Yarn Typology

Photograph by Paul Esson (via Flickr) [CC BY-SA 2.0]

There are a lot of options when it comes to choosing a yarn for your next knitting project. Do you go for a soft King Cole chunky merino blend or a hypoallergenic alpaca yarn? The answers to questions like these are often dictated by the type of project which you’re going to undertake or the texture and distinct properties that you want a kitted item to embody once completed. This short guide will have a brief look at some of the kinds of yarn available and in what areas each excels.

Merino

Merino is a common wool on the knitting market due to its incredibly high quality. This wool is so popular because of the soft textures offered by the microfibres and its distinct wicking properties. Wicking is the process of drawing moisture away from the surface of the skin when worn as a lower level. As a result of this breathability and the fact that when the wool does get wet it has the ability to retain warmth, Merino has become a huge success within the sports clothing market and is currently completely unmatched by any man-made alternatives.

Alpaca

Alpaca are a herd animal found in South America. For hundreds of years their wool has been a prized possession with the inhabitants of the continent. The unique qualities offered by alpaca yarn have made this yarn popular throughout the world, leading to a rise of alpaca farms across the world but especially in the USA and Europe. Alpaca could be the perfect yarn to use for a baby project as it is hypoallergenic, meaning the likelihood of the yarn causing any irritation or allergic reaction is minimal.

Alpaca yarn is warm and soft, softer than cashmere in most people’s opinions, making it an appealing choice for any knitted project going.

Cashmere

Cashmere is goats’ wool, from the Cashmere breed. This wool has been used for thousands of years by the peoples of Kashmir and Nepal and has since spread, being able to be found worldwide today. High quality luxury knitted or woven items are most likely to have Cashmere included either as the main material or as part of a blend. The desire for Cashmere is due to the light weight of the material, offering an excellent insulation to weight ratio. Another reason may be the time and effort that goes into gathering Cashmere as the Cashmere fibres need to be extracted from guard hair, as the Cashmere goat produces a double fleece with guard hair covering over the finer fibres that we associate with Cashmere as a material.

Guest blogger:  Thanks to our guest blogger, Nathan Stevens.  For a fabulous selection of king cole chunky yarns head to the wonderful online knitting world of Yarnfest.

Knitted Jewelry, A Hot Fashion Piece for 2012

Knitted Necklaces from Independent Knitting News

Knitted Necklaces from Independent Knitting News

Knitting isn’t just about yarn anymore. Anything that can be wrapped around needles and used to make stitches can be used to knit with. Knitting has always been a form of arts and crafts to create sweaters and quilts. But, by using anything from licorice to grocery bags, you can create beautiful knitted jewelry that’s both fashionable and fun to make.

DIY knitted jewelry may sound like a summer camp experiment you did as a child. Well, it can be just as fun, that’s for sure. To begin, you need to decide what type of thread you’re going to use. Remember that knitting your own jewelry is an arts and crafts project. So, be creative. Things such as fine string, metallic thread, gold or silver wire, or any type of unique threadlike material will work.

Then, you need to add depth, texture and color to create your visual masterpiece. Beads are great for knitting jewelry. You simply slide various beads of your choice between the stitches. By using different shapes, sizes and colors for your bead choices, you can create DIY knitted jewelry in styles ranging from casual to dressy and funky to elegant.

Planning Your Knitted Jewelry

Decided the type of drape you want for your jewelry. Will you be creating a standalone, solid piece? Or, are you hoping for something that will lay against the skin, the way the strands of pearls do?

Also, choose your needle wisely. Smaller needs can make wire manipulating harder. Fine crochet hooks are great as jewelry knitting needles. Tip: The hook circumference should closely match the size of the needle. The hook helps you secure your loops, while drawing them through your stitches.

Here are four basic DIY jewelry knitting styles for you to choose from:

Firm

One of the best tools for producing rigid jewelry is wire. The rigidness of your piece can be altered by choosing between thinner or thicker wire. Thicker wires are more rigid. However, they can be a bit more difficult when it comes to manipulating them with needles. Fine wire has a more delicate charm, but they can bend out of shape more easily. Fine wire is great for pieces made for special occasions. For an everyday piece, it’s best to choose a wire with a bit of thickness.

Semi-Firm

For a semi-rigid piece, various types of nylon and metallic threads will work. Semi-firm knitted jewelry is a good choice for creating a draping piece, that’s rigid enough for everyday wear-ability.

Relaxed

To create a completely fluid jewelry piece, choose threading material that’s easy to manipulate. Things such as thin threads, even strong dental floss, are good choices. Fine crochet string will create the style you want, and is pretty easy to work with.

Choosing Knitted Jewelry Beads

Now, it’s time to decide on the visual style you want to create. This involves choosing beads and the right beads for your DIY jewelry project. There are so many types of jewelry beads to choose from. They come in hundreds of sizes, colors, shapes and styles.

Your choice can flaunt your favorite color, your elegance, your funky side, etc… But, while being creative, keep in mind the type of knitting thread you’ve chosen. Tiny beads may not hang properly if you’re using a thicker thread. If you choose a very fine, thin thread, it won’t hold up under the weight of very heavy beads. But, whatever you decide to use, have fun when you make your own knitted jewelry. Remember, knitting isn’t just for DIY quilt patterns anymore.

 Guest blogger: Liz is a blogger by profession and uses most of her spare time with needles! She does cross-stitching, knitting and quiltingwhenever she feels the need for writing inspiration.