Buying yarn for knitting is one of the best things you can do because of the wide variety of styles and colors available. When you walk into a yarn store, it can take time to choose from everything woven. The most enjoyable decision is deciding which color to use. However, there is the question of what to knit with specialty yarns that appear too delicate.
Choosing the Best Yarn for Beginners
Remember that if you only knit with one of the many fun fur, boucle, super-bulky, suede, mohair, or fun-fetti yarns, the delicacy of the yarn may not always be enough to look like anything sustainable.
The concept of yarn weights is one of the most difficult for newcomers to grasp. When selecting a project, the thickness of the strand, or yarn weight, is an excellent place to start. Finer-weight indie yarns are ideal for lightweight clothing and accessories, whereas a thicker, bulkier yarn is ideal for thicker, bulkier projects. Understanding yarn weights will help you achieve the desired density and drape in your finished project.
Lace Weight Yarn
This is a very fine yarn (any yarn thinner than fingering weight is acceptable) that works best for delicate, web-like items such as shawls. Lace weight yarns have a more forgiving gauge because blocking techniques significantly impact the finished piece’s size and structure. When knitting a tight, opaque fabric, use large needles (US 6 or larger) to create an open gossamer effect.
Fingering weight yarn is commonly used for socks, light sweaters, accessories, Fair Isle, or colorwork patterns. This yarn, also known as “baby yarn” or “sock yarn,” is roughly twice the weight of lace yarn. Fingering weight yarns are typically fingered with knitting needles in US sizes 1-4.
DK and Sport Yarn
Despite popular belief, there is a distinction between sport weight and DK (double knitting) weight yarn. Sports weight yarn is a little lighter or finer than DK weight yarn. These weights are appropriate for sweaters, shawls, wraps, and mid-weight socks. Sport weight yarns typically work on US 3-5 needles, whereas DK weight yarns are typically worked on US 5-7 needles.
Worsted weight yarn is the most popular and widely available weight. Knitters of all levels should use woven yarn, twice as heavy as fingering yarn, and can be worked into almost any pattern. Worsted weight yarns are typically knit on US 6-9 needles and are suitable for accessories and sweaters of moderate density.
Worsted yarn is roughly twice the thickness of bulky yarn and four times the size of fingering yarn. Bulky yarns knit quickly on large needles, making them ideal for quick knits such as cozy sweaters, felted items, throws, or home decor where structure and warmth are important. Bulky weight yarns typically require US 10- or US 11-size needles when knitting.
Very Bulky Yarn
Quick knits are ideal for very bulky yarn. Knitting accessories and other home projects in less than three stitches per inch allow you to complete them in a matter of hours. The thicker strands of super bulky yarns cause projects to knit up densely with big stitches, producing a distinct effect and adding visual interest. US 15 needles are typically used to knit super bulky weight yarns.
Wool is a protein fiber derived from mammals such as sheep or goats known for its uncanny ability to withstand a great deal of use. Wool has antibacterial and antimicrobial properties and is breathable, insulating, cooling, and water resistant, to name a few of its many benefits. It is no surprise that we adore wool fibers for both clothing and home décor projects.