How to Choose the Best Yarn for My Knitting Project

July 23, 2020 3 min read

Choose the Best Yarn for Knitting Project- Various Knitted Hats

I have never met a knitter who didn't have baskets and bags of assorted gorgeous yarn skeins hanging around. Fabulous yarn is so difficult to resist and so easy to impulse purchase. Now that your irresistible skeins of yarn are out of control, it is time to match them with a suitable project. 

Consider the Knitting Project Purpose

Not every yarn works with every project. Will your project be a gift for a loved one? If so, think about that person's favorite colors and textures. Are you making a baby blanket or garment for a child? If so, be sure to select yarn that is durable, washable, and soft. Do you plan to make a warm, comfy beanie hat? If so, a worsted weight yarn is the best choice. Use that gradient color skein of silk yarn for an elegant shawl that will dazzle. There are several variables to consider when pairing the perfect yarn to a project. Start by taking inventory of your yarn so that you know exactly what you have.

Answer these questions for each project and you will confidently select the appropriate yarn.

What type of fiber should I use for my knitting project?

Animal Fiber Yarn for Knitting

Three primary types of fibers are used to create most yarn. Blends of each fiber type create the variations that you experience. 

  • Plant Fiber. Cotton, hemp, and linen are the most common plant fibers and are stiffer than other fibers. They are also cooler than other fibers, so are best used to craft garments for warmer climates. Plant fibers are durable and versatile. Shawls, throw blankets, and table coverings are typically made with yarn made with plant fibers. 
  • Animal Fiber. Yarns made from animal fibers usually refer to alpaca, cashmere, llama, mohair, yak, and wool. Known for their warmth and elasticity, yarns containing animal fibers are excellent for scarves, cozy blankets, socks, and sweaters. 
  • Silk. It is rare to find raw silk, as most silk yarns contain a blend of both animal and plant fibers. Silk is a protein based fiber that is impossibly soft and luxurious. Silk yarns hold dye extraordinarily well to create deep, rich colors. Silk yarn can be tricky to work with, so reserve this for smaller projects and accessories.

What texture is best for my knitting project?

Find a knitting project for your yarn

Although fun yarns with glitter and ridges look exciting, save them for scarves and shawls. Complex stitch patterns used for sweaters and other large projects work best with multi-plied yarn that gives a smooth finish. Select yarns for each project that help your knitting stitches stand out.

What color should I choose for my knitting project?

This is where your creativity and imagination take over. However, there are a few guidelines to consider when selecting yarn color. Variegated yarns are exquisite to buy and knit with, but won't work well with projects where the color variation doesn't make sense. Intricate stitches are on display with lighter colors but seem to get lost in darker yarns. When knitting baby items, opt for white, cream, or pastel colors. Most importantly, once you pair a knitting project with the perfect yarn, be sure to purchase enough of it in the same dye lot. 

The type of yarn you use for your project will also determine how you will care for and launder the garment. If your project is made as a gift, include laundering instructions specific to the yarn you chose. 


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