Learn How to Choose the Right Yarn When You're New to Crochet (2024)



Crochet Basics


Amy Solovay

Amy Solovay

Amy Solovay is a needlecraft expert and professional textile designer who designs knitted, printed, and woven fabric for mass production. She shares her lifelong love of needlecrafts by writing tutorials and patterns. Amy has over 20 years of professional textile design and writing experience.

Learn more about The Spruce Crafts'Editorial Process

Updated on 11/23/19

Learn How to Choose the Right Yarn When You're New to Crochet (1)

These yarn recommendations are intended to help beginning crocheters select their first yarn to use for making practice swatches when learning how to crochet.You can crochet with just about any kind of yarn and even non-fiber yarn-like alternative materials. However, as a beginner, there are some yarn options that are going to be easier than others to work with, and you'll find it best to begin with these choices.

Fiber Type

The first decision that you have to make is what type of fiber you are going to work with. There are many, many different options for both animal fibers and plant fibers.You can crochet with everything from baby alpaca yarn to banana silk yarn. However, the three most common yarn choices for beginners are wool, cotton, and acrylic yarn. There are pros and cons to each, although any will be suitable for beginner crocheters.

  • Wool yarn:Wool is an excellent choice for practicing yourcrochet stitches.It isa resilient fiber and is forgiving of mistakes. If you do make a mistake, most wool yarns are easy to unravel and re-use (called frogging in crochet). Some people have wool allergies, which is something to be aware of, but for most people,​ wool yarn is a good choice for crochet.​
  • Cotton yarn:Cotton is aninelasticfiber, which makes it slightly more of a challenge to crochet with than wool is. (That same quality makes it a great choice for specific types of projects, though, where you want the item to hold its shape!) Although some people find cotton slightly more challenging than wool, it's not all that different, and it is certainly something you can try as a beginner. If you're learning to crochet during the summerwhen the heat makes it unpleasant to work with wool, cotton yarn is an especially great choice because it is lighter than wool.
  • Acrylic yarn:Overall, acrylic is a popular fiber with crochet enthusiasts; acrylic is widely available, it comes in a variety of colors, and it is usually one of the more affordable choices for yarn.Acrylic yarn is a more-than-acceptable choice for beginners. The one key thing to be aware of is that some of the cheapest acrylics can be challenging to crochet with because they may split apart. This isn't common but it does happen, so if you start to crochet with acrylic and are having a tough time, try switching to a different brand of acrylic yarn or to cotton or wool yarn instead. Don't make it hard on yourself to learn to crochet.

You may be wondering how you will know what kind of fiber you're working with. As you get used to working with different yarn types, you'll often be able to tell just by looking at or handling the yarn. However, before that becomes second nature, you can easily find the type of fiber listed on the yarn label. In fact, learning how to read a yarn label will provide all of the information you need to know when choosing the best yarn for crochet.


Watch Now: 3 Great Yarn Options for Crochet Beginners

Yarn vs. Thread

The fiber types that we have been discussing thus far refer primarily to yarn, as opposed to crochet thread. Thread tends to come in cotton or acrylic, though, so the information above covers the basics. Most people find that yarn, which is thicker than thread (see more sizing information below), is easier to work with than crochet thread. That said, there are certainlycrocheters who've jumped right intoworking with crochetthread from the beginning. People who wish to make lightweight, lacy items such as vintage-inspired doilies and tablecloths may want to start right in with crochet thread. However, if you don't have a strong preference, start with yarn and work your way towards threads.

Yarn Weights

As aforementioned, yarn is thicker than crochet thread. And there are different thicknesses of yarn as well. Thickness is called weight. You can find the weight of the yarn on its label, where it will be numbered 1-7(from the thinnest, which is like a thick crochet thread, to the thickest).As abeginner, it will be easiest to work with aworsted weight yarn, which is labeled #4 on the yarn label. This is a good medium-weight yarn. A "3" (DK weight) is also acceptable but might be too thin for some newbies. And a "5" (bulky weight) works well, too, but again may not be as easy as the worsted weight yarn. Everyone has their preferences, though, so don't be afraid to try different options.

Note: You should use the correct size of crochet hook recommended for the yarn weight that you are using. Most modern yarn labels will specify this size on the label. The Craft Yarn Council offers a standard guide to yarn weights and hook sizes.

Additional Tips and Considerations

Here are a few additional things to take into consideration when looking for a good yarn for crochet:

  • Yarn texture: Choosea smooth yarn rather than a textured yarn. For your first several projects, avoid eyelash yarnsand other textured novelty yarns,which can be frustrating to work with.​​
  • Yarn color: Choose light yarn rather than dark; it can be challenging to see your stitches when you work with yarns in dark colors.
  • Yarn price: The price of yarn can vary significantly from fiber to fiber and brand to brand. As a beginner, you may find it smart to select among the most affordable yarns so that you get the hang of the craft before investing a lot of money. That's why cotton, wool, and acrylic are top fiber choices; they tend to be the most affordable.
  • Yarn yardage: Every ball of yarncomes in different yardage amounts. This relates again to the price. You may find two balls of worsted weight wool yarn that are the same price; look at the yardage to make sure that they have approximately the same amount of yarn in each ball.
  • Yarn color dye lot: If you are going to be crocheting a large project that requires more than one ball of yarnthen you probably want to make sure that the colors all match (assuming that you are using the same color or colorway for the whole project). This is when you need to look at "dye lot" on the label; make sure that the balls you get all come from the same dye lot number so that they don't have significant differences between them.
  • Washing details: Different fiber typesmay require different washing instructions, which will be important if you are hoping to crochet something to wear. For example, you can use superwash wool that is safe to put in the washer and dryer or you can use a type of wool that will shrink in the dryer and must be hand washed and dried flat. Your yarn label should provide this information.
  • Ethics and yarn: There is a lot to be learned about sustainable yarn choices, organic yarn, vegan yarn, and other yarn decisions that may relate to your personal ethics around animals and the environment. If this is something that concerns you, there is a lot of information available to aid in your selections.

The most important thing to know is that you can crochet with any type of yarn so don't stress out too much about choosing "the perfect yarn" for your beginner projects. Have fun with it all.

As an expert in needlecrafts and crochet, I can provide you with information related to all the concepts used in the article "Needlecrafts Crochet Crochet Basics" by Amy Solovay. Let's dive into the key concepts discussed in the article:

Fiber Types for Crochet Yarn

The article mentions that there are many options for both animal fibers and plant fibers when it comes to choosing yarn for crochet. The three most common yarn choices for beginners are wool, cotton, and acrylic yarn. Here's a brief overview of each:

Wool yarn: Wool is a resilient fiber and forgiving of mistakes. It is an excellent choice for practicing crochet stitches. However, some people have wool allergies, so it's important to be aware of that.

Cotton yarn: Cotton is an inelastic fiber, which makes it slightly more challenging to crochet with than wool. However, it's lighter and a great choice for projects where you want the item to hold its shape.

Acrylic yarn: Acrylic is a popular fiber among crochet enthusiasts. It is widely available, comes in a variety of colors, and is usually more affordable. However, some cheaper acrylics may split apart, so it's recommended to try different brands if you encounter that issue.

Yarn vs. Thread

The article explains the difference between yarn and crochet thread. Yarn is thicker than thread and is generally easier to work with. Crochet thread is typically made of cotton or acrylic and is used for making lightweight, lacy items such as doilies and tablecloths.

Yarn Weights

Yarn comes in different thicknesses, which are referred to as yarn weights. The article specifically mentions three yarn weights for beginners:

Worsted weight yarn: This is labeled as #4 on the yarn label and is a good medium-weight yarn to start with.

DK weight yarn: Labeled as #3, this is a slightly thinner option but still acceptable for beginners.

Bulky weight yarn: Labeled as #5, this is thicker and may require some adjustment for beginners but can work well for certain projects.

It's important to match the size of the crochet hook with the yarn weight being used.

Additional Tips and Considerations

The article provides some additional tips and considerations when selecting yarn for crochet:

  • Choose smooth yarn rather than textured yarn for your first projects.
  • Opt for light-colored yarns, as they make it easier to see your stitches.
  • Consider the price and yardage of the yarn, especially if you're working on a larger project.
  • Pay attention to the dye lot if you need multiple balls of yarn for a project to ensure consistent colors.
  • Different fiber types may require different washing instructions, so check the yarn label for washing details.
  • Consider ethical aspects such as sustainable yarn choices, organic yarn, and vegan yarn, if they align with your personal values.

Remember, the most important thing is to have fun with your crochet projects and not to stress too much about choosing the "perfect yarn" for beginners.

If you have any specific questions or need further information on any of these concepts, feel free to ask!

Learn How to Choose the Right Yarn When You're New to Crochet (2024)
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