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Crochet Yarn: Choosing the Best Yarn for your Crochet Patterns

By: Christine Weiher, Editor for AllFreeCrochet
Updated September 27, 2017
Crochet Yarn Choosing the Best Yarn for your Crochet Patterns

Just over four years ago I decided to pick up a crochet hook and try detangling a skein of yarn. I'll be honest; I had no idea what I was doing. Trying to figure out the best yarn to use for the project I wanted to make was tricky - and then having to match my crochet hook to that, oh man!

There are a lot of things to keep in mind as you start learning how to crochet, from the tools you need to the techniques you need to know. Before you can even get to choosing your yarn colors and brands, you need to understand yarn weights. You need to know what kind of crochet yarn you're working with in order to choose the right hook size for the best outcome of your project. Once you've got the right tools for your project, you can start working on crocheting the perfect scarf, hat, or whatever you plan to make. 

Crochet Yarn Basics

I'm sure you're wondering how to choose the proper yarn for your crochet patterns. I don't blame you - there are SO many options! Well, let's start with the basics. Yarn can be called a skein, a hank or a ball. Most yarn that you'll buy at a bigger yarn or craft store will come in skeins or balls, while 

ball of yarn is yarn that's wrapped up in a ball, as the name suggests. It's round, and you can pull from within the ball or from the outside to start crocheting.

A skein of yarn is similar to a ball, except it is a more oval shape. You can still pull from within the skein to start crocheting, or work from the outside end. 

A hank of yarn is yarn that's been wound into a larger ring of yarn. It's then twisted to keep it from tangling. When you receive a hank of yarn, you'll need to wind it into a ball or skein before you start using it (or risk a tangled headache). 

When first learning how to crochet I suggest you start out with cheap crochet yarn as you're probably going to make a lot of mistakes. You'll either leave the mistakes or you'll rip them out and start over, aka frog it (rip it rip it).

Crochet Ball vs Skein vs Hank

Types of Crochet Yarn and Yarn Weight

As a beginner, I found it easiest to work with bulky weight yarn as it slid through my fingers easily. When working with bulky yarn, you also work with a larger hook size making the whole process a breeze. But should you buy acrylic yarn or still with heavy wool yarn? Maybe you should go with a silk blend?

When trying to decide on yarn, your first choice will be between natural fibers and synthetic. From there, you have a variety of options available to you. Synthetic yarns are man-made and produced, but are often cheaper (though not always the softest), but they can usually handle machine washing and dryin. On the flip side, natural yarns like cotton or silk (or even a blend) tends to be of a higher quality. These fibers are naturally softer and more luxurious... but they might require more careful care. 

When choosing the proper yarn for your crochet patterns you should also know the different yarn weights to choose from. Yarn weights play a crucial role when working up patterns. On every skein of yarn, you'll see what type of yarn it is and what the recommended hook size is. Using that yarn with the specified hook size will give you the best results.

Types of Yarn

Yarn Textures

What you're crocheting and what type of results you're looking for will determine the texture and colors of the yarn. If you already have a design in mind then choosing colors shouldn't be a problem, but textures might be.

Softer yarns are great for wearables and baby items, while wool yarns which might be great for winter items like hats and scarves. There are also the fuzzy types of yarn which are great for fun and stand-out projects. Fuzzy yarns like Red Heart Stellar or Lion Brand Bellini Yarn are great for hats, scarves and cowls; they're also great at hiding your mistakes.


Crochet Yarn Labels

Before you fill your cart with your favorite colors of yarn, be sure you look at the labels on the skein and that you understand how to read yarn labels. Each label should tell you the yarn weight, the hook and needle size, the care instructions and most importantly the yardage.

The yardage of the yarn is important to look at because this will determine how many skeins of yarn you need for your project. If a crochet pattern calls for 70 yards and the skein you're looking at is 30 yards, you're going to need three skeins to be sure you have enough to start and complete your project.

Another thing to pay attention to is the dye lot. Many skeins of yarn are appointed a dye lot number - all the skeins with the same dye lot were dyed at the same time. This is important to know because let's say you run out of yarn in the middle of a pattern, you now have to buy the same yarn that came from the same dye lot. What's the big deal? If you buy the same color and the same brand, but the dye lot is different, your project's coloring could differ ever so slightly. 

The care instructions are also important to note. Should you hand wash something? Avoid ironing something? For instance, if you're crocheting a project for babies or small children, you should probably get yarn that's machine washable. 

How to Read Crochet Yarn Labels

Last Minute Tips

I know you just want to get out there and fill your cart with as many beautiful crochet colors as possible but do your research first. Find a pattern that interests you, decide on color and texture and then figure out how much yardage is needed for that project.

Be sure you read labels carefully and take a look at dye lot numbers for that perfect match. If you follow these tips on how to choose the perfect yarn then you're sure to come up with an amazing crochet pattern.

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I wish I had read this article when I first started crocheting! I must have gotten lucky with some of my first few projects, since I'm sure I didn't think to check dye lots or yardage.

How do I know when to use cotton or acrylic or a blend?

I to am a beginner and I started my second project with beautiful thin yarn. I became frustrated and decided I need to work with heavier yarn and a larger hook. It is much easier. Thank you for your information.

Also, most patterns will tell you how many ounces you need instead of how many yards. This amount, too, is on the label. Always buy enough at the same time to be sure you get the same dye lot. It's also easy to turn those crocheted doily patterns into afghan patterns by using yarn instead of the thread. Use your imagination!

Hi I m a beginner and i can relate to what you have shared this blog of yours helped learn a vital lesson thank you for such informative post...


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