What is Yarn?
Firstly you need to say yarn not wool. Not all yarn is wool. Yarn refers to the physical state of the material – it’s any fibre spun out to look like like string. You can get cotton yarn, synthetic yarn, wool yarn, alpaca yarn. If you say ‘wool’ most people will think you mean actual wool. So if you mean cotton, say cotton yarn.
Cotton Crochet Yarn
Most vintage crochet patterns call for this style of yarn. It’s very thin, very fine and is usually used to work crochet lace or fillet crochet You would use a very fine hook with crochet cotton thread – about 1.75 ml or 2ml hook
A non-shine to it fibre that it generally means untreated cotton. Matte cotton is very strong, breathable and durable so it’s good for clothing items that will get washed and worn a lot.
This is a treated style of cotton that makes it very strong and it’s great for holding its shape. It has a bit of a reflective sheen to it so it will make a project look quite different from untreated cotton. Mercerized cotton comes in lots of bright colours so it’s great for kids projects.
No wool is the same as any other kind of wool. Some is very soft like merino, alpaca and cashmere (luxury wool) and others are denser and scratchier like 100% sheeps wool. Luxury wools are usually softer and if you’re making something for a friend make sure they aren’t allergic to wool. Some people find it very scratchy and difficult to wear – for these people acrylic or cottons are best. Untreated wool is often quite unpleasant to the touch so make sure you touch a knitted or crocheted sample before buying multiple balls.
Silk yarn is pretty expensive but it’s lovely to work with – it has a nice drape and it’s also great for people with allergies – it’s not as irritating as wool. Silk yarns are often finer than other yarns so they’re perfect for open lace crochet worked with a very fine hook. Silk is also lovely to use for luxury garments or special gifts for christenings or weddings.
Linen yarn is also classed as a luxury yarn and it can be very fine or quite bulky. It’s great for classic homewares and minimalist clothing items.
Hemp and String
This is a rustic looking yarn that’s perfect for people with more organic tastes. Hemp and string is great to work with as it’s inexpensive but you need to take are of your hands – crocheting rough materials can leave your skin dry and can even cause blistering so be wary of that.
Usually used in sock yarns, nylon is soft, durable and flexible.
The cheapest of all the yarns, it often feels a bit scratchier than other synthetics but it comes in the most beautiful bright colours that are difficult to achieve with natural fibres.
These are used to make specialty yarns like fluffy yarns, glitter and sparkle yarns and novelty baby yarns. They’re not usually very warm but they wear quite well and are great for making costumes and kids accessories.
Natural and synthetic mixes
Synthetic fibres are often added to natural ones to add strength and structure and to stop the natural fibres from splitting. Wool and synthetic blends are good for almost everything. and are a personal favourite of mine as they’re cost effective and if you add synthetics to wool it can make it softer and much more wearable without having fork out for luxury yarns like cashmere.
Wool and cotton blends
Cotton is often added to wool to make it softer and more wearable. Perfect for people who favour 100% natural fibres but find wool to be too scratchy.
These yarns change colour as you crochet – they’re a great way to get a good mix of colours without having to change yarns all the time.