Knitting was first documented during the 11th century when a pair of socks, knitted with very fine thread and purl stitches was identified. Because of the intricate design knitted into the socks, we have reason to suspect that knitting dates back even farther. Knitting is the process of connecting yarn, threads, textiles or fabrics using a multitude of different stitches into a desired shape.
The next component to understand about knitting is the plies. Plies are determined by how many are woven together to create your yarn. The plies have impacts on the type of stitch, how the yarn feels and how it hangs. So, when we talk about the best yarn for knitting, the best answer is going to be what are you making and how do you expect it to look
Here are some examples:
- Lace is the lightest, is considered one ply and can be used for the most beautiful lacy designs, like doilies
- Light, fine and super fine materials are about two to five ply. Fine yarns are also called sport weight yarns. These are ideal for small projects like baby clothes, socks, hats, and gloves
- Eight to ten ply yarns are medium and are an excellent option for all knitters from beginners to experts. You would want to use this option for hats and mittens, sweaters and scarves. You may also hear this termed as worsted yarn
- And on to the last categories of bulky and super bulky. These are 12 to 14 ply yarns and are perfect for beginners because this larger thickness makes for quicker project completion which is a very satisfying feeling. Experienced knitters may like this weight because it offers them the opportunity to create a unique look in their projects, like throws or blankets.
There are many kinds of yarn materials that you will want to consider with your project as well. Each kind has both pros and cons, here’s a quick overview:
- Wool requires hand washing in lukewarm water and is durable
- Cotton is less expensive than wool, is machine washable and has no elasticity
- Silks should either be hand washed or dry cleaned, and it feels great against your skin
- Polyester is suitable for year-round wearability and is machine washable
- Rayon and nylon and similar both are smooth and shiny with excellent durability. Nylon is machine washable; rayon could go either way, so be sure to check the label
Please note that the fatter your yarn, the bigger your needles. That isn’t a rule; it’s just the norm. We hope this information has been useful to you on your first or next project. You’re jumping into a great hobby (or livelihood) and happy stitching!