When it comes to crocheting, one of the most essential tools is the yarn. There are cheap yarns, and there are expensive yarns. Some are thinking, is it worth investing in an expensive yarn for crocheting projects?
Yes, it can be worth it for the right projects. If you plan to give your finished crocheted project to someone really special, using an expensive yarn will be really worth it. The yarn you will use will usually depend on what you are making and who are you making it for. You don’t want to give alpaca or wool scarf to someone who you know will just throw them in the washer. It would be best to plan your project first before getting a yarn. You don’t want your expensive yarn to sit there for weeks of months, accumulating dust before you use it for the perfect project.
There is a lot you have to know about yarns used in crocheting, and it is vital that you are aware of them.
All About Yarn
It can be challenging to find the perfect yarn for a project because yarn stores offer a wide variety of yarns. All with different thicknesses, fibers, colors, and textures.
Yarns are typically packaged in three different ways: in balls, hanks, and skeins.
- Balls are wound into a round shape.
- Hanks are twisted, loose coils of yarn that you need to wound into balls before you begin.
- Skeins are wound into an oblong shape.
When it comes to construction, yarns are divided into two kinds: Traditional and Novelty.
- Traditional yarn is either spun by hand or machines and is plied. When we say plied, it means that the fibers are spun together to form one strand of yarn, then twisting more strands together to make a thicker and stronger yarn.
- Novelty yarn includes all sorts of yarns made with different fiber compositions such as metallic, inclusions, or synthetic fibers. Novelty yarns can be combined with other yarns or can be used alone, as well.
What are Yarns Made Of?
The kind of fiber yarn is made of can significantly impact yarn behavior. Yarn is either made from natural or synthetic fibers.
- Plant Fibers
Plant fibers are composed of cellulose. Cellulose is the main element of plant tissue. Garments made from plant fibers are breathable, lightweight, and great moisture absorbers. It is non-hypoallergenic, as well. However, garments made of plant fibers don’t provide much insulation, so they are not as warm as garments made of animal fibers.
Plant fibers can come from:
Cotton: They are made from cotton plants. Several types of cotton yarns are treated with chemicals so they can be more durable, able to accept dyes better, and mildew resistant.
Hemp: This type of yarn is incredibly eco-friendly because it is a renewable source and can be grown without herbicides or pesticides. It is the strongest natural fiber, as well. Garments made from hemp yarn get softer with each wash.
Linen: This is made from the flax plant. It is lightweight and perfect for summer garments.
Bamboo: It has a feel of silk, and it is durable. It is also highly eco-friendly because it is harvested without killing the plant. The bamboo will regenerate the removed part in a couple of months.
- Animal Fibers
Animal fibers come from animal coats from goats, sheep, rabbits, and more. This type of fiber offers great insulation that will help keep the wearer warm in cold weather and cool in warm weather, as well. Animal fibers are protein-based; that’s why they are vulnerable to moth larvae.
Animal fibers are lightweight, soft, stretch resistant, and absorbent.
Animal fibers can come from:
Alpaca/Llama: Alpacas or South American Llamas produce warm, soft yarn. It is non-allergenic because it does not contain lanolin, which can be found in lamb’s wool. However, this yard doesn’t accept color.
Cashmere: This type of yarn comes from the cashmere goat’s soft undercoats. It is one of the expensive yarns, which is super smooth and can retain warmth.
Angora: This type of yarn comes from the soft fur of rabbits that is fuzzy in appearance.
Mohair: This type of yarn is from the Angora goat. It has a fuzzy look, as well.
Silk: This type of yarn comes from silkworm larvae. It is very light and smooth. However, it doesn’t have much stretch; that is why it is usually combined with other types of fibers. It is often combined with cashmere to produce a truly luxurious yarn.
Wool: There are several types of wool, and they are spun into yarns with a variety of textures and weights. Wool is very warm and accepts color really well. The most popular choice for making garments is Merino wool yarn.
- Acrylic – It is the most popular fiber when it comes to crocheting because of its budget-friendly price. It also comes in different colors. The yarn can be stiff or soft, depending on the style and brand. It’s warm but also lightweight.
- Nylon – This is usually used as an alternative for silk. It’s a fully synthetic fiber that is resilient to shrinkage and stains. It can also be made shiny or dull.
- Rayon – It is also called viscose rayon. It is a semi-synthetic fiber made from wood or plant cellulose. It undergoes a chemical process to form into a yarn. Rayon is very strong when dry but loses its strength when it’s wet.
- Polyester – Polyester is a kind of plastic that is mixed with other fibers to reduce shrinking and add strength to the material.
Yarn can also be categorized by weight. It is based on the number of crochet stitches in a gauge of 4 inches. The thicker the yarn, the fewer stitches in the gauge. The thinner the yarn, the greater stitches in the gauge.
- Lace Weight Yarn – It has 33 to 40 crochet stitches to 4 inches.
- Super Fine Weight Yarn – It has 27 to 32 crochet stitches to 4 inches. It is a light yard often used for baby items
- Sport or Fine Weight Yarn – It has 23 to 26 crochet stitches to 4 inches. It is used for projects with intricate patterns. It is suitable for mittens, gloves, and light sweaters.
- Light or Double Knitting Weight Yarn – It has 21 to 24 crochet stitches to 4 inches. It is used for light, summer-weight garments, and several baby items.
- Medium or Worsted Weight Yarn – It has 16 to 20 crochet stitches to 4 inches. It is the most popular weight yarn for different projects.
- Bulky or Chunky Weight Yarn – It has 12-15 crochet stitches t 4 inches. It is typically used for afghans, scarves, and other projects.
- Super Bulky or Super Chunky Weight Yarn – It has 4 to 11 crochet stitches to 4 inches and yields the fastest projects.
What your project is and what kind of result you are aiming for will determine the color and texture of the yarn. If you have a design in mind, choosing colors can be easy, but selecting the texture might be difficult.
Softer yarns are excellent for baby items and wearables. Wool yarns are great for winter items like scarves and hats. Those fuzzy yarns are great for stand-out and fun projects.
Before purchasing yarn, you have to look at the labels. You also have to completely understand how to read yarn labels. The label should tell you the needle and hook size, yarn weight, yardage, and care instructions.
One of the most important things to look at is the yardage because it will determine the number of skeins you will need for your project. If the project you’ll be making calls for 90 yards and the skein you are eyeing on is 40 yards, you will need three skeins so you will have enough to begin and finish your project.
You should also pay attention to the dye lot. Skeins are appointed a dye lot number, so skeins having a similar dye lot were dyed at the same time. This is crucial to know because, in case you run out of yarn, you have to get one that has the same dye lot number. Buying skeins with different dye lot numbers to use in one project could result in slightly differing colors.
You have to note the care instructions, as well. For example, you are crocheting baby items, you should get a yarn that can be machine washed.
What is the most suitable yarn for blankets?
The most important factors to consider in making a blanket are softness and the correct thickness. Yarns that are lighter than Light or Double Knitted Weight yarn are not recommended to be used for blankets because you want to have just the right amount of thickness.
It would be great to have a few projects using expensive yarn. However, you have to carefully plan the project so it’s worth it. Follow the guide above in choosing the right yarn for your crochet project to yield the best results.