What Can You Tell A Relative Newbie About Yarn

:shrug: I still have lots of questions about yarn…type, weight, substituting in a pattern, etc. Any tips you have for a yarn newbie would be appreciated!

This apprehension makes me insecure about buying yarn online OR (and especially) making something in a different yarn because I’m afraid it won’t look or feel the same if I make the changes.

Buying online is hard also if you don’t really know your yarn. When I started all I bought were the cheap 100% Acryllic Red Heart skeins at Walmart, now I’m graduating into the better stuff, and I want to make sure I don’t make a mistake when buying online. :oops:

I’m still a relative newbie. I just learned to knit this summer, and I’ve found it much easier to work with at least worsted weight yarn. I even prefer chunky to worsted usually.

Use whatever material you prefer.

Good luck!! :thumbsup:

Hello Ariel for openers I’m glad you decided not to use that Red Hart yarn any more. It’s fine for large projects like afgans but for clothes, you can’t beat wool or cotton. Most yarns today have number codes to give you an idea of weight eg., 1 is lace wht,.2 fingering 3 sport etc. A lot of us here do buy on line and as far as price goes sights like Knitpicks and Elann can/t be beat. Try a few - maybe for a hat or mittens just to get the feel of the yarn. xxx good luck Ellie

I don’t think we can tell you anything that hasn’t been documented extensively in online tutorials or essays for people who aren’t confident with fibre basics/substituting etc. Try Knitty to start.


I love trying new yarns and have to mostly shop online.

What I do is buy yarn I find so discounted, that it’s cheaper than it’s selling for on ebay. I figure that way, if it’s not what I want, I can easily put it up for sale on the board or ebay and try again :slight_smile:

This has allowed me to find out what types of yarns I really like.

Knowing what type of knitting you are going to be doing will help.

If you are knitting for yourself and don’t mind handwashing… that would open more options.

If you do a lot of gift knitting, you might want something else.

Knitting for children moves in a different direction.

For me, I like machine washable merino’s for gifts.

Debbie Bliss Aran and DK weight merino’s were on sale at Littleknits.com for about half what they were selling for on ebay. So I bought a fair amount :slight_smile:

I read good things about Karabella Aurora 8. So I watched and when someone was destashing a few balls for about half retail, I bought them. I loved the yarn, so when I saw it go on sale for 40% off, I bought a bunch!

Watch elann.com preview tab. It tells you what yarns are coming up and when. Some sell out FAST. It’s a chance to try some yarns without breaking the bank.

Look at blogs and see what people are using for what items that you like. Notice how the cables do or the drape looks… it can help you decide what to try.

The more you knit and try various fibers, the better idea you will have about what you like, and how those fibers tend to act under different circumstances. Think of it like learning to sculpt… and how different mediums will react :slight_smile:

When I want to experiment with luxury fibers with abandon… not thinking I have to find the perfect pattern because the yarn cost $$$$$ , then I use recycled yarns.

I love grabbing cashmere or angora or merino and just trying things without worry. I mean… when I only have 99 cents - $5 in an entire sweater’s worth of yarn, I can afford to gamble!

Just a few ideas.

Mama Bear

Oh, one more thing!

Yarndex.com is an EXCELLENT resource!

You can go look up all the yarns that are a certain fiber, or a certain weight. Some have reviews. They will tell you the manufacturers suggested retail price, fiber content, etc. It’s a great way to get to know yarns and to find substitutions.

Mama Bear

Thanks for all that! BTW, what is “recycled yarn”?

Recycled yarn is yarn that used to be a sweater you find at the thrift store for less than $3 and then unraveled to become your next project. You need to look at labels for wool, cotton, mohair, angora, cashmere or blends. Then you need to look at the seams to see if they were knit in pieces and seamed together or just cut out of knitted `material’ and sewn with the edges overstitched so they don’t unravel. You don’t want the latter or you’ll end up with a gazillion 1 yard pieces of yarn. There are several tutorials for how to find the right kind of seams and how to prepare them for your knitting. You can search the board here for links.


I would think wool would have somewhat felted if it had been washed. Isn’t that a problem? Or can you tell by looking that it will unwind well enough?!? That recycling sounds like fun and right up my alley, I love thrift stores! I’m going to go to one this week!

You can tell if the yarn is felted by looking at it; if it’s matted a little, it’s felted some. Usually a wool/acrylic blend won’t felt and can be re-used. Beware thrift store shopping - I went looking for sweaters to recycle and ended up with two to wear as is! They were markdowns though, so I got one for $1.50, the other one was a quarter.