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Choosing materials for your first sweater may be daunting if your local knitting store is a yarn and color wonderland. This section gives you some suggestions to help you narrow down the choices.

Wool is the best choice for a first sweater because it knits up easily, blocks beautifully, and looks great. Choose a color on the lighter side so that it's easy to see individual stitches, and make sure that the yarn is a pretty color you'll enjoy knitting. When selecting a yarn, look for a superwash wool. With superwash, you can launder the sweater in the washing machine and tumble dry, while regular wool has a tendency to felt.

If you're averse to wool for some reason, look into a blend of other natural fibers before turning to synthetics. Avoid all-cotton yarn for your first sweater unless you've worked up a lot of the smaller projects in this book and feel that you've had plenty of practice making stitches. Cotton yarn doesn't have much give and can be frustrating to work if your hands are new to needles and yarn.

If you must use a 100-percent synthetic yarn, choose a good-quality one (check with the salesperson at your local yarn shop for a recommendation) and resolve to be very careful in the blocking process. (You may want to take a quick look through Chapter 2 before you head to the yarn shop to choose materials for your first sweater.)

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