What Yarn do I use?

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-29-2004
What Yarn do I use?
Sun, 01-29-2006 - 11:09am

Although I have been knitting for a little over a year, up to now everything I have made has used Lion Brand's Homespun yarn, and either I used a pattern meant for Homespun, or they were scarves, where it didn't really matter what size needle I used and dimensions and such.
Now, I am trying to branch into other projects, with other yarn, and I am trying to learn how to determine which yarns to use. First, I know there are different types of yarn materials...wool, alpaca, angora, cotton, acrylic, polyester, blends, etc. All I know so far is that for socks it is best to have some wool in the yarn. So, I don't know when it is appropriate to use wool (and how much), and when to use cotton, etc. I am sure it's partly a matter of preference, but I don't want to waste time making a pair of socks out of acrylic yarn and find out that they are horrible because socks should never be made out of acrylic. So, I'd like to know what types of yarn should be used (or are best used) for which projects (sweaters, socks, scarves, etc), and where it doesn't actually matter (a stuffed bunny doesn't have to be made out of 100%, acrylic would be fine, right?).

Second, I know that yarns come in all thickness, and varieties. When I see a pattern for a pair of socks, it calls for a specific kind of yarn. However, if that exact brand and type is not available to me, I am assuming I can substite something in it's place. What I don't know is how to determine what is a suitable substitute. I am assuming that I would want something of the same thickness (weight?). I spent 30 minutes at AC Moore (sorry, there don't seem to be yarn shops near me), staring at yarn, trying to figure out what would be a good substitute for "Berella Country Garden DK Sportweight Wool Yarn (3.5oz, 270 yards, 100g)". I compared some of the "sportweight" yarns there, and they varied among themselves as to how thick they were. A store clerk who supposedly knits led me to buy something called "Peru DK Luxury", which is a blend of wool/alpaca/silk. I have no clue if this is good for socks. I also have no clue how to wash it, as it's not on the label. Am I going to have really expensive socks? *sigh*

I know with practice I will start to learn what I can substitute, but in the meantime I need some help. I felt a little helpless standing there (well, getting jostled around...I accidentally went when the store was having a "Yarn Party" and EVERYONE was there), trying to figure out what yarns I could use and which ones were worth it.

Thanks in advance!!


iVillage Member
Registered: 01-13-2004
Mon, 01-30-2006 - 11:15am


I'm probably not going to be much help, but I'll try :)

As for what type of yarn to use for what project, I'd suggest for now following what yarn is recommended in the pattern. Over time you'll get more used to choosing yarns and may be able to venture beyond the recommended, but for now that's what I'd stick to - its the easiest IMO

For substituting yarns, this is what I do.

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