A Guide to Knitting Yarn
A. Yarn Fibers
Made from the fleece of sheep and one of the most popular yarns. Very warm, breathable and durable, however it can be slightly itchy and prone to pilling over time.
There are many types of sheep, so we have many different types of wool:
- Merino wool is considered the finest of the fine breeds, it's softness, elasticitsy and warmth.
- Lamb’s wool: Comes from a young lamb’s first shearing.
- Pure new wool/virgin wool: Wool that’s made directly from animal fleece and not recycled from existing wool garments.
- Shetland wool: Made from the small and hardy native sheep of Scotland’s Shetland Islands.
- Icelandic wool: A rustic, soft yarn.
- Washable wool: Treated chemically or electronically to destroy the outer fuzzy layer of fibers.
Warm and drapey are some of the biggest characteristics of Alpaca ,so this type of yarn is best for small winter projects. It is light in weight, soft to the touch, water-resistant and water repellen, less elastic than wool.
This dense fiber is hypoallergenic, making it a good option for those with sensitive skin, particularly for baby knitwear.
The softest and fluffiest yarn. It comes from goats. Because of its superior insulation, it is well-suited for winter cardigans and accessories.
Cotton is a plant-based fiber, it is light and breathable, so it's a popular fiber for the summer season. The biggest drawbacks of cotton is that is inelastic and it is a rather rigid yarn. To fix this, find a blend with wool.
Acrylic yarn is a man-made fiber. It's cheap and the best choice for beginner knitters.
It's durable, lightweight and easy to clean, you can use the washing machine to clean it without shrinking or shedding. If you are planning on knitting something you know you have to wash regularly, this is the yarn to go for, such as sweaters, linings, gloves, furnishings, baby garments and blankets.
However, once you've gotten a better hand on knitting, its best to move onto the natural fibers.
Angora wool or Angora fiber refers to the downy coat produced by the Angora rabbit. While their names are similar, Angora fiber is distinct from mohair, which comes from the Angora goat.
It is much warmer, soft, thin and lighter than wool so this yarn is a favorite for cowls, hats, mittens and scarves.
B. Yarn weights
The Yarn Weights Chart is an infographic with everything you need to know about knitting needles, yarn types, and projects.