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  • Writer's pictureLucy Duffy

Lets talk about yarn!

Are you ready to get crafty with some yarn? Then you've come to the right place! Yarn is a versatile & essential material in knitting & crochet. However, with such a wide variety available, choosing the right yarn for your project can feel overwhelming. Understanding the different types of yarn, their weights, & the symbols on the label is crucial to achieving the desired results

As a long-time knitter and crochet enthusiast, I'm excited to share with you what I have learned over the years about yarn, & how to pick the right one to create your own beautiful projects. So grab your needles or hook & let's get started!

In this post we I will be looking at:

The different types of yarn

There are several types of yarn available, & each type has its unique characteristics. I am going to share the most common types with you:

Acrylic yarn is made from synthetic fibres & is popular because it is affordable, durable, & easy to care for, making it a popular choice for beginners. It's lightweight & warm. Acrylic yarn is available in a wide variety of colors & textures, making it perfect for projects like blankets, hats, & scarves.

Polyester yarn is made from petroleum products.It's a versatile synthetic fibre, known for its durability, wrinkle resistance, & easy care. It's good for projects like blankets & homewares.

Metallic yarn is made by wrapping a thin strip of metal around a core of synthetic or natural fibres. It's often used for decorative purposes in clothing, accessories, and home decor.

Wool Yarn. The classic, timeless fibre that keeps us cosy & warm on chilly winter nights. Wool yarn is made from the fleece of sheep or lamb. It's soft, durable, & versatile. It comes in a variety of weights, from bulky to fingering, & can be used for a wide range of projects, including hats, scarves, sweaters, & blankets. Plus, it's a renewable resource, making it an eco-friendly choice for conscientious crafters.

Merino wool yarn is a soft, lightweight, & elastic yarn that is made from the fleece of Merino sheep. It's perfect for creating garments that are comfortable and warm, without feeling bulky. Also, it's available in a range of natural colors and is easy to dye, making it a great choice if you want to experiment with dyeing your own yarn.

Alpaca yarn is another yarn made from natural fibres, It's a luxurious, soft fibre that's perfect for cosy winter projects. It's made from the fleece of the alpaca, a South American animal, & is warm, lightweight, & hypoallergenic. Alpaca yarn comes in a range of weights, from sport to bulky, & is great for projects like hats, mittens, & jumpers.

Cotton Yarn. If you're looking for a lightweight, breathable & durable yarn, cotton is the way to go. Cotton yarn is made from the fibres of the cotton plant, & is perfect for warm-weather garments & accessories, such as tank tops, beach bags, & lightweight shawls. It also comes in a variety of weights, so you can choose the right thickness for your project. It's also a great choice for those with sensitive skin, as it's hypoallergenic and easy to care for.

Mohair yarn is made from the long, silky fibres of the Angora goat. It's a fluffy, soft, & warm fibre that's perfect for creating cosy blankets & sweaters. Plus, its unique texture & sheen make it a great choice for creating eye-catching accessories.

Silk yarn is a luxurious & strong fibre that's made from the cocoon of the silk worm. It's perfect for creating elegant & delicate pieces such as scarves & shawls. Plus, it's hypoallergenic & breathable, making it another great choice for those with sensitive skin.

Symbols on Yarn Labels

When you purchase a ball of yarn, you'll notice that there are symbols on the label. These symbols provide important information about the yarn, such as its weight, & care instructions. Here are some of the most common symbols you might see & what they mean:

Care Instructions. The care instructions symbol tells you how to care for your finished project. Some yarns can be machine washed and dried, while others need to be hand washed and dried flat. In the image above, the label is telling you that an item made using this yarn can be machine washed at 40 degrees, can be dry cleaned, can be ironed on a low setting when it is dry & can also be dried in the tumble drier on a low setting.

Gauge. Usually this is a square or little checkerboard with measurements in centimetres or inches (the one above has 10 x 10 cm) & a row and stitch count – like 18 stitches x 24 rows. This is the size you can expect your swatch to be when using that particular yarn with the recommended needle/hook size.

Recommended needle/hook size. The symbol showing either a pair of knitting needles or a crochet hook, helps you to identify the size you should use. This will be given in both millimetres (mm) & the number for that size - remember it's only a recommendation, if you want to ignore it feel free but you may not get the result you were expecting.

Weight of the ball. This one is to tell you how many grams of yarn the ball weighs, NOT the yarn weight. The example in the photo tells you that this ball weighs 25 grams & that it's length is approximately 57.5 metres. These numbers are especially important if you are following a pattern & want to substitute the stated yarn. Make sure the meterage is the same.

Yarn weight. The weight symbol tells you how thick or thin the yarn is. Yarns are classified into different weights, from lace weight (the thinnest) to super bulky weight (the thickest). The weight of the yarn will determine what kind of project it's suitable for.

Different Weights of Yarn

Now that you know all about the different types of yarn, what the labels are & that there are different weight, let's talk a little more about the different weights & how you can use them to create stunning projects.

Lace Weight Yarn (0) is the thinnest yarn available, making it perfect for delicate projects such as shawls & doilies. It's also great for creating lightweight scarves & wraps.

Fingering Weight Yarn, (1) also known as sock yarn, is slightly thicker than lace weight yarn & is good for creating delicate projects such as socks & baby clothes. It's also great for creating lightweight shawls and scarves.

Sport Weight Yarn, (2) also known as baby weight yarn (4 ply) is ideal for creating lightweight garments such as jumpers & cardigans. It's also great for creating scarves & hats.

DK Weight Yarn, (3) also known as worsted weight yarn is the most popular weight of yarn here in UK. It's perfect for creating a wide range of projects, including scarves, hats, mittens, & jumpers.

Aran weight yarn, (4) is a medium-weight yarn that can be used for a variety of projects such as jumpers, blankets, hats, & scarves. Its tight twist makes it ideal for cable & texture patterns.

Chunky Weight Yarn, (5) also known as bulky weight yarn is a thick, bulky yarn that is perfect for quick & cosy projects. It's a great choice for winter accessories, blankets, & home decor. The thickness of the yarn creates a warm & plush texture, making it perfect for cold-weather items.

Super Chunky weight yarn, (6) also known as super bulky weight yarn is an ultra-thick & bulky yarn that is perfect for creating warm and cosy projects quickly. It's great for making blankets, cowls, & hats. The thickness of the yarn creates a luxurious texture & is ideal for making statement pieces.


In conclusion, yarn may seem like a simple crafting material, but there's a lot to consider when choosing the right type & weight. With this guide, I hope that I've made the process a little less daunting. Remember to read those labels, consider the project, & choose the yarn that makes your heart sing. Happy crafting!

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