Types of Yarn and Yarn Weight
By: Christine Weiher, Editor for AllFreeCrochet
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Learn the types of yarn that are available for your free crochet patterns. You can also find the yarn weight to help you understand what each yarn can be used for. There are plenty of different yarns for you to use for each of your crochet projects. With that said, different fibers of yarn will result in a different look depending on what yarn you use for what project. Once you find the perfect yarn you're looking for you can go ahead with your crochet design. Below you can find a variety of yarn fibers.
Alpaca/Llama- South American llamas or alpacas produce very soft, warm yarn. Llama wool yarn is less soft and bulkier. Alpaca and llama wool is non-allergenic, since it does not have the lanolin found in lamb’s wool. This yarn does not accept color as well as wool though.
Angora- Angora is an especially soft rabbit fur yarn which has a fuzzy appearance.
Cashmere- Cashmere, from the soft undercoats of cashmere goats, is a more expensive yarn which is especially smooth while still retaining warmth.
Cotton- Made from cotton plants, many types of cotton yarn are treated with chemicals to make them more durable, mildew resistant, and able to accept dyes better. Some environmental concerns have been raised with traditional cotton production though.
Linen- Linen yarn is made from the flax plant and is a lightweight yarn perfect for summer garments.
Mohair- Mohair is a thick yarn from the Angora goat with an especially fuzzy look.
Silk- Silk comes from silkworm larvae and is very smooth and light. Since silk does not have much stretch, silk is generally combined with other fibers for yarn, often cashmere for a truly-luxurious yarn.
Wool- Many different kinds of wool exist and are spun into yarns with different weights and textures. Wool accepts color very well and is very warm. Merino wool yarn is a popular choice in making garments.
Many yarns blend different natural fibers, synthetic fibers or natural fibers with synthetic fibers, such as for a softer feel. If you want to felt your knitted or crochet project, you must ensure the yarn is at least 80% wool, but the other 20% can be synthetic.
Nylon, rayon, acrylic, viscose, and polyester are all synthetic fibers that appear in yarn. 100 % acrylic yarn is a common choice as it is the most inexpensive yarn. This makes acrylic yarn a good choice for those just learning how to knit or crochet.
Bamboo- Bamboo yarn has the feel of silk and is very strong. Bamboo is a renewable resource because it can be harvested without killing the plant, which then regenerates the removed bamboo in a couple of months.
Hemp- Hemp is another renewable resource which can be grown without pesticides or herbicides and is the strongest natural fiber. Hemp yarn garments are softer with each machine washing and can be treated for softness as yarn. Check out LanaKnits to read about and purchse Hemp yarn.
Yarn is divided by weight, or how many crochet stitches in a gauge of four (4) inches. The thinner the yarn, the more stitches in the gauge. The thicker the yarn, the less stitches in the gauge. Each yarn weight is also given a specific number for you to refer to.
(6) Super Bulky/Super Chunky (4-11 stitches for 4 inches)- These yarns yield the fastest projects with the fewest number of stitches.
(5) Bulky/Chunky (12-15 stitches for 4 inches)- These yarns are used for scarves, afghans, and other projects.
(4) Medium Weight/Worsted Weight and Aran (16-20 stitches to 4 inches)- These are the most popular weight yarns for a variety of projects.
(3) Light/DK (21-24 stitches to 4 inches)- These yarns are often used for lighter, summer-weight garments and many baby items.
(2) Fine (23-26 stitches to 4 inches)- These yarns are used for more intricate patterns and for projects such as socks.
(1) Super Fine (27-32 stitches to 4 inches)- These light yarns are used for baby items.
(0) Lace (33-40 stitches to 4 inches)- 10-count crochet thread used for lace projects.
Before you start working on your crochet designs you have to know all about your crochet stitches. In order to learn those you need to understand what crochet abbreviations mean.
You can also check out our Guide to Free Crochet Patterns eBook to help you get started.
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