This is a sponsored guest post.
As any knitter can tell you, not all yarn is created equal. There is a wide range of yarns out there, and we’re not just talking about the color spectrum. Knitting yarns come in a whole bunch of textures, materials, and thicknesses, and each type of yarn is best suited for certain types of projects. Get to know your yarn before you start your next project.
This is the biggest area where you find variation, and where your yarn choice will impact your project. Trying to knit something with very fine yarn when the pattern calls for a bulky yarn just won’t work very well. This is the generally accepted scale for yarn thicknesses or weights:
0 – lace
1 – super fine or baby weight
2 – fine or sport weight
3 – light
4 – medium or worsted weight
5 – bulky or chunky
6 – super bulky
You would use 1 through 3 for socks or some baby products. The middle range of 3, 4 or 5 is the most typical and great for sweaters, scarves, afghans, and hats. Five and six are used for some chunky scarves, blankets, and even rugs.
The uses associated with each weight do overlap a lot and you can make your choices based on preference. People prefer a fine weight for socks because it’s is less lumpy, and more comfortable as you walk. But that doesn’t mean you can’t make heavy socks with worsted weight yarn if you want.
The actual material used to make yarn also varies, just not as much. Most yarn on the market today is acrylic, which is a durable but synthetic fiber. Wool is made from sheep’s wool, even though some people will use the term “wool” for any kind of yarn no matter what it’s made of. Yarn made from alpaca fleece is much like wool, except that it’s not from a sheep. If you prefer to stay away from animal products but want something more natural than acrylic, bamboo is getting to be a popular yarn option. It’s very soft and will come with a higher price tag too.
The growing trend of knitting and crocheting has opened up a lot of yarn options beyond the typical color and thickness choices. Yarn with ribbon is woven in, with bits of tinsel or sequins, and even pom-poms can be part of your next project. Sometimes it means you need to learn a new style of knitting stitches to work with, or you can adapt your usual techniques. Not all textured yarns will work with all projects. Blankets and scarfs are the most flexible but you’ll want to stick with standard yarn for socks and mittens in order for them to fit properly.
So if you are new to knitting, be aware that you need to think a little bit before grabbing that next ball of yarn. Don’t just all in love with the color, plan out what kind of project it works best for.