How to Knit for Beginners : Types of Knitting Yarn

How to Knit for Beginners : Types of Knitting Yarn

Hi, I’m Kelsey. I’ve been knitting for
10 years and I’m a member of several knitting organizations. I’m going to talk today about
different types of yarn you can use for your project. Many times when you have a pattern,
it will specify a specific brand and type of yarn to use, which by all means is good
to follow. You also can substitute yarns. There is a whole huge variety of different
yarns you can use. I’m going to present a very small sampling of them, but you should
definitely go to your local yarn store and touch things and ask questions and see what’s
available to you. The most common and most well-known type of yarn is going to be wool.
Wool comes from a sheep, it’s pretty simple, Its very warm. It can be scratchy, but it
can also be very soft. It traps heat and moisture very well. This is a little tweed sort of
type here and if you look really closely you can see that its made of two different strands
of slightly different colors twisted together. I’ll try to separate those for you. See
like this. Each of those strands is called a ply, and you can buy wool that’s one ply,
that’s just one strand, two ply like this, or even three ply. That changes the thickness
and the strength of it. The ply’s can be different colors or the same colors. And that’s
wool. There is washable wool, but most wool you have to wash by hand and be a little bit
careful about the care of it because it can shrink. This is a blend of wool and a synthetic
material, so you can throw it in the washer or throw it in the dryer which is kind of
nice. The feel is not as nice as with real wool, and the colors can often be not as nice.
That’s a synthetic blend; there are also pure synthetics such as a lot of the Red Heart,
the kind you find at the five and dime that are made of plastic. Those can also be very
soft, but sometimes they’re a little bit harsh to the touch and a little uncomfortable.
They come in a huge range of colors, even fluorescent and glow-in-the-dark which is
kind of fun. This is another kind of blend with wool and mohair which makes it extremely
soft and gives it a little furry feeling there, which is kind of a nice thing. There are all
sorts of others. There’s cashmere yarn. Angora is particularly nice; you can see how
fuzzy that is. You can’t touch it on the internet of course but it’s incredibly soft
which is nice. There’s also cotton. Cotton is really lightweight, and really nice if
you’re making sort of a summer garment. There are washing issues with it too. It also
can be a little harsh on the skin and usually less soft. There are very soft cottons though
so that’s definitely not true of all cottons. Another nice thing for lightweight summer
garments is silk. It’s very expensive, much more so than wool or cotton, but really kind
of gorgeous. This is variegated, which means it comes in different colors. Many yarns are
like that, and this is variegated silk which is very pretty. This is variegated wool; hand
dyed which is really nice. The one’s I’ve shown you so far have all been sort of a uniform
thickness. You also can get yarn that comes in different thicknesses. This is actually
handspun by me, I spun it. But even a lot of the yarns that you buy in the store will
vary in thickness, and that gives a sort of artsy fun uneven sort of texture to the yarn
which can be nice. There are a whole bunch of different kinds of synthetics and I can’t
even get into all of them. There’s rayon, but rayon might be natural. There’s polyester.
This is actually a ribbon yarn. This is rayon, and if you look there is actually a very fine
thinly woven ribbon. It’s very loose and drapey, and gives it almost an entirely different
fabric than knitting with wool or with cotton which is interesting. You have novelty yarns
too which come in different textures. This is chenille, which has a thread core with
fibers sort of woven into that, which makes it very fuzzy. It’s incredibly soft. This
is a cotton chenille, but it comes in other kinds of fabrics too like rayon. Then you
have boucle, which is yarn that has little bumps in it like this. You have this common
thin cord and then you have bumps coming off which makes a very fun fabric. It comes in
different colors. This is another variation of that, you’ve got furry loops coming off,
which gives it a sort of fun fur look when it’s knitted up. Those are some of the different
materials you might use in a project. Again, look at your pattern, and look at the type
of garment you are trying to create. Go to a local yarn store and touch things and feel
things and see what would be the best for what you’re working for.


  • SchalaZeal

    September 15, 2007

    The link to this video on the expert village website seems to not be working (instead a guy talking about music is featured). so it's good that it can be found here!

  • Padre Anacleto

    December 10, 2007

    You´re so gorgeous!

  • cmiller1187

    January 22, 2009

    how do you knit a puff ball for the top of a hat?

  • zully87

    March 21, 2009

    I found an interesting skein of yarn @ walmart I usually crochet but I decided to take up knitting so I went to Walmart and picked a color and texture I liked, when I got home I noticed that it is made of 6 recyled plastic bottles, it is sooo soft and the color is so pretty I could not believe it.

  • picatsoforfma

    September 30, 2009

    What is good for a baby blanket? I know it needs to be soft enough not to irritate the skin. The baby will be born in early spring next year.

  • grandma times 8

    October 17, 2009

    What is the difference in worsted yarn vs NOT worsted. Looking for a lightweight yarn that is NOT acrylic, to make a lighweight throw more for decoration that use to drape over a chair for added color to a room. Probably a size 8 needle; maybe a flat stitch like basketweave (like the Pottery Barn throw) or another suggestion.

  • ozchica

    January 27, 2011


  • Santiago Builes

    June 19, 2011

    Can you tell me please, what is the difference between knitting yarn and weaving yarn?

  • Tamara Yoandianissa

    July 8, 2012

    Thanks for the video! now i know that my yarn is called a Handspun 😀


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