Choosing a yarn for knitting: an overview and tips.
For every knitter, choosing a yarn is something like a ritual, meditation, or sacrament. It is impossible to tear yourself away from the counters with a huge selection of yarns, it’s like a black hole. In a yarn shop, you may be overtaken by inspiration for a new job … or you may be confused among all these balls and skeins.
If you are just learning to knit and want to easily understand the types of yarn for knitting, not spend too much time and nerves to choose it, then you will probably find useful tips on choosing a yarn from this article.
When choosing a yarn in a store, you first of all need to carefully study the information indicated on the package:
the composition of the yarn; skein weight; the length of the thread in the skein; the recommended number of knitting needles and crochet, can I use this yarn for machine knitting; recommended knitting density – the number of horizontal and vertical loops per 10×10 cm square of knitted fabric; tips for caring for the finished product.
The choice of yarn for knitting should be considered carefully. The type of the finished product as a whole depends on the quality of the yarn, whether the fabric will stretch when knitting, whether it will skew, whether the pattern chosen for knitting will look beneficial, what will happen after washing.
According to the composition, the yarn for knitting is: natural – that is, vegetable (cotton, linen) or animal origin (wool, natural mohair, angora, cashmere, merino wool, alpaca, silk); synthetic – acrylic, viscose, artificial mohair, artificial silk; blended is a combination of natural and artificial fibers in different proportions (most often it is cotton with acrylic, wool with acrylic, etc.).
The choice of the composition of the yarn directly depends on the requirements for the finished product (its seasonality, model, for an adult, child, allergy sufferer, etc.). Natural materials are highly valued, they are safe, but not as practical as synthetic.
Traditional yarns for
children’s products are cotton, acrylic, or a combination of these. Long, fluffy yarns such as mohair are not recommended. When choosing yarn for a baby thing, attach a skein to your face – it should not cause discomfort, itching, tingling. Animal yarn is contraindicated for allergy sufferers.
Acrylic, cotton, linen are suitable for them. It is even better if the yarn is made from environmentally friendly plant materials and dyed with natural dyes (eco-yarn).
More on popular yarn materials.
Wool: lightweight, elastic, good heat retention. Among the disadvantages – dumping and the formation of pellets, shrinks during washing. Merino wool: wool of merino sheep is soft, delicate, ideal for baby clothes. does not irritate the skin. However, don’t risk it if you are allergic. Cashmere: A plucked or trimmed undercoat of Mongolian or Chinese goats.
The yarn is very light, soft and warm. Angora: wool of angora rabbits. The yarn is very fluffy, thin and lightweight. Hygroscopic.
Of the shortcomings – products from angora shed. Alpaca: The wool of South American alpaca llamas. Soft (softer than merino wool), delicate, unusually warm.
Hollow wool fibers create a thermal insulation effect. Mohair: goat hair. Durable, holds paint well, washes easily.
Very fluffy and lightweight yarn. Silk: Silk thread is a product of the silkworm’s activity. It has a shine, absorbs moisture well, does not deform, dyes well, and practically no pellets form on silk products. Acrylic: synthetic fiber yarn.
Durable, easy to paint, acrylic products keep their shape well. Among the disadvantages is low hygroscopicity. Cotton: 90% pure cellulose. Good air permeability, easily absorbs moisture, pleasant to wear, good dyeing. Strong enough (stronger than wool, but less durable than linen and silk).
Cotton products are easy to wash, but they shrink and dry for a long time. Non-elastic yarn. Viscose: man-made fiber.
Smooth and heavy yarn – products from it stretch under their own weight. It dyes well, has a high color intensity. It is often found in blended yarns with cotton.
Linen: very strong yarn. Linen products absorb moisture well, dry quickly, do not shrink or stretch. Most breathable yarn. Of the shortcomings – it is poorly dyed, which makes the choice of yarn shades poor. Lurex: metallized polyester thread.
The yarn is unpleasant in contact with the body, it is better to use it in products with a lining. Gives the product a festive look.
Standard skeins of yarn for hand knitting are available in weights of 50, 100 and 200 grams. It is necessary to build on such indicators as the weight and length of the thread in the skein when you purchase yarn for a specific product. For example, if you are going to knit a hat, then you need an average of 200 grams of yarn, while a sweater may need about 600 grams. But different skeins can have different lengths of threads.
These components need to be considered together. Thicker threads will be consumed more than thinner ones..
The length of the yarn in a skein is an important indicator of yarn thickness. The longer the length of the yarn in a standard skein, the thinner the yarn, and vice versa. By the thickness of the yarn, you can roughly find out what the thickness of the knitted product will be.
But in the beginning it is important to decide whether you will knit or crochet. Look at the thickness of the thread, about the same thickness will be the fabric knitted with the front satin stitch. If crocheted, the thickness of the fabric will be, on average, one and a half to two times the thickness of the thread..
Reputable yarn manufacturing firms are interested in their products not causing any complaints. Therefore, they indicate the following recommendations for working with yarn: what tools are best to use for knitting – knitting needles or a hook, as well as the recommended size; whether the yarn is intended for hand and / or machine knitting; the recommended number of loops horizontally and vertically for knitting a sample of 10×10 cm; recommendations for the care of the finished product.
Adhering to these recommendations, it is easiest to achieve that the product has the optimal thickness of the canvas and the size of the pattern, does not lose its shape and attractive appearance during use. In case of violation of these recommendations, incidents are not excluded. For example, when knitting mohair clothes on a knitting machine (which is strongly discouraged), most of the pile will end up on the wrong side of the product.
Acrylic products will lose their shape and elasticity if ironed with an iron. And washing and spinning in a washing machine are generally contraindicated in hand-knitted things..
Yarn consumption depends on the thickness and density of knitting, on the chosen pattern and knitting method (hook, knitting needles) and, of course, on the size of the finished product. The maximum yarn consumption is inherent in dense knitting with braids. And the more delicate and looser the knitted fabric, the lower the consumption of yarn. However, it must be borne in mind that loose knitting (with a large thickness of knitting needles or a hook) looks good only with very fluffy yarn such as mohair or angora (well, or on designer extravagant things using very thick yarn).
The long pile hides the “perforation” and the knitted thing is very light and soft. Smooth yarn should have a much higher density..
And the last piece of advice. When choosing yarn, be sure to ask how much of it is left in stock in order to buy in addition in case of a shortage of yarn, to buy the required number of skeins (or if, for example, you knitted a scarf, and in the process you also wanted to knit a hat or mittens to it).