I might not paint with all the colours of the wind but I can definitely stitch with them.

I love yarn. Probably not a particular surprise given the name of this blog, but still, worth saying again. I looove yarn! So many textures, materials, colours. So much happiness to be found in a small bundle of wool/cotton/acrylic joy!

I started buying a few from a haberdashery shop, or more specifically the haberdashery department of my nearest John Lewis (no judgement please, it may not be a purist yarn shop but for a beginner it had everything I could want). I developed a small collection, including what I considered to be basics (hello cream!) and some pretty options I had no plans for but just liked the colour of.

Next came finding one of the many wonderful craft shops in London – Loop. The staff were lovely and I couldn’t help but pick up a few things. As much as I enjoyed physically going to check out what’s available, I wanted to cast my net wider in search of more colour…

The Internet – home of many wonderous yarny things

 

Oh hello there Etsy! Would you like to take all of my money! I’ll happily give it to you in exchange for hand dyed, galaxy inspired skeins…

It’s possible to spend a huge amount of money on yarns on Etsy. And surely we are all about celebrating the independent craftsmanship. Right? Really, there are people out there making incredible yarns, as well as associated accessories like gorgeously intricate stitch markers. (Top tip – if you are in the UK go to Etsy via topcashback.co.uk. 2% cashback starts to add up with every independent ‘summer evening’ inspired skein).

Eventually I decided I had to invest in a ball winder, although my first attempt ended up with many mini balls of yarn as it got tangled and I  resorted to using scissors to tame the knotty mess it had become.

Deramores came next for getting basics that could be considered more practical that the fingering weight hand dyed beauties I had been collecting. As much as I love the delicate threads I needed something a bit more substantial to re-cover cushions.

So Much Yarn, So Little Time

How To Choose

There is a world of options out there. You should experiment. It’s fun! It might seem expensive but there is a lot you can do to minimise the cost (see topcashback above, clearance sales etc), but ultimately yarn can be a lot cheaper than many other hobbies. A cinema ticket or DVD, new book, CD, mini golf session all cost more and last for a shorter time than a good ball of yarn.

So, first things first, what do you want to make? Some yarns are obviously unsuitable for the task. You don’t want to use a 2 ply yarn intended for socks and spend years trying to make a king sized blanket out of it. Nor do you want to make a baby blanket out of super chunky yarn and weigh the child down.

The table below gives you a general guide about the types of items different yarn weights are used for.

 

UK Name US Name Usage
1 ply Lace Very delicate items, shawls and decoration
2 ply Fingering Delicate clothing, socks
4 ply Sport Socks, light clothing items, baby items
DK DK Sweaters, light scarves
Aran Worsted Scarves, hats, light blankets
Chunky Bulky Blankets, rugs
Super Chunky Super Bulky Heavy blankets and rugs

 

These aren’t absolute rules, for example if the scarf you are making is decorative rather than functional you might want a finer yarn. Just be aware it will likely take you longer.

Next comes the type of fibre the yarn is made from. There are gorgeous silk yarns out there, but to start with you don’t need more than a mix of cotton, wool or acrylic that you just like the feel of.

So, get stuck in and start trying things about.