When it comes to crochet projects, (or any homemade item) we always want the perfect outcome! It has to look just right! And not only does it need to look good, but the quality of the project also has to be good as well! You don’t want to make a blanket for somebody and because you choose the wrong yarn the blanket ends up feeling too scratchy to even cuddle up with!
So, that brings up a few questions, how do I know what yarn to choose?! What are the differences in the types, why are there different thicknesses, and how do I know which one to use with which size crochet hook?!
Hence, this post right here! I’m going to cover a lot of information such as the difference in wool types, advantages, and disadvantages of each and yarn weights, along with a guide to how all that corresponds with your size crochet hook!
How to Choose the Perfect Yarn for your Crochet Projects!
What types of yarn are there?
The most common types of yarn are cotton, wool and acrylic.
Characteristics: Made from natural animal fiber spun from the fleece of sheep (Or other animals). Comes in varieties of softness and fiber length. Its good for beginners because it’s a resilient fiber and forgiving of mistakes. However, some wool is very fine, while other wool can be very hairy, so pay attention to how it feels when buying!
Advantages: Usually affordable, warm, long-lasting, forgiving of mistakes (Meaning if you do make a mistake, most wool yarns are easy to unravel and re-use) Perfect for a beginner!
Disadvantages: Some people have wool allergies (Which comes from sensitivity to animal fibers) that will irritate the skin, hot to work with in the summer months, and if you buy the wrong yarn, it can feel scratchy!
Characteristics: Cotton is a natural vegetable fiber made from the cotton plant. It’s an inelastic fiber, which makes it slightly more of a challenge to crochet with than wool is. (However, this is a good quality for yarn to have in situations when you want your yarn to hold it’s shape!)
Advantages: It won’t irritate sensitive skin like wool, it’s stiffer, so it holds its shape (An advantage or disadvantage, depending on the project!) Washable, lighter than wool (So it will be cooler to work with in the summer!) and it’s inexpensive!
Disadvantages: Some may find it harder to work with than wool, it’s stiffer, so it holds its shape (Again, an advantage or disadvantage, depending on the project!) unforgiving on mistakes, large projects can be heavy on the hands, and it is likely to stretch with wear and will shrink when washed.
Characteristics: Made out of synthetic polymer fiber made from polyacrylonitrile. (I know, what the heck does that mean?!) In other words, its basically a form of plastic. It’s one of the more common types of yarn and comes in a wide variety of colors. Perfect for beginners (And my recommended choice!)
Advantages: Inexpensive, washable, won’t irritate sensitive skin, widely available, and has endless color choices!
Disadvantages: It is flammable! This is one of the most important things to note! Because it is synthetic and basically plastic, if you hold it over an open flame it will start to burn- you will literally start to smell burning plastic! Also, the yarn may pill (split apart) while you’re working.
Acrylic yarn gets a bad rep sometimes in the crochet world for being “cheap” but honestly, I have been crocheting with Red Heart acrylic yarn all my life, and my grandma (who taught me) has been using the yarn even before me (which is where I got it from of course!). Neither of us has ever had an issue with the yarn, so acrylic gets my vote on the better yarn to use!
Crochet Yarn vs. Crochet Thread
There is one more type of “yarn” to use, and that is crochet thread.
Characteristics: This is typically made out of cotton or acrylic, so the information mentioned before covers this option as well. It is a thread, so it is a lot thinner than normal crochet yarn.
Advantages: It is perfect, and commonly used, to make more delicate or smaller items like crochet dollies or tiny amigurumi.
Disadvantages: This thread can run very thin making it pretty hard to work with as a beginner! (However not impossible!) when it gets knotted, because of how thin it is, knots are almost impossible to get out!
Whew! That was a lot, wasn’t it? But guess what? Now that all that is out of the way, we still have more things to cover! I told you to get ready to learn! 🙂
Just as yarn and thread have two different thicknesses, yarn, in general, has different thicknesses as well! “Thickness” is also known as “weight”. You can find out the weight of the yarn by looking on the label, which will be numbered 1-7 (1 being thinnest, which is like a thick crochet thread, to the thickest, chunkiest, yarn).
The easiest yarn to work with for beginners is worsted weight yarn (Which is medium-weight yarn). On the #1-7 weight spectrum, worsted yarn falls at #4
It is important to know what weight you are using, as this will affect the overall outcome of your crochet project. (Hint: Need extra help? The Craft Yarn Council offers a standard guide to yarn weights and hooks sizes. ) Although, if you are following along with a pattern or tutorial, it’s likely they will tell you exactly what you will need for their project!
What About Crochet Hooks?
Corresponding your crochet hook with the yarn weight you choose is the next important step in crochet. If you’re interested in learning more about crochet hooks, check out this post here where I go over how to choose the perfect hook for your crochet project! I’ll tell you all about what the hook sizes mean, how you know which one you need, what materials hooks are made out of and a recommendation to my favorite hooks!