So many yarns choices! Which one should I choose?

Before you cast a stitch onto your needles, there are important choices to make. There’s the choice of project, the choice of pattern, and the choice of yarn. If you are a beginner to knitting take a look at the article Beginner Knitting 101.

Sometimes there may be a skein of yarn you are dying to use. Before getting started with that yarn, you will want to take a close look at its label.

There may be other times, you start by falling in love with a pattern and know you’ll find the yarn later to make the project turn out the way you hope.

Whether you start with the pattern or the yarn, the match between the type of yarn and pattern is important. Those little numbers and words on the skein’s label provide information that you’ll need to understand to make the project one that you love. 

A couple of important things your yarn label will tell you are the yarns material and the yarn’s weight. Today we’re going to talk about yarn weights and the basic details you need to understand before getting started.

YARN WEIGHTS

There are now seven basic weights of yarn. These range from super thin to super-chunky. As you move up the scale, the yarn increases in thickness and the average number of stitches per inch (gauge).

Sometimes you can make a pattern work with a yarn weight neighboring the one suggested in the pattern, but substituting a lace weight yarn for super-chunky is simply not going to work. 

Here are a few basics about each type of yarn:

Lace (Also known as Fingering) This yarn is very thin. It may easily tangle and/or break. Typically, it is used for lace patterns in projects such as doilies and delicate shawls.

Super Fine (Also known as Fingering, Sock, or Baby) Also can be used for lacy patterns. Many baby items, sock patterns, and again shawls are great options to make with a super fine.

Fine (Also known as Sport or Baby) Use this yarn for socks, tight-knit sweaters (like the cardigan you might buy from a store), and baby items. It can also be used for blankets with a loose or lace pattern.

Light (Also known as DK or Light worsted) Near the middle of the yarn weight spectrum, this yarn is appropriate for heavier baby items (a thicker sweater or hat) and also great for adult garments.

Medium (Worsted, Afghan, Aran) This yarn is used the most often. It is very versatile and easy to work with. Beginners often use Medium weight yarn for their projects. It can be used for a variety of projects including hats, sweaters, and blankets.

Bulky (Chunky, Craft) If your goal is to finish a project quickly, use bulky or the next levels up. You will want to use large needles with this yarn. Bulky yarn makes great sweaters, blankets, scarves, or rugs.

Super Bulky (Roving) Near the heaviest end of the yarn weight spectrum, Super Bulky yarn and Jumbo are very thick. The roving yarns are typically unspun and can be used if you are wanting to do a felting project. It will make a nice scarf, hat, or cowl.Jumbo (Roving) This yarn weight is relatively new to the market. (It was added in 2014.) Jumbo is useful for arm knitting and is a super thick yarn.

CHOOSING THE RIGHT YARN

Patterns will indicate what brand, weight, and size of the needle the author used. Often, they’ll even offer a color suggestion. If you cannot use the exact same yarn suggested, you will find yourself less frustrated if you can at least match the yarn weight and fiber content. If you choose not to use the exact yarn suggested in the pattern, you will need to understand the modifications that may need to be made.

Regardless of what yarn choice you decide on, really even if you use the yarn suggested by the pattern, you will want to knit a sample swatch first to check your gauge. Be sure to see what yarns are available at Jimmy Beans Wool.

CHECK YOUR GAUGE

It’s important to understand that the weight of yarn you choose relates to the gauge. Don’t panic about gauge. While it’s important to understand each project, it isn’t complicated. Gauge is simply how much yarn it takes you to knit one inch. 

The weight, or thickness, of your yarn, will be a factor in determining your gauge. Another factor is your personal way of knitting. Some people hold their needles loosely which takes less yarn per inch and others may hold the needles tighter. Tighter knitting means smaller stitches and more yarn per inch. 

The yarn label will have the expected number of stitches you can expect to knit per inch using the suggested needle size. If you make a sample and it does not measure the number of stitches and size expected, you will most likely want to make adjustments to the pattern. 

Don’t be discouraged. Knitting the swatch to make sure your gauge matches the label will save you frustration in the end and will make a difference between a knitted item you love and one that just doesn’t fit quite right.

Now that you have a basic understanding of yarn weights, you’re almost ready to get started, but don’t get your needles out yet. It’s also important to understand the types of yarn material. We’ll cover that in our next post. Comment and tell us about when you learned gauge is important.

Beginner Knitting 101

So, you want to learn to knit, but have no idea where to begin? Read more to find out.

So you are wanting to start knitting? Maybe you have watched some videos on it.  Maybe you just want to start making a baby blanket for a new baby. But where do you start? There is a lot to consider.

The options at yarn stores are overwhelming, and all the labels make no sense. Don’t worry you are not the only one overwhelmed by the knitting isles at your local craft stores. If you have a local yarn store. This is a great place to start, looking for the right project, and yarn. 

If you don’t have a local yarn store, the post below will help you start to figure out how to learn to knit. Where and how to choose yarn and needles, and get you started on the path to knitting enjoyment. It really is the perfect fidget toy. Fun, challenging and productive all in one.

Yarn

This may seem obvious.  You can’t knit without yarn. However, good yarn is expensive.  Beginning knitters often need to unravel, redo, and repeat the process as they learn. This can ruin good yarn.  

There are a lot of mistakes, that has to happen as you learn to knit. It’s a normal part of the process. When starting a brand new project you can purchase second-hand yarn, ask a friend to give you some, or just purchase inexpensive yarn. When you have settled on the project and feel comfortable with the new stitch pattern, consider how the finished product will be used. 

For baby blankets,  look for sturdy but easily washable yarn. Baby blankets get used and abused quite a bit, so the yarn has to be up for that type of use.  For afghans and blankets, something softer and not quite so sturdy since afghans and blankets generally don’t get washed as often. 

Expense is also a consideration. Good quality yarn is not cheap. husbands tend to roll their eyes when wives head off to the yarn store because they know that yarn will easily cost a chunk of change.  However, the adage you get what you pay for is true. If you want the finished product to last, you have to purchase good yarn.

Needles

Another one that seems obvious – until you get to the knitting aisle and see a wall of needles.  Which one do you choose? The cute little needles that are freakishly adorable? Or those big honking needs that Hulk’s grandmother uses?  For beginners, try a size 10 to a size 13. They are a good size to hold and manipulate the yarn without hands cramping.  

When you decide on a project and pattern, there is usually a suggested needle size. Do not deviate from what is suggested because the pattern will not turn out. Gauge is a topic for another post.

Time

Time is something else to consider. Most people don’t sit down and learn to knit in an hour or so. It takes time to practice. Where do busy people find the time?  Seriously!! Most people work full-time, have kids, take care of the house, etc. So when do you find the time to knit? 

It is found in 2 places.  The first place can be time is watching a show or the news. Knitting is the perfect fidget toy. When the show ends, most people us that as a timer, or their binge-watching time. 

The second-place to find time is in the car while waiting for kids.  Lots of knitters keep a project in the car that doesn’t really need to have a set pattern. If practice runs late, no problem –there is a project to pass the time. Carving out time is difficult for anyone, but it is necessary when learning to knit.

Support

Knitting can be frustrating.  It is important to find a knitting buddy. YouTube videos can be very helpful, but they don’t help if you run into an issue that isn’t covered in the video.  A knitting buddy can help.  

Mothers, knitting friends, a knitting class, are all great places to find a knitting buddy.  However, that is not a possibility for most people. Check the yarn store for beginning knitting classes.  Try looking for a church that had a working mom’s knitting group that meets monthly. The human support is nice so that you have help and not get frustrated and just quit.

In conclusion, with the right tools and support knitting is a great way to de-stress and reduce anxiety. Gain enjoyment from picking a project, buying the yarn, finishing the project, and then giving a gift that was made with love.

Silas sweater…

IMG_6722It is official! I love, and highly recommend this sweater pattern.

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Okay having such a handsome model doesn’t hurt either 😉

I made this sweater over the summer with plans for it to be a Christmas gift. However we made a last minute decision to head south and visit family for the holidays. Which meant that some of the planned Christmas gifts were held over for birthdays. So here is the birthday boy modeling his Silas sweater. Probably won’t be able to wear it long now, but I can always put it in storage for the next little man in line.

Here are the other post related to this project.

English vs. Continental… Not the Revolutionary War kind.

Did you know that you were getting a history lesson?

Well, this post isn’t actually about the Revolutionary war.

Its about left handed vs right handed knitting.

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Continental knitting is when the working yarn is held in the left hand, and the stitches are picked with the right needle.

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English knitting is when the working yarn is held in the right hand, and the stitches are flung over the working needle with the right hand.

 

While there are slight differences, they both have a lovely finished product. In the new series I am working on I will be trying to teach you to knit using these methods. Also, I have used patterns while knitting both methods, and I have also made patterns knitting both ways.

While you are waiting for these post to appear. Feel free to browse through my other sites.

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