All About Yarn- The Basics and More

  • Elena Hunt
  • June 8, 2014 9:43 pm

A guide to understanding your yarn choices.

Over the last 6 months I have been honored to write some amazing articles here at The Yarn Box...  We have chatted about Removing odors from yarn, How to remove and hide unwanted knots, Choosing the right color combinations, Crochet hooks, How to get the correct tension and Unusual fibers…. If you haven’t had time or if you missed any of these articles, just click on the links or head back to the blog tab and have fun reading!! This month’s article is going to be just as fun and informative!!  It’s all about Yarn and Fabulous Fibers!!  

The Fabulous Life of Being a Crocheter and Yarnie!

This month I wanted to share with you some of the fun things that can be crocheted with yarn, basic yarn standards and information about our fabulous fiber and some techniques that may be new to some of you!!  So let’s get this crochet party started!

The Basics:

Have you been wondering what all the symbols mean on the back of your skein of yarn??  It may feel a little like a foreign language or Hieroglyphics… So let’s start with the Standard Weight System… I found amazing information about this subject at the Craft Yarn Counsel!!  This is the brief run down on the Weight Symbols, What type of yarns they fit into and which hooks are recommended for each weight… For more detailed information you can stop by The Craft Yarn Counsel.


Popular Yarns:

Now… A little about the Most Common Fibers!  The three most popular fibers are Wool, Acrylic and Cotton.  Each fiber comes in many weights and colors and your choices are almost endless on the projects that can be made.

Cotton Yarn:  Cotton is the most common plant based fiber that is spun into yarn. For the most part cotton, has less elasticity than many other yarns and can tend to shrink and stain a little easier than other fibers.   Many people love the feel of cotton for garments and household items such as dishcloths and rugs.  It is widely available and the price can range from fairly inexpensive to moderate for the upper end cotton yarns.  Cotton also is an excellent choice for people with sensitivities.

Wool Yarn:  Wool is the most common animal fiber that is used for yarn.  Wool has great attributes~ It is one of the warmest fibers when knit or crocheted into a fabric, it wicks away moisture and is somewhat fire resistant.  Some of the most popular projects made from wool are socks, hats, outerwear and felted items.  Depending on the processing of wool yarn it can sometimes be irritating to the skin for some people. Another downside to wool is it can shrink when washed.  It is also widely available and wool is more costly than cotton or acrylic.

Acrylic Yarn:  Acrylic fiber was first developed in the early 1940’s.  It is color fast, washable,  holds it shape, stain resistant, warm and inexpensive.  Acrylic yarn can take on many characters depending on the processing, it can have an almost wool like feel or be made to resemble the softness of cotton.  Because of the inexpensive cost, acrylic yarn is widely used for most projects.  On the downside, acrylic yarn may tend to pill more than other fibers.

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Fun Fibers:

Some of the more exciting fibers have been produced in the last 50 years.  Here are just a few and some fun ideas!

Eyelash Yarn:  A thread type yarn with sprays of soft fiber hairs covering the yarn strand.  Some of the most popular items made using this fiber are Scarves, Hats, Stuffed Animals and Garment Edgings.

Metallic Yarn:  This fiber has bits of shiny elements added into the yarn.  It is used mainly to embellish and add uniqueness to items.  One of the most popular yarns this year is the Reflective Yarn… Normal looking during the day and reflective by night.

Ribbon Yarn:  Ribbon yarn has gained popularity over the last couple years.  It’s mainly used to crochet or knit into ruffles.  Some of the most popular projects using this fiber are Scarves, Purses and Boarders.

Multi-Textural Yarns:  This yarn is made up of various types of fibers.  It may have eyelash yarn, chunky yarn, sequins,  bobbles,  and much more all in the same skein.  For the most part this yarn is used to make a fun and unique projects. Many people use it for Shawls, Hats and other Fashionable Garments.


Fun and Fabulous Projects

Over the last 40 years I have made so many projects I can’t even count!  Many of my crochet projects have been very mainstream… Hats, Scarves, Blankets and the list goes on!  But, I have made some really fun crochet items too.

Many years ago I found a pattern for Crochet Rag Rugs…  I really got hooked!!  I began making these rugs out of strips of fabric and crocheting them into ovals, rectangles, circles and hearts… I sold well over 100 Crochet Rag Rugs at craft fairs and shops… Every-now-and-then I still like to make a rug.

Below is a picture of a rug I made about ten years ago… It has been used every day.In the summer it sits at the front entrance to my home and in the winter it has it place right in front of our fireplace.  It has hardly aged.. Rag Rugs stand the test of time and families.  You can use old sheets, clothing or buy new fabric to make these wonderful projects… I hope you will give it a try!!

Click Here for a fun and simple Crochet Rag Rug video tutorial…  There are also many Free Pattern available on the internet!

Crochet Rag Rugs



I also have had a ton of fun with felting my crochet projects...  Felting is a technique using wool yarn, crocheting a project and then washing it in hot water to shrink it into your desired size…  I have made slippers and totes using this method.  Below are two of the projects I made many years ago!!

Crochet Felted Tote


By felting a project you end up with a very sturdy piece of work.  One of my favorite felted projects here at The Yarn Box is a Felted Pencil Case by Petals to Picots…Click Here for the Free Pattern.  This is another great way to expand your crochet life… I hope you will try this method too!!



13766-1761-2014-03-23249347   Felted Pencil Case by Petals to Picots

I hope you have enjoyed all of this Yarn Information and Happy Crocheting!!



Elena Hunt

Elena Hunt

Blogger/Crochet Designer at Beatrice Ryan Designs

I am just a small town girl… well, woman! I was born and raised in Mt. Shasta California and have raised my three children, a son 30, two daughter’s 29 and 17 here in this mountain community. I have the pure joy of also having two beautiful grandchildren.

When I was 10 my grandmother taught me to crochet. A Granny Square pattern was my first project. Her name was Beatrice Ryan Ramshaw, a tiny Irish powerhouse! All my memories include her crocheting… tablecloths, slippers, doilies and blankets. As a young woman the bug got me… I began crocheting and haven’t stopped! 40 years of crochet experience and many beautiful projects under my belt….

Join me in this journey… passed down from generation to generation… keeping alive the skills and beauty of Crochet!

Elena Hunt

Elena Hunt

Elena Hunt

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1 Comment
  1. I gained some knowledge today on yarns from you today. Thank you so much.

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