This page is about crochet supplies: crochet yarn or tread and crochet hooks and how to choose them. If you've already mastered your basic crochet stitches and eager to start your project - you need to get all needed crochet supplies together. I remember how puzzled i was in the yarn store for the first time: there was so much unfamiliar stuff - i got lost instantly. :)
So here is Yarn 101:
*How to choose yarn weigh: existing crochet treads and yarn weight categories.
*What crochet hook size do i need ?
*How to choose yarn content (yarn type) - all the pros and contras of different yarn contents.
For crochet we use yarns and treads. Yarn weight is a thickness of the yarn. The thicker the yarn - the more plies it contains. Let's start from the thinnest - crochet treads to yarns.
COTTON CROCHET TREAD.
Crochet tread is made from 100% mercerized cotton and used for fine crochet. (Mercerization is a treatment for cotton tread that gives it a lustrous appearance and strength).
CROCHET TREAD SIZE 20.
This is the finest and the thinnest crochet tread. Perfect for heirloom high quality projects such as doilies, table runners, home decor, lace and finest accessories. The tread comes mostly in black, white and beige colors. I do not recommend this crochet tread for beginners because the stitches are very small and not easy to see, it is difficult to find and correct a mistake if you've made one, and even a small project takes a lot of time to complete. But if your crochet skills are intermediate to advanced - give it a try and results will look terrific.
Recommended crochet hook size: .75 mm, 1.00 mm, sometimes 1.25 mm. (Yes, THAT small! ) :)
CROCHET TREAD SIZE 10.
This is my favorite cotton tread. :) Perfect for crochet projects both large and small, ideal for home decorating and fashion projects. This cotton tread size is available in wild range of colors, solid and variegated. Intermediate level crocheters are velcome to try this crochet tread. Crochet tread size 10 used for most lace garments such as tops, blouses, scafves. If you are thinking of Irish Lace technique - this is your tread. :)
Recommended crochet hook size: 1.5 mm to 1.75 mm. Sometimes you can use 2.0 mm.
CROCHET TREAD SIZE 3.
This crochet tread is softer and thicker , you can use it in fashion apparel and accessories. Great for babies and kids for summer (baby hats, baby booties, baby dresses and blouses, appliques). This crochet treas comes in great variety of bright colors. This crochet tread is suitable for beginer crocheters.
Recommended crochet hook size: 2.0 mm, 2.5 mm, 3.0 mm, even 3.5 mm (depends on how tight you crochet).
CROCHET YARN WEIGHT CATEGORIES.
(Crochet yarn is the same yarn you use for knitting)
SUPER FINE YARN (Weight category #2)
Gauge: Approximately 23 single crochet stitches and 25 rows per 4 in (10 cm)
Recommended crochet hook size: D3 / 3.25 mm, E 4 / 3.5 mm, F 5 / 3.75 mm
LIGHT YARN (Weight category #3)
Gauge: Approximately 18 single crochet stitches or 23 rows per 4 in (10 cm)
Recommended crochet hook size: G 6 / 4.00 mm to H 8 / 5.00 mm
MEDIUM YARN (Weight category # 4)
Gauge: 14 single crochet stitches or 14 rows per 4 in (10 cm)
Recommended crochet hook size: I 9 / 5.5 mm, J 10 / 6.0 mm, K 10.5 / 6.5 mm
BULKY (CHUNKY) YARN (Weight category #5)
Gauge: 10 single crochet stitches or 10 rows in 4 in (10 cm)
Recommended crochet hook size: L 11/ 8.0 mm, M 13 / 9.00 mm
SUPER BULKY YARN (Weight category #6)
Gauge: 5 single crochet stitches or 8 rows per 4 in (10 cm)
Recommended crochet hook size: M 13 / 9.00 mm or N 15 / 10.00 mm or bigger.
Please note that there are many different styles of yarn in each weight category (fluffy, more or less elastic, fanct novelty yarn, cabled or plain) and the thickness may vary within the weight category, that's why the gauge is approximate and more then one crochet hook size is recommended for each weight category.
For the beginner crochet project choose the simple classic yarn in light tones (beige, light blue e.t.c.) so you can see your stitches clearly and count them easily (fancy furry or textured yarn you will try later). The recommended weight category is Medium weight (#4).
CROCHET YARN CONTENT.
What the crochet yarn is made of? Most common used crochet yarns are:
Wool comes from animals - sheeps, goats, even rabbits (angora!). There are may types of wool (alpaca, mohair, cashmere - you name it) and every type means it comes from different animal (different breeds of sheeps for example). Wool is the oldest yarn known to humankind and it's still the most popular.
Pros: Wool is durable, resistant to dirt and moisture, flame retardant. Feltng effect can be used in crafting.
Cons: Costly, heavy - wool afghan can be weighty. Wool fiber can cause allergies as any natural fiber. Moth and mold can also cause the damage. Wool is not so easy to care: shrinks and felts when mashine washing.
COTTON TREAD AND YARN.
Cotton cames from a plant. It is relatively light-weight, strong, durable and machine-washable. Almost all crochet treads made of 100% cotton.
Pros: Inexpensive, breatheble, great for summer apparel. Cotton yarn comes in many great shades and colors. Stitches are visible and textured - looks great. :) Heat and flame resistant (to some extent) - great choice for kitchen accessories: pot holders, coasters, towels.
Cons: Shirnk and wrinkles, does not have enough elasticity needed for garments, that's why it is betetr for summer hats and accessories. (When you wash lace or doily, you need to steam iron it). Cotton tread or yarn might contain pecticides and trigger an allergic reaction,especially for babies. Some dark or bright colors might bleed when washing. Cotton absorbs water and become heavy and saggy when used in big projects (crochet curtains, crochet bedspreads).
I love cotton treads and i think that pros outweight the contras and I LOVE working with cotton tread (i am not so sure about the cotton yarn though).
Bamboo yarn is relatively new yarn and it quickly gains popularity. It wears well and naturally antibacterial.
Pros: Bamboo yarn is enviromentally friendly choice (bamboo grows fast and the yarn is biodegradable). The bamboo yarn is soft, strong, flexible, has luster and sheen. Garments made of a bamboo yarn has a great drape. Bamboo yarn is antinacterial and has ultra-violet protective properties. The bamboo yarn is breathable and cooling.
Cons: Bamboo yarn need to be hand-washed with care, so it is not a great choice for items that need to be washed frequently. Bamboo yarn absorbs a lot of water, loose the strenghth and swells when wet.
ACRYLIC CROCHET YARN.
Acrylic is a man-made fiber. Acrylic yarn is easy and available in many colors and textures.
Pros: Acrylic yarn looks great, similar to wool but less expensive. The acrylic yarn is light and fluffy, humidity-resistant and mold and moth - proof. The great choice for afghans (not so heavy as wool or cotton). The acrylic yarn is easy to wash and easy to care, great choice for items required frequent washing such as baby hats, blankets and sweaters. Acrylic yarn wears better then wool and is very easy to wash (no felting of shrinking while machine washing). Acrylic yarn does not cause allergy.
Cons: Acrylic is not suitable for kitchen items (such as pot-holders, towels and coasters) because it melts like other synthetics fibers. Garments made of acrylic yarn might be uncomfortable to wear in hot climates because it does not breathable.
MIXED CROCHET YARN (BLENDS).
Yarn manufacturers often blend acrylic fiber with natural fibers trying to create the perfect mix. Each blend has it's own set of pros and contras, but usually the blend enchance the quality of basic natural yarn and eliminate its contras.
When acrylic added to cotton or bamboo or other plant-based fiber, the resulting yarn is lighter and stronger.
Acrylic blended with protein fibers like wool is the most popular blend. This blend creates a yarn that is machine washable (unlike 100% wool). Sock knitters appreciate the strenghth that acrylic fiber adds to the sock yarn.
Many novelty yarns such as ribbon or boucle are blends os several synthetic fibers (polyester). In this case mix creates the unusual look and texture.
Here you can find online yarn and supply stores I recommend: I use them every time i need something and I am happy to share my favorite places and review them for you (my reviews are based only on my personal experience and I did never get paid to write a review).