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I've seen a lot of new crocheters join this forum lately, so I though I'd start a topic on yarn.  I'm hoping that others join in with their tips.  (Also, please correct me, if I'm wrong about something!!!)

 

There are quite a few discussions on yarn weight and the Yarn Council's Weight Chart is a great source for finding out about yarn weights.  There are also quite a few discussions on yarn fibers and everyone seems to have different preferences.  So, I'm going to start out with ...

 

Yarn Textures:

 

1. Plied - Plied is when 2 or more strands are twisted together to form thicker yarn.  It's the most common yarn texture.  Tight plies are good for rigid projects where you don't want elasticity.  They are also good for showing off stitch definition.  Looser plies are better for drape and elasticity. 

 

2. Roving - Roving is when the fiber is either not wound or wound very loosely (aka 1-ply).   Lion Brand's Landscapes and Red Heart's Boutique are examples.  It is great for softness, but tends to split easily and has a lot of loose fibers.

 

3. Homespun - Homespun is a cross between plied and roving.  It's loose fiber bound with a ply of thin yarn.  It tends to be bumpy and bulky.  It's great for cozy.

 

4. Chenille - Chenille has a spine with small bits of fiber attached.  It's very soft and has zero rigidity.  When I make something with chenille yarn the most common comment is that it feels like a cloud.  Some chenille yarns unravel at the ends.  Just snip off that part.  Make sure that you have a long tail at each end, because of the possible unraveling and it tends to be slippery, so you really have to weave in the ends well.

 

5. Boucle (Boo-clay) - Boucle is a very bumpy yarn.  It's got a spine with little to big bumps woven into the spine.  I've only done 2 projects with boucle and they were very soft, but there was no stitch definition because of the texture.

 

6. Tubular - Just like the name implies, it is a tube of fiber or fabric (t-shirt yarn).  Patton's Mettalic yarn is an example.

 

7. Ribbon/Sashay - I put these in the same category, because they are flat and wide.

 

8. Eyelash/Furry - Eyelash and Furry yarns have a spine with long fibers attached.  They are a lot of fun to work with and are great for accessories and fun borders.

 

9. Other - There are other textures and fancy yarns out there.  It's impossible for me to name them all!  LOL

 

 

Prepping A New Skein of Yarn:

 

Most yarn that you can buy at the big craft stores (AC Moore, Michaels, JoAnn's, Walmart, Hobby Lobby, etc.) are designed to be center pulled.  You don't have to wind them into a ball.  In fact it's easier if you don't rewind it.  If you do wind it into a ball, make sure that the ball is not wound too tight.  It should be squishy when you're done to protect the yarn.  Yarn also comes in twists, cones and wound around a center tube.

 

Here's how to start a center pull skein of yarn ...

1. Do not remove the label.  It helps keeps the skein from knotting.

2. Look for the end that starts the outside of the skein.  Tuck it under the label to get it out of the way.

3. Stick 1 or 2 fingers in the middle and pull.  You'll get a small wad, called yarn barf.

4. Find the end in the yarn barf and start crocheting from that end.  Once you get through the yarn barf, it will pull out easily and the skein stays nice, until the very end.  Note: you might have it catch a few times until the middle is loose enough.

5. If you have leftover yarn, use the label as a center and wind it around the label. 

 

Protect your yarn while you're using it ...

 

Yarn that is handled a lot can get fuzzy.  Yarn that is not in a container can get dirty, roll away from you and/or played with by a pet. 

 

There are a few commercial yarn holders out there.  The vinyl/plastic ones have a zipper for storing the yarn and a rivet for feeding the yarn.  There are yarn bowls, ceramic or wood, that have a swirl carved into the side for feeding the yarn.  I saw a post recently about cutting a door into a 2-liter soda bottle and using the top to feed the yarn.  You can also crochet yarn baskets.

 

I put my yarn in a mesh laundry bag (3 for a $ at the dollar store).  I then weave the end from the center through one of the holes in the mesh.  The yarn stays nice and clean from pet hair, handling, etc., and it pulls really easily.  After I get through the yarn barf, I rarely have to feed it before crocheting.  Pro: It's inexpensive and you can store your work-in-process (WIP) in the same bag, until it gets too big.  Con: Crochet hooks can and do fall out!  So, if you're storing your hook with your WIP, make sure that it is secure.  I also use the bag to store pieces of a project before they are sewn together.  It keeps them from getting lost, especially when they are small.

 

Please reply with your yarn tips!! 

Edited by redrosesdz
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Redrosesdz, these are terrific tips--what a great idea for a forum topic!!  Kudos!

Right off the top of my head, I can't come up with any additional tips--but I'm sure I will as other people comment on here!

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Start a new skein, whether it's for changing color or because you're at the end of an old skein, by doing the following...

 

1. Crochet up to where you want to change skeins, but don't finish the last stitch.

2. Drop the old yarn and pick up the new one.

3. Finish the stitch and continue crocheting.

4. After the next stitch, tug lightly on both the old yarn and the new tail.  Also, tuck both under your stitches for 1-3 stitches to anchor the change.

 

Also, never cut your yarn until the end (with 2 exceptions).  Carry the color along the side to use it again.  If you don't like the look of the sides with the colors, cover it up with a sc edge.

Exceptions:

1. If your skein has a knot, because the manufacturer tied ends together, cut it out and treat it like a skein change.

2. If your yarn breaks, cut clean ends and treat it like a skein change.

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My take on the issue of whether to cut the yarn---there are many situations where i find it is best to end off one color and weave in the end upon completion.  In the example given, I often do not want to be adding a border.  For me, cutting and weaving in the end often gives better results than trying to carry the yarn.  There are so many different situations where we change colors and then it is a long distance before that color is used again, I think it can be very hard to carry the yarn unobtrusively for a long distance.  Just my  :2c  worth.  

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Hi! I am responding to your suggestions.

 

- Homespun. IF my memory serves me correctly, Homespun IS a boucle.

 

- Chenille. I love to work with chenille, but it's an odd yarn.

 

The strand doesn't stretch, the way a cotton strand doesn't stretch, but your made item can stretch. Because the strand doesn't stretch, you need to have a good, smooth tension that is "thus" or you will not be able to get into the sts when you come back down the row. This makes it a difficult yarn for beginners.

 

Chenille, and sometimes suede, have a tendency to worm. This means they "crawl" out of, or to one end of a stitch. Because of this, long sts will become lopsided over time. I only use sc, but some people will use hdc also.

 

To take care of the unravel problem, tie all the ends. It's just too touchy not to tie everything, then carefully weave the ends in.

 

Chenille and suede are so soft and cuddly, I think they are worth the extra attention and patience to make sturdy items.

 

- Ribbon yarn. I've discovered most people don't know that ribbon yarns were developed to be used along with a strand of another yarn. You hold the 2 strands together, so 1 is a base, say a dark blue ww acrylic, and the other is the "pretty" ribbon, say a dark blue, light blue, and pale yellow ladder ribbon yarn. The 2 together can make a sturdy, but beautiful bag.

 

- Center pull skeins. NOT all skeins pull from the center.  I'm sure you know this, but a lot of new people don't.

 

Many of the Lion Brand Yarns are NOT center pull. I stopped even trying to find out if their newer yarns are or aren't. I now just remove a new label, put it in my crochet bag, and start from the outside end. Always.

 

I also do this with balls of cotton yarn, because I use a number of brands, and some pull from the center and some don't. I honestly get tired of hunting for the inside ends. I start all of them from the outside. It's amazing the time I've spent poking around in the yarn barf, just to discover I can't find an end! I could have been crocheting!

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Thanks, Kathy and Real Deal!  Getting a bunch of yarn tips in one place, even when they are conflicting, is going to help a lot of beginners.  I love how different people have different tips!  It just means that everyone has to find what's easiest for them.  :)

 

By the way, I've had the opposite experience with Lion Brand yarns.  I've found them to be rather easy to center pull.  The exception was their bon bons, because they are wound too tight.  Maybe they changed, because I only started using LB this year.

 

I didn't know that Chenille worms it's way out of longer stitches.  I've made Afghans, shawls and ponchos using Chenille and a variety of stitches, including a lot of dc.  They seem to be holding up well.  I wonder if it varies by brand.

 

Anyway, thank you both for some great tips!  Keep them coming, everyone.  :)

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Hey, your help with different tips on things are really helping me. Thanks.  :manyheart

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~To keep organized and yarn clean, I store all my WIP's (including the yarn) in quart, gallon and extra large Ziploc bags along with a sticky-note to remind me; date started, hook size and a copy of the pattern with the last round completed checked off.

~Most of my crochet hooks that I don't use consistently are stored in eyeglass cases with a chart for hook size conversions from metric to standard size. Makes for compact storage and always easy to find.

~In both vehicle glove compartments I keep an eyeglass case with; small scissors, tape measurer, needle for weaving ends in and a clip to hold my pattern to the dash mat for ease of reading. I've used these items every time while traveling.

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Those plastic pencil boxes that are pretty cheap during the back to school season make great hook cases.  I have the Bates Bamboo hooks and the big handles don't always fit well in traditional cases.  Also when I'm sitting on the couch I like to be able to reach into the case and pull out the one I need.  This let's me shift if I have to increase, decrease hook size to meet the gauge for a project.

 

If I have to travel, the box shuts tight and I can take all of them with me if I need to bring them.  I have a small crocheted holder I take if I know I'm only going to need one or two hooks for the project I'm taking.

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On all my WIP's I attach a stitch marker with an alphabet bead on it for the hook size. If I have to use that hook for something else, I have the bead to remind me. Especially if I misplace the little note to myself in the WIP bag I store the projects in. :)

ETA: There are even numbered beads included that I use for thread crochet and small steal hooks. I bought the bag of the less expensive beads at Wal-Mart for approx $3.

Edited by ReniC
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