Yarn The Quick Consumers Guide

A nice yarn shop is a knitter's paradise. Heck, even the yarn section of a discount or craft store can be a little slice of heaven. Why? Because of all the traditional and specialty yarns that are available. With such an abundance of choices, how do you decide what yarn to buy? Knowing a little bit about the different types of yarn and their general characteristics helps. So first things first.

Yarn is made from short fibers that come from animals or plants or are synthetic. The fibers are combed, or carded, to align them into a soft untwisted rope (called roving). Then they're spun (twisted) into a strand or ply of yarn. This single ply is usually combined with other plies to form the final yarn.

The following sections explain the two main factors — fiber and weight — that account for the wide variety of yarns available. Whether you prefer your yarn plain or fancy, some knowledge of yarn basics can ensure that what looks great on the shelf will look great in your finished project, too.

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