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All About Knitting:

Yarn... All About Yarns

One of the best things about knitting is working with lots of beautiful colors of yarn!


One of the best things about knitting is working with beautiful yarn colors and textures.  Today one can find just about any texture in any color they desire.  There are many local yarn shops, on-line yarn shops, and plenty of local craft and sewing stores that sell a wide variety of yarn.

Yarns come in different thicknesses or weights. Located on most yarn labels is the word "ply", that means how many strands were twisted together to form the yarn.  The same goes for embroidery threads.

Just like fabric is made of fibers, so is yarn. The fiber content tells us what the yarn is made of.  There are basically two kinds. One is a natural fiber which would be cotton, wool, and any type of animal like lama, rabbit, etc... The other type would be a synthetic which would be a man-made fiber like a poly, or an acrylic. The man-made fibers turned into yarn are a little easier to wash and they may work better for some people who may be sensitive or allergic to the natural animal fibers like wool. But on the other hand, some cheaper synthetic yarns are uncomfortable to work with and wear.

I want to mention that natural yarn that comes from animals like, lamb, rabbit, lama and many other types of animals. The yarn comes by brushing the animal, or shaving the animal.  Then the animal hair is brushed and cleaned, and then spun on a spinning wheel to form a skein of yarn. The animal is not hurt in anyway.  I had a student once who was upset with me because when I bought rabbit and lama yarn from a local farm, she thought that the animals had to be killed for me to get the yarn spun. This is simply not true and all. In fact, the animals love to be brushed and shaved, especially during the summer months when they are hot and need to have it done.

Yarn made from lambs wool and then dyed from natural products like berries and chestnuts. (a natural yarn)

Natural wool yarn dyed from berries.

Synthetic yarn (a man-made yarn)

Man made synthetic yarn.

When deciding what yarn to use for your project, think about the color, texture, and thickness of the yarn before you buy it. Yarns come in thicknesses from baby which is also known as fingering, to sport, to chunky, and even bulky yarn.

All skeins of yarn that you buy at a store will have a label on it.  On the label it should tell you some information you will need to know, like: what type of yarn it is, how to care for it, how much is there, how many ply it has, and the fiber content.  Some labels even have free patterns on them.

by Judi Harris





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