Every year it’s a struggle to get everyone a good Christmas present. From jewellery, spa treatments to chocolate hampers, Disneyland tickets – you’ve done it all. And this year you want to try something new. So, how about instead of buying mass-produced products, you DIY the gifts you plan to wrap?
Knitting as the Hobby That Keeps on Giving
With the creative freedom you get from knitting, it’s an excellent idea for a personalized present. But aside from making your loved ones happy by gifting them something you invested your time and love in, knitting is a hobby that can benefit your mental and physical health. It’s been proven that spending time knitting has helped many individuals fight anxiety and depression, act as a distraction from chronic pain, lower blood sugar any many more benefits.
But to tackle your Christmas gift DIY you need to make sure you have the right materials. While you might think you just need some yarn and a few knitting needles, that’s simply not the case. There are various types of yarn, meant for different uses. In this article, we’ll explain everything you need to know about yarn as a beginner.
Choosing a Yarn Weight
An important element to take into account when choosing the yarn for your project is the weight. Whichever weight you pick, it has to be appropriate for whatever your plan is. For example, if you’re thinking of making a lighter scarf, you’ll need thin and lacey yarn. In contrast, if you’ve settled for a winter blanket or a heavy sweater, you’ll need thick and super bulky yarns. The final result is influenced by the thickness of the yarn you chose.
Lace yarn is a super-thin yarn that is usually used to make detailed crochet or clothing for warmer weather. It’s very delicate and lightweight so it’s best for shawls and wraps. With this dainty yarn, it can be difficult to work with since it’s so fragile and meant for detailed work, so it’s not recommended to go for if you’re a beginner.
A slightly heavier yarn than lace, but still pretty light is superfine yarn or often called fingering weight yarn. Mostly used for scarves and wraps, other thin garments and even socks.
This thickness, sometimes known as sport weight, is ideal for lightweight blazers and children apparel. This yarn weight is preferred among knitters who want to make garments involving textures or cabling.
DK, which refers to “Double Knitting,” is another name for this weight (a type of knitting technique that’s often used with this thickness). Lighter shawls and cardigans can be made using this yarn weight.
Worsted yarn is a medium-thickness yarn that is double the weight of DK or sport yarn. It’s the most often used yarn weight. Worsted yarn is ideal for outdoor or winter apparel, particularly headwear and bulkier jumpers.
Substantially thicker than worsted yarn is a bulky yarn that’s mostly used to make coats, blankets or carpets. They’re often used for crafts since they’re easy to use and less time-consuming.
Another great choice for crafts and chunky knit projects are super bulky yarns. Also called roving yarn, it knits up fast and is best for thick garments such as scarves, hats and cowls. The great thing about super bulky yarn is that in some cases you don’t need needles for knit instead since it’s so thick, you can use your fingers.
A relatively new addition to yarn weights, jumbo yarn is used in arm knitting, a technique in which the arms are used instead of needles or fingers. Blankets made from jumbo yarn recently became a trend all over the globe and many people started making their own since this yarn is so easy to work with.
Types of Yarn Fibres
When it comes to yarn fibre type, you have the option of knitting with natural or synthetic fibre. Natural fibre yarns are made from animal and plant fibres whereas, synthetic yarns are manufactured from man-made materials.
Animal Origin Yarns
As you may know, silkworms are used to produce silk. This is a costly fabric since the amount taken from a single worm is little, and it is also a time-consuming operation. Because of its sheen and magnificent flow, this cloth is regarded as royal. However, because of its slick nature, knitting around it can be challenging. It’s also considered the strongest naturally occurring fibre.
The most often used material by knitters, wool as we know is made from a sheep’s fleece. Most often used for making winter clothing and garments to keep us warm. It’s been used by many cultures and is one of the oldest materials ever made. Its durability is one of wool’s greatest characteristics which is also its weakness since it causes many people itching.
It is particularly soft wool derived from Cashmere goats. However, it is not as durable as sheep wool. Because the extraction procedure is time-consuming, this sort of wool is rather costly. Cashmere wool must be brushed and gathered, as opposed to typical wool, which the sheep are just sheared. Additionally, because the amount of fibre obtained per sheep is substantially lower, the wool is much more precious and rarer.
Merino is a type of wool that also comes from a breed of sheep called Merino. This wool is recognized because of its soft nature and for being anti-allergenic. A small downside for this wool is that tiny fuzz balls may often form on the fabric with constant wear. Despite that, it’s a great material for winter clothing and many people find it more enjoyable than sheep wool.
Plant Origin Yarns
Made from the fibres found in the cotton plant’s seed, cotton is the most common plant yarn type. Its natural colour is white and after being gathered and washed, cotton is dyed in different colours and spun into yarn. Unlike wool, pure cotton doesn’t have any elasticity to it.
The bamboo yarn has received much interest across the knitting community in recent years due to its eco-friendliness and exceptionally smooth feel. It is sourced from the Asian bamboo tree and can be collected without destroying the tree, making it a sustainable solution. It also contains anti-bacterial characteristics and is light and breathable, making it an excellent choice for summer wear.
Another plant originating yarn is hemp yarn. It’s a fairly new option which because of its sturdiness, is quite fitting for stitching. It’s also used in making jackets, sweaters and other thicker garments. Hemp yarn is cheaper than cotton because each plant provides more fibre than the cotton plant.
The most popular man-made fibre is made from a blend of synthetic chemicals and plant extract. Polyester is used as a blend with cotton or other materials, also on its own, in making numerous kinds of clothing, furniture, accessories, bedding, etc. When mixed with cotton, the fabric becomes more durable and prevents wrinkling.
It is a man-made fibre produced from wood pulp; although wood is a natural resource, the chemical procedure used to treat this pulp turns rayon into a semi-synthetic fibre. It’s very breathable and doesn’t lose its form. It is perfect for wearing during the summer.
These fibres come in a variety of colours and textures. They give every clothing personality and make it more attractive and fascinating. They can be found in various types such as Chenille, which is smooth and silky, faux fur, which is an imitation of fur and it’s very soft and fluffy and railroad ribbon.
The Ply Number
We established that different knit patterns look better with certain types of yarn. A yarn that consists of more plies (referring to the individual strands of string that make the yarn) makes the stitches appear more detailed and textured. If you’re a beginner, it’s best to opt for a medium ply yarn since it will allow you to see the stitches better.
Now It’s Your Turn
We presented you with all the info you’ll need on what the different kinds of wool are intended for. Now it’s your turn to turn on your creative button and knit something for your mom, partner, your dog or even just for yourself. Be careful though, once you start knitting, it can be very easy to get addicted!