Yarn & Fiber FAQ
Welcome to the Yarn and Fiber FAQ
Yarn Weights Guide
Beginners quide to picking the correct needle
Yarn Weights Guide
What are Yarn Weights? Here is a guide to approximate yarn weights or thickness. Just remember....there is nothing set in stone. This information is most useful for knitters, but other fiber artists may use these categories to compare yarns. As a note, DK weight (a European notation that is gaining strength in the U.S.) is in the thicker end of the sport weight category. Chunky is a category used for yarns between worsted and bulky. Fingering and baby weights may be used interchangeably. Lace weight would be finer than fingering.
||Approximate Yardage (Yards/pound)
||Knitting Needle Size (U.S.)
||Wraps per Inch (wpi)
|Lace or Baby Weight
||2600 or more
|DK||1100-1400||5.5||5-7||13||US E4-7 (3.5mm - 4.5mm)|
||500 or less
Beginners quide to picking the correct needleThere are many different kinds of needles on the market, from plain plastic needles to metal, glass, bamboo, woods and many other materials. There are straight needles and circular needles (not to mention double-pointed needles which are usually used for socks). All of this can be pretty confusing to a beginner. How do you know what needle is right for you?
First, go needle shopping with a project in mind. When you’re a more experienced knitter just looking to build up your supplies, you can buy needles with no particular project in mind, but when you’re first starting out, it’s best to buy only the needles you need.
The pattern you choose will say what sized needle was used to complete the project. That’s the size needle you should go looking for. At your local yarn shop or craft store, there will be a limited number of materials for each type of needle, probably plastic, metal and bamboo or wood.
Different knitters like different needles for different reasons.my first choice of needles tends to be wooden or bamboo personally.
Many knitters love bamboo or wooden needles because of their warmth, the natural feel in the hands, and the comforting but quiet clicking sound they make. They’re also good for knitting slick yarns because the needles have a bit of friction, which can help keep the stitches from sliding off the needles. Wooden needles are a great choice for beginners for the same reason. they are often sold in a variety pack of various sizes.
Metal needles are heavy, sturdy and hard to break. Their slickness makes for quick knitting, but can also make it easy to slide your work right off the needles. Metal needles are also cold, so they’re not great for knitting in the winter. The metallic clicking of these needles is also annoying to some. obviuosly i don't reach for metal knitting needles very often.
Plastic needles are similar to wooden or bamboo needles in terms of lightness and smoothness, but they lack warmth. They’re also very smooth like metal needles so they allow you to knit quickly. They are more flexible than other needles. usually the most inexpensive needles you can but you will find that plastic needles can warp and bend in time, throwing off your sticthes and not helping your project.
Common fiber QuestionsWhat are names of fiber? Fiber from an alpaca is called alpaca fiber, fiber from a sheep(ours are icelandic sheep) is called wool, our french angora rabbits produce what you think of of as angora fiber, yet our angora goats produce fiber that is called mohair. the first cutting from a young goat is called kid mohair.
What is a top?
Top is made by a combing process that removes the short and noiled fibers leaving the longer fibers in a parallel alignment. The result is the highest quality of the fiber or "top of the line". Spinning from top using a short draw will produce worsted yarns. These are smooth and less likely to pill than woolen yarns (produced from spinning carded fiber or sliver). Combed top is a continuous roving.
What is a micron?
It is the actual measurement of the fiber's diameter. The smaller the number the finer the fiber. One micron is equivalent to 1/25, 400th of an inch.the lower the micron the softer/finer the fiber feels to the touch
What is staple length?
This is the length of the fiber from butt to tip. The general rule is that the shorter the staple length, the finer the fiber. Please note that there are exceptions to this rule!
What is Carding?
Carding is a method of separating and aligning the fibers. It does not eliminate any fiber in the preparation, this process blends the fibers together.
What is Carded Sliver?
Sliver is a continuous strand of carded fiber, the fiber arrangement is not parallel. Carded sliver will produce a light, soft yarn.
What is Superwash?
Superwash is the process of making wool fibers shrink resistant. The surface of the fiber has projecting edges or scales. Synthetic polymers are used to fill in the cavities of the fiber's rough jagged surface. This means that your yarn can be safely machine washed. Superwash fiber takes dye beautifully!
What is a Worsted Yarn?
Worsted yarns are spun from long fibers that have been combed. A worsted yarn is smooth, firm and strong and has a sheen.
What is a Woolen Yarn?
A woolen yarn is spun from carded fiber, where the short and long fibers are blended together. A woolen yarn is fluffy, soft warm and has loft.
What is Crimp?
Crimp is the natural waviness or curl of the wool or alpaca fibers. Each breed grows fleece with a characteristic crimp pattern.
What does Ready-To-Spin mean?
The fibers have not been combed or carded. But they are fully cleaned and de-haired, thus Ready-To-Spin.
What is a Lock?
A lock is the natural grouping of fibers that occurs as the fleece grows on the sheep or goat.
What is a Flick Carder?
This is a small, single hand held carder. It is used to separate the lock or staple of wool. This prepares the fiber for spinning directly from the lock without disturbing the alignment of the fibers.
what is a drum carder?
the carding process is accomplished through a series of different drums working interactively.