Knitting Yarns

By JoAnn Freeman

There are many kinds of yarns, different textures and colors. The other difference between yarns is the price. High quality yarns carry a higher price tag than do synthetic yarns. Using the exact yarn called for in a pattern usually creates the best results but there will be times that you may choose a different yarn than the pattern suggests. When you do this, you should choose a yarn that is as close in weight to the one recommended by the pattern as possible. Choosing a yarn that is similar in fiber will give you a result that will closely match the pattern.

Yarns are different in weight and thickness. There are two-ply, three-ply and four-ply yarns. Ply is the number of strands that have been woven together to form the final thickness and weight of the finished yarn. When you do purchase yarn for a particular project, you should purchase exactly the amount you will need at that time, paying careful attention to the dye lot number that is on the yarn label. If you just purchase the yarn by looking at the color rather than by dye lots, you might not realize how yarns may look the same in the store but have a slightly different shade that becomes apparent when the yarns are later joined together while you are knitting your project. These subtle differences will affect the outcome of your project, unless of course, you are deliberately choosing these shades. If you don’t buy all of the yarn you might need at once, you may find that you are unable to find that dye lot number later when you need it. It is a good idea to keep the label from each skein of yarn until your knitting project is finished because it contains not only information about dye lots and color number but also has washing instructions. As well, there is often a pattern on the reverse side that you may wish to knit sometime in the future.

Lightweight yarns are best when knitting lacy shawls, infant and baby wear and fine socks or gloves knit on fine needles. It is best to choose smooth washable treated wool or yarn for these items. Medium weight yarns are better suited for adult sweaters, socks and scarves and for articles that will stand more rugged wear like mittens and gloves. Heavy or bulky yarns are great for making outdoor jackets or ski sweaters where you need a warmer, heavier fabric.

Wool ��" yarn that is spun from the fleece of sheep. Wool is very durable and wool sweaters offer warmth against winter’s chill. Some people prefer knitting with wool because of the quality of the finished project. You must remember, however, that wool has different textures and some will be rough textured whereas some will be soft. If you plan on wearing wool next to the skin, I recommend as soft a yarn as possible. Some people find the rougher wools will make them feel a little itchy. When cleaning anything knit with wool, you need to use only very mild soap and cold or lukewarm water because wool will shrink and mat.

Cotton ��" this yarn is made from natural plant fibers. Cotton is warm in winter and cool in summer. Cotton is easy to wash and wear and can be used for almost any garment that you wish to knit.

About the Author

JoAnn has been knitting since she was a child and has recently started a knitting blog at http://www.my-knitting-site.com. She intends to use her blog to provide general information regarding knitting to people who are learning to knit or need to know where to find knitting patterns and books. 

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