Understanding Yarn Count Measurements

Common Yarn Count Systems

Various methods are used to determine yarn counts. The yarn count is basically a way of defining the thickness of a yarn, and this is done by measuring the length of yarn to a specific weight; the higher the number, the finer the yarn. Most of the yarns on this website use the Metric yarn count system, Nm.

Yarn counts are generally expressed as two numbers separated by a slash / . In the Metric yarn count system (Nm), the first number is arrived at by the number of 1000m lengths per kg and the second number after the slash is the number of strands used to ply the yarn.


In this example of Nm 60/2 (above) the 60 is equivalent to 60,000 metres of one strand per kg. The number after the slash denotes that there are 2 strands (a 2 ply yarn) so the first number is halved to arrive at the actual length per kg of 30,000 metres (or a 100g cone/hank containing 300 metres).

Common Yarn Count Systems

MetricNmThe number of 1,000m lengths per kg. i.e. Nm 30 means that 30,000m of yarn weighs 1kg.
CottonNe, NeC (Number English Cotton) or ECC (English Cotton Count)The number of 840yd lengths per lb (1,680 metres per kg). i.e. 8 x 840yd hanks of cotton weighing 1lb equals Ne 8.
WoollenNeS or YSW
(Yorkshire Skein Weight)
The number of 256 yd lengths per lb (512 metres per kg).
WorstedNeK or NeWThe number of 560 yd lengths per lb (1,160 metres per kg)
(Flax, Hemp and Baste fibres)
LeA or NeL
(Number English Linen)
The number of 300 yd lengths per lb (600 metres per kg)
Dewsbury Count (Woollen count, used for carpet yarns)The number of yd lengths per oz (for the number of metres per gram divide the Dewsbury number by 0.03)
TexThe number of grams per 1,000 metres of yarn. i.e. 15 tex means: 1000m of yarn weighs 15g.
DenierNumber of grams per 9,000 metres of yarn.

We include here a link to a Textile Yarn Conversion Calculator which may be off further use in understanding and calculating yarn counts.