Written by Alyssa Scott
So you’ve made the amazing decision to start learning a new fiber art, but don’t know where to begin? Never fear, Darn Good Yarn is here! Let us help you learn about how to find the best yarn to use as a beginner fiber artist.As a beginner in any new skill, the most important thing to focus on is practice. With the right tools and a little bit of practice, you’ll be well on your way to discovering a new lifelong hobby. What are the right tools for a beginner knitter or crocheter you might be wondering? There are a few things to consider when selecting a yarn to work with such as: fiber type, size, color, and cost.
The best yarn for a beginner knitter would be a worsted weight, stretchy, bright yarn that doesn’t split, and won’t break the bank. Something like the mystery yarn grab bag from Darn Good Yarn would be a perfect starter yarn, and it comes complete with free pattern downloads!
There are so many delicious yarns in the world, some are wonderfully easy to use and some require a little skill to create with. Each different type of fiber has different characteristics which translate to the yarn they form. For example, wool can be incredibly elastic but might also be scratchy on sensitive skin depending on the type of wool or the animal it originated from. Silk is super soft but does not have much ability to stretch. (can link to fiber types blog once it’s posted)
The easiest yarn to knit with for a beginner is going to be something with a good amount of elasticity. If the fibers in your yarn can stretch a little, it will be easier to work with until you master the tension game. Fibers which naturally have some stretch are wool, or acrylic.
When fiber lovers discuss yarns of different thicknesses, you’ll likely hear them talking about yarn weight. This can be a little misleading because yarn weight doesn’t actually refer to the mass of the skein, but rather to the thickness of the strand. Yarn weights can range from lace to super bulky and beyond.
It’s advisable for a beginner to start with a worsted weight or larger. Worsted weight yarn is a medium size which makes it easier to see and work with than smaller weight yarns. A larger weight yarn requires larger weight tools, which are easier to handle than the very small tools needed to work with smaller weight yarns. It’s very easy to find patterns for worsted weight yarns, and it’s a great choice for a variety of types of projects such as scarves, hats, garments, accessories, and more!
Did you think that color would be a factor in finding the easiest yarn to knit with? Well it certainly is! Solid lighter colors are best to work with especially as a beginner. Using a lighter hue of a solid color will make it much easier for the beginner fiber artist to be able to see your stitches.
Until you gain a better understanding of how yarn forms different stitches, it can be difficult to see, count, and differentiate between different stitches or rows. Working with darker colors or black yarn can be intimidating even to experienced crafters because of how difficult it can be to see. If you do choose a darker yarn, be sure to always work in bright light!
A beginner in any new craft might not want to invest their entire life savings into that hobby before they even know if they enjoy it. Your first project may always be precious to you, but it might not be reasonable to use the most expensive yarn on your first project (although you absolutely could!).
Looking for yarns on sale or clearance can be a great way to work with higher quality yarns without making a huge investment. Finding a yarn that you really enjoy is a great way to motivate yourself to keep stitching!
One quality of a yarn which might make it more difficult to work with is whether the yarn splits. Whether a yarn splits has partly to do with the fiber it is made with and partly to do with how it is constructed. When a yarn tends to split, the plies within the strand are not well attached to each other which makes it easy to insert your needle into the wrong place, or difficult to tell which plies belong to which stitch.
When shopping for yarn, try to gently untwist it and see how the different plies behave. If they slip apart and seem to move as separate sections, that might be a yarn that’s easy to split on the needles.
Different constructions of yarn tend to split less than others. For example, a chainette yarn will not split because it’s basically a tubular fabric. Ribbon yarn or single ply yarns will not split because there are not multiple plies which have the potential to split. Non-superwash wool yarn tends not to split because wool has an almost velcro like quality to stick to itself. Many different types of plied yarns do not split, the best way to find out is to touch it!
Whether you are an experienced fiber artist looking to try a new technique or a total beginner in the world of fiber, I hope this helps you decide which yarn is best to use on your first project. Now all that’s left is to select a yarn you like and get stitching, don’t delay pick up something special today!
Alyssa began working at Darn Good Yarn in the spring of 2021. She has been knitting and crocheting as a hobby since childhood. Alyssa graduated from SUNY Plattsburgh with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Gender and Women’s Studies, with a minor in Social Justice