Questions About Knitting Yarns? I’ve Got Answers!

Yarn, yarn, yarn, it’s all the same, right? Fibers may be animal or man-made, but whenever I knit something, it  should look okay with whatever yarn I use.

Yes??  Well, . . . not exactly. And in some cases, NO!

We all know about wool and cotton yarns. These basic yarns have been around forever. Yarn is made from many different fibers. Besides wool and cotton, there is silk, alpaca, linen, mohair and angora. Synthetic or man-made yarns include polyester, acrylic, rayon and metallics.

Yarn is strands or plies twisted together. Once upon a time ply denoted the weight of yarn, because all there was were two-ply or four-ply yarn. That’s not the case any longer. Today, ply indicates how many strands are twisted together, not the weight of the yarn.

Yarn weights come in different categories. From lace, which is #0, all the way to super bulky, which is #6, I’ve included a great link here to the Craft Yarn Council which shows you all of the yarn weight categories, as well as gauge and needle guidelines. Check it out!

What about all those numbers and symbols on your yarn label? Looks like hieroglyphics to me! But every number and symbol has its meaning. For more information, just click over to this link from LionBrand on how to read a yarn label.

TIP:  Never throw the yarn label out! I’ve done this more than once, then needed additional yarn and was stumped. Just put it to the side and later you may want to document your knitting projects, as you go . . . so don’t throw them out!

Now, what about those moments when a particular yarn is called for, but when you go looking for it you find out it’s no longer being made, or it’s WAY too  expensive. How do you substitute another yarn? Just look at the yarn label. Here you will find yarn gauge information;  when buying yarn for this particular pattern, purchase yarn that is closest to the specified yarn gauge in your pattern. EVERY pattern will give you that little box up front with all the pertinent information you’ll be needing, so read what they say, and buy accordingly.

TIP:  Watch your yardage. It differs between yarn skeins. So, if the pattern calls for 5 skeins of yarn which is say, 260 yds each, then you want to buy more than 5 skeins if your yarn is less than that yardage.

It’s little tips and knowledge ahead of time, that will make all the difference when you’re purchasing yarn.

Next post, I’ll be discussing exactly how to choose your knitting yarn. There are good ways and there are not-so-good ways. And I’m not talking about in-store or online!

Just another secret of knitting you’ll find revealed here at Scarf Knitting! In the meantime, always take your knitting to heart!

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