Yarn - How to Choose the Right Kind for Your Project
Yarn is a textile commonly made of wool, cotton, or acrylic. It is made from strands (or
plies) twisted together to form one thick string of material. It is
commonly used for weaving into a thick textile through crochet or
knitting. Typically, it comes in single long strands known as
skeins that can be rolled into balls either by hand or through a yarn ball winder to make it easier to
The thinnest type available. It is only slightly thicker
than thread and is best used for lace making and
Needle Size: 000-1
Hook Size: Steel 6-8 or Regular B
Also extremely thin. It is best used for lace projects or
Needle Size: 1-3
Hook Size: B-E
Very fine and perfect for using when making baby
clothes or blankets. It knits up to about as thin as a simple store
Needle Size: 3-5
Hook Size: E-7
Also known as "DK", is smooth and even-textured. It is
also sometimes used for a technique called "double knitting", when
you knit two strands together to create a thicker
Needle Size: 5-7
Hook Size: 7-I
Thicker and typically used for blankets and sweaters. It
knits up into a thick and warm material.
Needle Size: 7-9
Hook Size: I-K
Very thick and typically used for scarves and
rugs. It is very bulky and can create an interesting effect. It is
typically used with needle sizes in the double digits, but smaller
needles and patience can create an incredibly thick and warm
Needle Size: 9-11
Hook Size: K-M
Unspun wool typically used for felting, but can be used
with very large needles.
Needle Size: 11 and Up
Hook Size: M and Up
Yarn can also change in thickness along a strand, giving a
bumpy, uneven material.
For more information about weight check out this Yarn Weight Chart.
Skeins are measured in weight, usually grams. The thickness will
determine the yardage in a given skein.
The thickness will also be listed on the label along with a
recommendation for knitting needle and crochet hook size.
Labels will also mention a gauge or tension. This tells you the
amount of stitches and rows make up a given swatch of yarn, usually
4 x 4 inches on the recommended needle or hook size.
Choosing the Right Yarn for a Pattern
When reading patterns, it is important to note that it was
written for the brand and weight of yarn used by the author.
Patterns almost always will tell you the brand, weight, and color
as well as the size crochet hook or knitting needle used.
If you want to use a different brand, try to stick to the same
type of material and weight of yarn used in the pattern. If you
choose to use a different type of fiber, the end result may look
and feel different than the pattern.
Always make a swatch with the yarn and needle or hook you plan
to use for the pattern before starting to make sure you are
knitting the correct gauge. Some people knit tighter than others,
so gauge can vary from person to person. Adjust your needle or hook
size according to your gauge.
Patterns will also tell you the yardage or grams used for a
project. Always buy more than a pattern suggests in case of
mistakes, knots, or gauge issues.
Color and Dye Lot
Yarn is available undyed, ready to take on a custom made
dye at home, or left natural. It can also be purchase in a rainbow
of colors as well as multi-colored.
Randomly placed flecks of a different colored
A variegated color that fades from dark to light
shades of the same hue.
Variegated with two or more different colors
Dyed with specific lengths of two different colors that
when knitted, create stripes.
Flecks of tinsel in it to add sparkle
A very thin and has variegated colors spaced out to
create a faux "fair isle" pattern for socks without having to
The Dye Lot refers to the batch of dye used to color a skein.
The numbered dye lot can be found on a label and are sometimes
called the "color number". It is very important to keep track of
the dye lot used in your project in case you need to buy another
skein to finish. The color can vary slightly from one dye lot to
another, and while it might not be noticable to the eye, when
stitches are lined up together, a definite stripe can appear if the
same dye lot is not used.
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