Help, Please!

Hi, I’m Parthenia. (first post, and all that…)

I know (basically) how to knit, but I really know nothing about yarn. I’m going to the store to buy yarn for two projects, these baby socks ( and these slippers (

For the baby socks, the pattern says to get North Country Cotton, but I kind of doubt that my store will have that, so will another “worsted” cotton yarn work? What is worsted? Will it say that on the label if I’ve got the right one?
(see, I told you I was clueless)

For the slippers, again it says to get “worsted” weight wool for felting. (perhaps “worsted” is a thickness?) Will any wool felt? Anything else on the label to look for?

Thanks so much!


Yes, worsted is a thickness, or weight of the yarn. Worsted is the most common you’ll find–regular old run of the mill weight. It’ll say worsted on the label. Other weights are dk, sport, fingering–thinner and bulky, chunky–thicker.

Cotton comes basically two ways that I know about–one has kind of a matte look, like Sugar & Cream–used a lot for washclothes and such, but can be used for other things, too. The other is mercandized cotton which has a shinier appearance. As long as the weight and gauge matches the yarn you’re substituting, you should be ok.

For felting you need to make sure you get 100% wool. It will tell you on the label what the composition is, but won’t mention felting. White or very light wool won’t felt, either because the bleaching process takes away the little hairs that make it felt.

Also make sure the label of the wool doesn’t say ‘super-wash’ or machine washable–that won’t be feltable, either. Just regular hand-wash, 100% wool.

the label will tell you everything you need to know!!!

On the label, it will tell you the fiber content… wool, acrylic, cotton, merino, etc. It will also give you a recommended needle size, the weight of the yarn (fingering, DK, worsted, bulky) and how many yards are in the ball or skein.

north country cotton is worsted cotton, 200 yards per ball/skein and recommends size 6 needles with a guage of 5 stitches per inch (i got the info here.) You want to find a similar cotton (worsted) and make sure that you get the right amount of yarn… according to the pattern, you need 65 yards, so 1 ball of the north country would be enough with some extra. If the substitute cotton you want is less yardage than the NCC, you’d need moreballs or skeins (for instance, if the cotton you want is 50 yards per ball, you’d need to get 2 of them).

About felting… I love felting! Any yarn that comes from animal hair/fur/fleece/wiskers will felt. Acrylic, cotton, and some wool blends will not felt; also, wool that is labeled “superwash” won’t felt, and neither will some wool that is bleached white. The process of felting raises and intertwines the scales of the hair/fleece/fur/wiskers and the yarns that don’t felt don’t have these scales. Again, you can look on the label… if it says 100% wool and isn’t white you can be pretty sure it will felt! If you’re going to a yarn store (as opposed to michaels or other big craft store) he people there will be able to help you, too–just ask them whether or not the yarn will felt.

good luck on your projects!

ooops ingy beat me, again!!!

Your dissertation was much more complete and detailed than mine, though!! Must be the PhD gene coming through!

Thanks so much! I’m off to the store now :slight_smile:

The most AWESOME resource I have found for comparing yarns is YARNDEX.