A Cornucopia of Knitting Know-How, Part 2

Knitting is a wonderful hobby. There are so many things to make; you can be working on a different pattern every month or taking months to finish one large project. Variations abound, and you never have to feel as if what you knit will be just like the last thing you knitted. That’s the fun and the challenge to knitting!

Having some basics is always a good thing, too.  In the first “Cornucopia” post, we reviewed knitting needles; in this post I’ll talk about knitting yarn and try to make sense out of all the yarn you find.

Basket of yarn

One of my favorite shops is your local yarn store. (aka LYS) If you have a really good one in town, then every time you’re there you’ll want to buy the newest or prettiest yarn you see. The owner of your local yarn shop should be able to help you with any questions you have, and also be able to guide you as to what yarns work best with certain projects. Years ago there wasn’t much variation in yarns. That has all changed! Now, it seems a new yarn appears every day. So, what to do with it?

An easy yarn to begin knitting with is wool.  For any type of knitting, wool is one of the most common natural fibers available. Nowadays, you can find wool yarns in the most beautiful colors available, and made by many manufacturers.

The other popular common fiber is cotton yarn.  While wool is the easiest yarn to learn knitting with, cotton yarn is very versatile. You can knit many different things with cotton yarn and they all look good!

Other popular knitting yarns are mohair, bamboo, linen and silk. Many will be combinations of fibers to give you the best “feel” possible for your knitting.

When I was in high school (and let’s not think about how long ago that was), acrylic yarn was all the rage. Still today, acrylic is a popular knitting yarn, but I don’t recommend it for anything you will wear close to your skin. Itchy, itchy!  For afghans or other knitting accessories, it has its place.

Yarn quantities are measured in ounces or grams. The thickness of yarn is measured by weight. Weights are measurements from very light weights (fingering or lace) to middle-of-the-road weights (sport, double-knit, or worsted) to heavy weights (bulky, chunky and heavy-worsted).

Lastly, there are all the fun yarns, ranging from fun fur to loopy or popcorn yarn, all the way to something I just found recently called Sassy Lace by Red Heart yarns. I haven’t tried it yet, but one skein looks like it will knit up a pretty scarf, and there are lots of different colors.

Depending on what you are knitting, you will choose a yarn that fits your project. A baby blanket, for instance, would do well with a sport weight yarn. A rug would knit up nicely in a heavy weight yarn.  Whatever you knit, always remember to purchase enough yarn of the same dye lot. It’s amazing how different one color can look when you compare dye lots! On every yarn label, you’ll find those numbers, so match up the labels for that perfect project!

yarn mosaic


There you have it! A walk-through our knitting kitchen for some yarn know-how! As always, take your knitting to heart.

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