Yarn comes in an almost infinite variety and making yarn choices can be overwhelming, especially when you are just learning to knit (and sometimes, even when you are an expert knitter). Yarns vary in their fibre composition, their thickness, number of plies, how they are spun, whether they have added elements (such as sequins), their fluffiness, their washability, their recommended needle size, their elasticity, their colour, their texture, their put up (how they are packaged), etc. We will explore some of these properties of yarn, but if you are wondering what you want to be knitting with now, here are some guidelines.
So how do you decide on which yarn to use? Choose a yarn that you think is lovely, that feels nice to touch and is in a colour that you like.
If you are just learning to knit, use the guidelines below to help choose your yarn.
What to choose
When you are a beginning knitter, you want to choose a yarn that is:
- Smooth yarns allow the stitches to flow and make it easy to form and to see your stitches.
- Medium weight yarn is easy to handle.
Wool or wool blend yarns provide good elasticity with a nice feel in your hands. They are forgiving to knit with and block beautifully.
- Light to medium colour that you love. The lighter colours make it easy to see the stitches you are forming and those you have already formed. A colour that you love is important because you will be spending a lot of quality time with this yarn — you should enjoy that time.
- Colour that contrasts with your needles so that you can easily see how the stitches are forming.
- Strong and resilient so that if you have to rip out a few times, it will not affect the yarn too much. Again, choosing a yarn that is smooth and made of multiple plies will help, make sure that the yarn is also spun tightly enough so that it is easy to work with. If in doubt, ask your favourite yarn shop employee.
What you might want to avoid
You want to leave some yarns for when you have more experience. Once you are more comfortable, move on to these yarns. However, when just starting out, it may be best to avoid yarns that are
- Cotton which tends to be inelastic as compared to wool or wool blends. Try cotton once you are a little bit comfortable with knitting. Dishcloths make excellent small projects once you have the hang of knittng.
- Fancy, textured, or specialty yarns can make it challenging to see what you are doing and what you have already done, they are difficult to rip out and they often don’t look great if they are ripped out a few times.
- Very thin yarns can be tricky to work with and making tiny stitches makes the knitting anything go slowly. The stitches you form can be difficult to see.
- Very thick yarns can be awkward to work with. While it would be easy to see your stitches, each stitch requires unwieldy, exaggerated movements with large needles.