Different yarns?

I am new to knitting (I like to knit sweaters) and totally confused about all the different yarns. I have read that Synthetic yarns (Nylon, polyester, acrylic and rayon) can be cheap in appearance…is this true? If so what is the solution to the sweater not looking cheap?

Also I find the Standard yarn weight system confusing for instance a worsted weight yarn #4 can be 4 ply or 3 ply (just the ones I have seen there may be more different ply’s). How do you know what to use? I usually do not use the yarn the pattern requests so I have to substitute something else.

Since I am just beginning I would like to have a sweater that looks nice but does not cost a fortune in yarn.

All advice would be greatly appreciated!

You’ve discovered the problem with going by how many plies a yarn has. It used to be used more (and may still be used in some areas), but just go by yarn weight listed on the label. That’s easiest. You can also get an idea of yarn weight by looking at the gauge. It takes some time to learn that, but once you are used to reading labels it’s pretty easy.

Not all acrylics are created equal. Some of them are very nice. If you can wear wool an nice, fairly inexpensive yarn is Plymouth Encore. It’s mostly acrylic and has some wool and comes in gorgeous colors. I use it all the time and love knitting with it. You can buy online or in your LYS (local yarn store).

Here are their two worsted types, but they have everything from sock to bulky weights.

I have a pattern that calls for worsted weight cotton yarn. I have quite a bit of a nylon suede yarn (dk) that I would like to use instead. Can I knit the pattern with two strands of Dk to get an equivalent guage?

No, dk weight is only a little thinner than worsted and doubled would be more like a bulky yarn. You could try knitting the dk on the same needles as the pattern and see how it works. What sort of pattern is it? If it’s a washcloth, the nylon suede wouldn’t be a good substitute fiberwise anyway.

The pattern is for a tunic type dress. Thanks for your help. I’ll give it a try with guage swatch and a smaller needle-that may have been the problem

You can use a smaller needle then but maybe make a larger size of the pattern.


Which Synthetic yarns are good? I have used Caron, Red Heart Impeccable. I am close to Michales and Craft Mart stores. Most of what I buy comes from these.

I actually do have some Encore yarn. I bought it from a local (if you can call a 45mim. drive one way local. Where I live is not a small area but no privately owned yarn store near) yarn store. I love the feel of the Encore and have a project in mind. I knew that the Encore came in a lot of different colors but not near as many as the links that you sent. Where can you buy it on line?

I don’t understand how the gauge can help you with the weight of the yarn.

Thanks so much for the help.

Gauge is the number of stitches over a specified number of inches…usually 4. This link shows you the appx number of stitches. I can now look at a gauge know that it’s DK, worsted or whatever. Very handy. There are some other useful charts on this site as well.

Well, I’m not sure which ones you’d think look good vs cheap. That’s a personal call and what one thinks looks cheap another loves. :shrug:

I rarely use yarn from those stores anymore either since I’ve gotten used to my LYS yarns like Plymouth Encore and Jeannee, Berroco Comfort. Those are my go to yarns for a lot of projects. These are the stores I shop at online usually if I’m looking for a specific brand, but there are many others. You may have to research each one for best price.


I tend more to look at the needle size used in the gauge (for the yarn, not a pattern) to tell me about the weight. I don’t pay attention to gauge because I always knit to my own anyway.

Of the yarns you’ve used, do you like them? Many people like Caron’s Simply soft, their Country wool blend and Spa bamboo blend are nice too. But many people find them splitty; since I knit at a looser gauge I don’t have that problem.

I like the Bernat Satin yarn, both sport and worsted, and have liked the other Bernat yarns too. Lion’s woolease and cottonease are nice. Homespun looks cool, but I wouldn’t recommend it while you’re learning.

Basically try out different ones for small projects or just to sampler knit. They’re often on sale or you can use a 40% off coupon. What one person likes another person hates, so it’s really more of a personal preference.

She’s a new knitter, Sue. That’s why I gave her only basic info about gauge. :wink:

I love this forum! Great information! :hug:

I have crocheted afghans for sometime. I used Red Heart…didn’t matter to me what the yarn was.

I always wanted to knit but didn’t know anyone who could teach me so I taught myself by using video’s on the internet.

Both comments regarding gauge were helpful…will take a while to sink into my brain.

I am really glad that you both have answered the question about Synthetic yarns. I don’t really know which yarns I prefer yet still a little early. I have used Bernat ( I used it for my 1st sweater) but not the satin.

Michales here will let you use several 40% coupon, but they have to be rung up separately.

Jan, thanks to you for sending links to the sites…the first one that you sent Encore yarn was less than what I paid at the yarn store.

Suzeeq, Thank you for your time in answering my questions.

I have learned from both of you! Happy knitting! :knitting:

Sure, I just thought I’d give her a few more tips to look for.

One can NEVER have too many tips! :wink:

I’ll qualify this by saying that I can be a bit of a yarn snob. I generally will not use any kind of synthetic fibre unless it is used to strenghthen a natural one. That being said, I actually kind of like the Caron’s Simply Soft. Its very soft and easy to knit with. It feels nice and doesn’t have that scratchy or plasticy feel that acrylic can get. My only main compaint about it is that it gets unneccessarily fluffy. As you work with it it will start to get fuzzy.

Try Bernat Satin, it’s very similar to SS and comes in a worsted and sport weight.

Wow …do not like the idea of Caron’s Simply Soft getting fuzzy. This is not the look I would be going for. I have some Simply Soft that I purchased a while back. I was going to use it for a sweater pattern that I have…not so sure now.

Suzeeq, does the Bernat Satin get fuzzy? I have looked at it in the store but have never bought the Satin.

Thanks again to all of you…so much helpful information!

:knitting: wish I could knit the fast!

I’ve done a lot of knitting with Simply Soft and didn’t find that it got fuzzy at all - either while I was knitting it or after washing. So I think it depends. Same with the Bernat Satin, I didn’t find it to get fuzzy.


Thank heavens for that…I was going to use the Simply Soft for my next sweater…probably would have changed my mind. It takes me to long to knit a sweater so not worth using yarn that will not look good. :happydance: