving Yarn

Beam 3/2 Organic Cotton Yarn

This 3/2 organic un-mercerized cotton is soft, hardy, and beginner-friendly, designed for making towels, home textiles, and apparel. 100% organic cotton. 

  • Use as warp or weft on a rigid heddle or multi-shaft loom
  • 8 oz cones have 630 yards, 1,260 yard per lb
  • 10-16 suggested epi
See all colors
Mallo Cotton/Slub Weaving Yarn

Mallo Cotton Slub Yarn

A thick and thin cotton slub yarn designed to weave soft and absorbent home textiles, scarves, or apparel. 100% cotton (55% organic). 

  • Use as warp or weft on a multi-shaft or rigid heddle loom
  • 8 oz cones have 750 yards, 1,500 yards per lb
  • 8-16 suggested epi.

See all colors

Duet Cotton/Linen Weaving Yarn

Duet Cotton/Linen Yarn

A versatile yarn, Duet is strong enough for warp, soft enough for garments, and hardy enough for kitchen towels. Made from 55% European tow linen and 45% USA-grown cotton. 

  • Use as warp or weft on a multi-shaft or rigid heddle loom
  • 4 oz cones have 600 yards, 2,400 yards per lb.
  • 12-16 suggested epi

See all colors


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