Knitting and crocheting are both projects that are dependent on a yarn of some sort. Yarn comes in all shapes, sizes, and colors and at your local craft store there will most likely be an entire aisle devoted to it. This can be rather daunting, but have no fear there is help out there!

A Guide to Yarn:

First off, you have to know how much yarn you need for your project. This is very important because you don’t want to run out, but also, you don’t want a whole bunch left over. So when you find the pattern you want to try, scrutinize the instructions there will be a point where they will tell you how long to make it, what hook to use, what ply yarn you want, how much yarn you want, and how many inches a specific amount of rows should be. And example would be, chain a multiple of 10 and 12, use a J hook, use 4 ply yarn, buy 20 grams, and three rows will equal 1”. Unfortunately, you now have a problem, what does 20 grams (or it might also be in ounces) mean?! Well, you are in slight luck, because yarn comes with weight measurements on it, so, all you have to do is find the yarn you like that meets the ply requirement, and then figure out how many skeins you will need to fill the weight requirement.

Secondly, ply, what in the world is ply? Well you know how there are two ply toilet papers? Yarn is similar, and what ply means, is how many strands make up the yarn. There is two ply, three ply, and four ply. The most common is four ply, though most baby yarns are two ply, keep this in mind when you are choosing random yarns for your project. One time, I chose a really soft baby yarn, and added it to the same blanket as a regular acrylic yarn. It didn’t work out well because the baby yarn is about half as small as the regular yarn with the same amount of rows.

Thirdly, what is a skein per se? Well, yarn comes in two things, a skein or a ball. If you want to sound really cool, you should know the difference. A skein is those long tube like things of yarn that have loose strings at both ends, more akin to a hot dog. A ball is more ball shaped. Skeins come in all sizes, but most commonly are 8 oz.

Also, you might ask what the difference is between real cotton yarn, and acrylic yarn. Honestly, if you get a really good brand of acrylic, you won’t be able to tell that it isn’t cotton. Cotton is usually more expensive, but it has the benefit of not melting as easy. Cotton makes really good pot holders, and can be washed, dried and re washed without loosing its body. Acrylic comes in more variety and is cheaper, but will loose it’s body over time (meaning it goes flat and gets crummy).

What about novelty yarns? There are a whole bunch of special yarn types out there. Some are lovely, some are nice, and some are tacky. It really depends on taste. One tip though, is when learning how to crochet, use a normal acrylic yarn, some of the novelty yarns split when you crochet with them, and if you aren’t used to it, it will drive you crazy. Lion Brand and Red Heart both have home spun type yarns that have uneven ply, and shred like none other. Those are both frustrating if you don’t use a big enough hook. There are also knitting ribbons, wools, sports weight, kids yarn, baby yarn, fuzzy yarns, odd textures, pretty much anything that can be wrapped around a hook and pulled.

One last tip, just remember practice makes perfect, and you will get a better feel for yarn the more you do it. Enjoy it! Remember, this is a hobby for relaxation. Don’t fret.

For More Info, Check Out: Crochet

Yarn (?), n. [OE. yarn, [yogh]arn, AS. gearn; akin to D. garen, G., OHG., Icel., Sw., & Dan. garn; of uncertain origin. Cf. Cord.]


Spun wool; woolen thread; also, thread of other material, as of cotton, flax, hemp, or silk; material spun and prepared for use in weaving, knitting, manufacturing sewing thread, or the like.

2. Rope Making

One of the threads of which the strands of a rope are composed.


A story told by a sailor for the amusement of his companions; a story or tale; as, to spin a yarn.



© Webster 1913.

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