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Yarn For Crocheting

Discussion in 'The Cat Lounge' started by LTS3, Mar 12, 2018.

  1. LTS3

    LTS3 Thread Starter TCS Member Top Cat

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    What kind of yarn is best for crocheting? I don't crochet or knit but a friend of mine does and Mothers' Day and Nurse Week are coming up soon so I thought I'd get her something to crochet with. I'm only familiar with the Red Heart brand of acrylic worsted yarn, specifically the Super Saver, as that is what Mom bought all the time when I was growing up. I asked my friend what she uses and she said "normal" yarn. I think she uses acrylic worsted yarn as that's what the scarf she made for me is. I'd like to get her something a bit "fancier" than acrylic yarn, maybe cotton or wool or specialty yarn made from alpaca or cashmere. I've looked at yarn web sites and there are lots of gorgeous super soft yarns but it seems like most are for knitting. Any suggestions?

    Is crochet thread different from yarn? What kind of things would one use crochet thread for instead of yarn?
     

  2. orange&white

    orange&white TCS Member Top Cat

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    Both crochet and knitting can use what your friend called "normal" yarn, or knitting yarn. Crochet uses a single needle with a hook at the end as a tool, and knitting uses two straight needles with points on the ends.

    Crochet thread would be used with a "skinny" crochet hook to make delicate items, like doilies. The thicker the thread or yarn, the larger the diameter of the needle used.

    Since she gave you a scarf, get some yarn which is about the same thickness/diameter as the yarn in the gifted scarf. You can give her "fancy" or "normal" yarn. I'm sure she'll be happy with the thoughtful gift.
     

  3. furmonster mom

    furmonster mom TCS Member Top Cat

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    If you do decide to get a natural fiber yarn (wool, cotton, etc.,.) be sure to get the same dye batch; the number should be somewhere on the label.

    Natural + synthetic blends tend to be a little softer and slippy to work with, but the colors are more consistent and they can be washed without losing color or shrinking.

    Also, the yardage per skein can vary between types and brands. So, keep an eye on that. Some skiens have little projects on the label which will usually say how much to get for that project.

    As for Crochet Thread, the most common brand I see is Aunt Lydia's. It's a good thread, but not my favorite. My personal fave is a bit more expensive thread, DMC Cebelia; it's easy to work with and gives a nice finish to the end product. I use it for baby booties. Unfortunately, it's more of a boutique item, you're unlikely to find much of it in the mainstream stores (Michaels or such). In any case, the size you get depends on the project; 10 is good for booties, but I use 20 for more delicate work (snowflakes, doilies, table runners, edging).

    I hope that's not too overwhelming, when it comes to fibers, there's more than meets the eye.
    If there is a boutique yarn shop in the area, you may want to go in for a chat. I find that the people who manage and operate the boutiques have more passion for the art and usually have great ideas and suggestions.
     

  4. LTS3

    LTS3 Thread Starter TCS Member Top Cat

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    Good point :agree: If I order yarn online, would all the skeins I get be the same lot number?:think:

    I don't think my friend uses crochet thread, just yarn. I know she crochets wearable and usable things like scarves, pet blankets, etc.

    There is a local yarn shop I can browse around in. I'll have to stop by one of these days.
     
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  5. furmonster mom

    furmonster mom TCS Member Top Cat

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    It's been years since I ordered wool online... I don't even think the website is in operation anymore. But at the time, I was able to request that my order be filled from the same dye lot. The only reason I went online was because I needed so much in a variety of colors in the same brand for a large afghan. The boutique shops just couldn't meet the order. But for a smaller, gifty type order, I usually get pretty good customer service from the locals.
     

  6. margecat

    margecat Mentor Staff Member Mentor

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    I don't crochet, but I knit with Bernat Blanket yarn--it't so soft. The Baby Blanket variety of that brand is nice, too. Both are chunky yarns, so I knit on size 11 needles. I'd avoid Bernat Blanket Stripes yarn. It sounded interesting until I used it. I thought they dyed the strand in different colors, like variegated yarn, but they only knotted it together. Such poorly-made yarn! It works very broad stripes of different colors into your project.
     

  7. LTS3

    LTS3 Thread Starter TCS Member Top Cat

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    Some of the yarns I'm looking at are hand dyed so there's no lot number. So it looks like there will be slight variations between skeins.
     

  8. Margret

    Margret TCS Member Top Cat

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    If you specifically request it, yes, they should be able and willing to give you yarn from the same dye lot. However, make sure that they agree to that condition before you buy.

    In which case that's a "feature" of the yarn. Small variations are a hallmark of anything handmade, including hand dyed yarn.

    It sounds like you're picking a project for her, as well as yarn; is that your intent? You may prefer to get her a gift certificate to one of the boutique yarn shops nearby, and take her there so she can choose something herself. If you are picking a project for her but want to get her hand dyed yarn, and you think she'll be bothered by the dye lot problem, then you have a couple of options:
    1. Pick a project that has several colors, none of which require more than one skein. Such projects frequently will say something like "a good way to clean out your stash" (i.e. use up all the little bits of yarn in odd colors that you have too much of to throw away but not enough of to make a whole project).
    2. Pick a group of hand dyed yarns that look good together, perhaps with small variations, so that the yarn can kind of "morph" from one color to another.
    Margret
     
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  9. LTS3

    LTS3 Thread Starter TCS Member Top Cat

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    My friend lives in another state so actual yarn or a gift card to an online store would be best. Should I just get a kit instead of yarn? A kit would have a pattern and the number of skeins necessary. I've only seen knitting kits for the yarns I'm interested in:ohwell: My friend doesn't knit. Or I could find / buy a pattern and the number of skeins necessary and bundle it up.
     

  10. furmonster mom

    furmonster mom TCS Member Top Cat

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    Crochet stitches actually take up more material than knitting stitches, so a knitting kit would not translate to crochet, you'd have to create your own. And if she doesn't knit you'll want to stick with what she knows, especially if you're getting nice hand dyed fiber.

    I don't know if your friend has it already, but my favorite book is Donna Kooler's Encyclopedia of Crochet. I have the 2002 edition, but there is apparently a 2011 ed. It is my "go to" reference book for all things crochet (I also have the one on knitting and needlework). It has some great chapters on the history of crochet, fibers, color choices, as well as stitch guides and patterns.
     
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  11. LTS3

    LTS3 Thread Starter TCS Member Top Cat

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    Yes I know knitting patterns don't translate to crochet:) I'm looking for crochet patterns / kits but haven't found any that my friend would like so far. The hand dyed specialty yarn web sites only seem to have knitting patterns and kits.
     

  12. Margret

    Margret TCS Member Top Cat

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    That's one option; someone at one of those boutique yarn shops would be happy to help you with that.

    Another option would be to simply get her some of the hand-dyed yarn you've fallen for and send it to her with a card that says you saw this yarn and fell in love with it, and it made you think of her so you thought you'd get it for her yarn stash. I think everyone who knits, crochets, tats, or does any other needlework has a yarn or thread stash; quilters have fabric stashes, as well, and a lot of us have bead and findings stashes. Anything that's beautiful is something we crave for our stashes, even when we don't happen to have a specific project in mind for it. It stimulates the imagination, and suddenly we do have ideas for it.

    Margret
     

  13. Mother Dragon

    Mother Dragon Cat slave Super Cat

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    Do NOT, I repeat, DO NOT buy the Red Heart stuff. Notice I didn't even call it yarn. That stuff is nasty and harsh. It'll eat your hands up.

    Hobby Lobby has an excellent selection of yarn and much of it is now their house brand. They have all weights and it's pretty reasonably priced. I use a lot of it for the chemo caps I loom knit for the cancer hospital. The label will tell you what needles to use. Be sure to look at the care symbols, too. They should indicate whether the item can be washed and how it should be dried. I like the inexpensive "I Love This Yarn!" for many things. It comes in a huge variety of colors and is soft and easy to work with. There is one type that's curly and I don't think it would be good for crocheting. It teaches me new words every time I use it. Vanna's Choice is nice, too. You'll go crazy trying to decide what to choose.

    I have enough yarn to knit for several lifetimes. Once you get the bug, you're a lifetime junkie. I always get at least two skeins of everything I buy. A cap usually takes less than one, but if I like it, it may well be gone when I go back. When Robert goes to sewing class at Hobby Lobby, I usually go with him. I try hard to stay out of the yarn department, but forgive me, for I am weak.
     
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  14. LTS3

    LTS3 Thread Starter TCS Member Top Cat

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    Good idea:agree: I just remembered that there's a sheepshearing festival next month and artists and crafters will be there to sell what they make. Might be a good place to find yarn and stuff.

    I don't care for Red Heart yarn. Too scratchy. It's the brand my Mom always used because it was cheap and found at Woolworth's and other discount chain stores back when I was growing up. I'm not looking for name brand yarn to gift to my friend anyways. I'm looking for something much nicer like specialty hand dyed yarns.
     

  15. PushPurrCatPaws

    PushPurrCatPaws TCS Member Top Cat

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    :yeah:
     

  16. PushPurrCatPaws

    PushPurrCatPaws TCS Member Top Cat

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  17. LTS3

    LTS3 Thread Starter TCS Member Top Cat

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    Thanks I'll look at those:)

    Here's a picture of the pet mats / blankets my friend made for the cats last Christmas:

    IMG_4853.jpg
     
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  18. furmonster mom

    furmonster mom TCS Member Top Cat

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    If you're up for falling down a rabbit hole... go to Ravelry.com and make an account (free, no spam) and browse for projects or patterns.
    Beware of overload and possible sudden addiction...
    you have been warned. :p
     

  19. LTS3

    LTS3 Thread Starter TCS Member Top Cat

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    I actually did find some crochet patterns on Raverly, some free: Ravelry: Designs by The Firefly Hook I'm not sure how well my friend is with crocheting (any guesses based on the picture I posted above? Looks more than beginner to me) so I think I'll just skip a pattern and get her yarn to do whatever she likes with it.
     

  20. furmonster mom

    furmonster mom TCS Member Top Cat

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    I would say that she might be up for a challenge. The little blanket pictured is not a terribly difficult pattern. Overall, her work is definitely above beginner level.
     

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