Knitting Supplies: Yarn

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When choosing yarn for a knitting or crochet project, there are two basic considerations: Fiber & Weight.

Why do these things matter? Well, if you are working with the wrong fiber, it might not drape properly, feel comfortable, or hold up to the wear-and-tear of the finished item’s use.  Also, if you have the wrong weight, your project will not be the right size.  The gauge will be off, and therefore the finished product will not fit properly or be the desired size.  Always check your gauge with a gauge swatch before starting a project.  You may need to adjust the yarn weight, needle size, or both.

Fibers: There are numerous types of yarn fibers, each with variations and blends.  It is important to know the basics of the fiber before using it, especially its texture and care.  Here are a few common types:

Fiber Derivation Description Care Cost
Wool Sheep Warm, breathable, may itch or pill Most hand-wash, some are washable $$
Mohair Goats Long, shiny, warm, may itch Hand-wash $$$
Cashmere Goats Luxurious, soft, warm Hand-wash $$$$
Angora Rabbits Very soft, sheds/pills Hand-wash $$$
Cotton Cotton Structured, no pilling Washable $$
Silk Insect fiber Strong, shiny, smooth Hand-wash $$
Acrylic Synthetic Washable, inexpensive Washable $

Weight: There are eight standard yarn weights.  Most patterns will call for a specific weight in order to achieve the right gauge (number of stitches to a certain length).

Weight # Category Types
0 Lace Fingering 10-count Crochet Thread
1 Superfine Sock, Fingering
2 Fine Sport
3 Light DK, Light Worsted
4 Medium Worsted, Aran
5 Bulky Chunky
6 Super Bulky Super Bulky, Roving
7 Jumbo Jumbo, Roving

My Picks: Bargains & Splurges

Here are some of my favorite yarns to work with:

Weight Bargain Splurge
1 Lion Brand Yarn – Sock Ease Tosh Merino Light by Madelinetosh
2 DROPS Alpaca Arroyo by Malabrigo
3 Berroco Vintage DK Tosh DK by Madelinetosh
4 Vanna’s Choice Yarn Rios by Malabrigo
5 Lion’s Pride Woolspun Mecha by Malabrigo
6 Lion Brand Wool-Ease Thick & Quick Rasta by Malabrigo

More Yarn Tips

  1. Make sure to buy enough yarn for your project.  Check the yardage listed on the pattern and the yardage on the yarn wrapper.
  2. Read the yarn label before purchasing the yarn (and definitely before using it)! The label will tell you so much, including the fiber content, weight, yardage, and care instructions.
  3. If you buy yarn at a local yarn shop, let them wind it for you when you purchase. It is a big mess to wind a hank of yarn if not versed in the art. (Yarn bought at craft stores, such as Michael’s, JoAnn, or Hobby Lobby are typically packaged as a center-pull skein, which won’t require winding.)

What are your favorite bargain and splurge yarns?  Share in the comments. 🙂

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