Decoding Yarn Thickness

At Woolyarns, we employ the new metric count system (Nm) as our tool for describing yarn thickness. This count system uses weight as a key indicator for determining a yarn’s Nm value, specifically measuring the number of kilometres of yarn per kilogram of yarn. In simple terms, the higher the Nm number, the finer the yarn, while lower values signify a bulkier yarn.

To enhance the strength and consistency of our fine Perino yarns, we generally 2-ply them. This ensures that they meet the highest quality standards and it also improves the overall texture and appearance of the yarn. Plying also creates a more balanced yarn which is desirable for knitting manufacturers because it is less likely to twist or bias the final fabric. It also helps garments to retain their shape.

You’ll find the numerical indicators on our labels, and here’s a breakdown of what they mean:

36/2 Nm: This represents a yarn where the single strand is 36 Nm (finer) and the 2 represents two plies of the yarn twisted together. 

28/2 Nm: A fine yarn strand at 28 Nm, this yarn is also 2-ply. 

18/2 Nm: Slightly coarser than the previous two, with an 18 Nm yarn count and 2-ply. 

1/2.300 Nm: This is our thickest yarn with an incredibly low Nm count, signifying a much bulkier yarn.  

While yarn count, or thickness, is a pivotal factor in determining fabric weight, it’s not the sole influencer. Several other factors come into play, including the knitting machine gauge and the tightness and structure of the stitches. These variables, in conjunction with the yarn count, collectively contribute to the unique characteristics of your finished fabric. 

Each year we create our fall/winter collection of yarns for customers to sample in a range of counts, fibre blends and on-trend colours. The different counts are specially selected for each blend based on the fibre types used, and what final product might suit each blend.  

The choice of yarn thickness comes down to your project or design, and how you want the final texture to feel. It’s your creative vision that guides us in recommending the perfect yarn for your idea.  

While we offer yarns in a range of counts to suit different knitting machines so you can sample and find what works best for you, any of our yarn blends can be customized to suit your vision.   


Image: Cirrus 36/2Nm fabric. 

The 36/2 Nm yarn count produces a very lightweight and delicate yarn that is most suited to a 12-14 or even 18-gauge flatbed knitting machine. However, if your design calls for a lacey pattern, 36/2 Nm can produce an excellent garment on a 7-gauge flatbed machine creating an amazing featherlight fabric. While mainly used for lightweight outerwear, in the past, we have seen this yarn count also used for next-to-skin layer garments due to the delicate fabrics created. This count is offered for sampling in our Cirrus yarn blend, but we can also custom-make our Nimbus yarn blend in this count if your project requires it.   

Image: Nimbus 28/2Nm fabric. 

Compared to the 36/2 Nm count, yarns using a 28/2 Nm count produce a slightly thicker fabric that is very versatile and often used in garments and accessories such as outer layer knitwear, socks, beanies, and even woven coats. The 28/2 Nm yarn is best suited to 10-12 gauge knitting machine. We offer this count in the Perino Cirrus, Nimbus and Haze yarn blends, as well as our Kaamera camel yarns and 100% ZQ merino. This count has been most popular with both, international and domestic customers and has featured in recent collections by Barkers Menswear, Zambesi, and Marle to name a few.  

Image: New Stratus 18/2 Nm  

A fuller yarn again, but still suitable for many garments and accessories, is the 18/2 Nm yarn count. This count strikes a balance between drape and durability and offers cost-saving benefits. 18/2 Nm yarns are best knit on 7-8 gauge knitting machines and offer thicker, more textured, and more durable garments. A heavier yarn (like 18/2 Nm) knits faster and therefore offers less time on knitting machines – which should reduce the cost of knitting.  

The 18/2 Nm count is offered in the Perino New Stratus blend as well as a special yarn made of 100% New Zealand Bluestone Coloured Merino that we will be releasing in the upcoming Woolyarns Fall/Winter 2025/26 yarn collection.  


Image: Cirrus Chainlink  

Chunkier than any count outlined above is the 1 / 2.300 Nm Cirrus Chainlink yarn. The Chainlink yarn is a single-ply yarn most suited for chunky style outer layer knitwear. This yarn is best knit on a 3-5 gauge knitting machine. Chainlink yarns offer super bulky fabric with a beautifully soft and cozy feel without adding weight due to their unique construction. 

Have we answered your questions about the thickness of our yarns? We hope so – but if you still have questions or want to sample any of our yarns then contact us through our website and we will assist you as soon as possible.