Thick or Thin?
Hello again and welcome back to the blog! Today we'll be looking at the different thicknesses of yarn and I will be ranking my favourites (by which I mean I will rank them in order of general popularity and throw in the odd controversial yarn opinion here and there!). My rankings will be based on how easy the thickness is to work with, how useful it is (because let's face it, nobody needs a single ply vest with the UK's cold, cold weather) and also how much choice there is within the thickness. So let's start with the worst.
6th: 1ply, 2ply, 3ply and Sock Weight
I've decided to group these all together because they are the thinner options, so they are equally fiddly. They're also not very widely available - we have a fair range of sock weight yarn and some 3ply but very little that's thinner than that just because very few people choose to work with 2ply, let alone 1ply! Some people like thinner yarns though, which I understand as they can be used to make very dainty and intricate lace garments or crochet doilies. But for me, the main problem is that with thin yarn, you are not only more likely to make mistakes but they're also much more obvious. So, for that reason, I'm not saying that you should never use these thicknesses but I am saying that you should have full focus when using these and should never, under any circumstances, do your first project in 3ply or below! Here is a photo of a sock I tried to do whilst distracted - bad idea (I was doing magic circle and somehow managed to knit the wrong way)!
Again, I've put 4ply low on the list because it can be fiddly; having said that, it's much more pleasant than other skinny options. It's the standard baby garment thickness, so there are lot of 4ply options on the market. Whilst I'm yet to work with it, I particularly recommend West Yorkshire Spinners Bo Peep as it is a wool mix, making it that little bit better for the environment, and there's a great range of baby colours (click here to see). Alternatively, if you want to use 4ply for adult garments, Jarol Heritage 4ply has a great range of more adult colours - click here to take a look.
I have to admit, I have a bit of a controversial view on aran - I've just never seen the point of having a thickness that is thicker than 4ply and double knit but thinner than chunky. Then again, I am a little biased because I'm always either too cold and desperate for a thick jumper of too hot and trying to find the lightest thing in my wardrobe - I'm never anywhere in between so I rarely find a purpose for aran. Having said that, It's good for hats and scarves when you need something that's warm but not too bulky and tight around your neck (I know I like tight scarves but not many people do, so it's perfect if you need something more roomy). Also, there are some great colour ranges available in certain aran brands - just look at Sirdar Jewelspun Aran and see how pretty some of them are (click here)! Also with aran, you can get balls with 400g on, which are super cool!
3rd: Super Chunky
In my opinion, super chunky is the best thickness; however, I know it has its flaws and is not as great in some people's eyes. As a person with little patience, it's great for me as it knits/crochets up very quickly (though having said that, I've never crocheted with super chunky before, so I'm not sure whether it's something I would recommend). Also, I often find that mistakes in super chunky are harder to spot but easier to solve, which is something that is particularly important to me as I often do knitting whilst watching TV, listening to music, even when watching school assemblies and Q&As from home! However, I do get that some people find it far too bulky and it definitely isn't a good one to work with in the summer or even late spring as it is just too hot on your lap. At the moment, as I have been for what feels like forever, I'm working with Creative Smile Super Chunky, which has a great range of colours and is so, so soft, but I also really like the colours in Stylecraft Special XL and Creative Glow Worm (which also contains glass fibre - great for walking in the dark!). I would love to work with them some time.
2nd: Regular Chunky
I put regular chunky in second because it has the perfect balance of being quick to knit/crochet up and being nice and light in comparison with super chunky. Also, it's very widely available in a range of colours and yarn fibres. My favourite chunky yarns include Hayfield Spirit Chunky, Stylecraft Cosy Delight and Number One Chunky - you can find all of these (and more) here. Chunky is probably the thickness that I have worked most with; I used it when making my first scarf, my first jumper and my first crochet granny square - though I forgot to check the materials in my yarn first so did end up making a series of curling, oddly stretched squares. On that note, here is a picture of the first jumper that I made for myself - I still love it to this day
1st: Double Knit
In first place is double knit; it's the thickness that most people first learn to knit with (almost all kids needles are 4mm, the size used for most double knits) and the thickness that arguably has the largest ranges in colours and textures. Double knit is not only great for beginner items and spring/summer clothes, it is also great for toys as the stitches are smaller, meaning that the gaps between the stitches that could allow for stuffing to seep out are also much smaller. Whilst I'm not normally a fan of thinner yarn, even I know that sometimes it is important. Below is a photo a DK scarf that I did when I was younger using a basic lace pattern. It's gone a little fuzzy over the years but to me, the photo really show that only thin yarns can truly show certain patterns - it wouldn't have looked right at all in a chunky.
Last week, I mentioned Stylecraft Special DK, one of the most popular double knit yarns, but I also need to give a bit of recognition to a few other brands I love, including Sirdar Number One DK, Sirdar Snuggly Replay, Rico Dream DK Uni and Stylecraft Batik Swirl (in fact I love all of Stylecraft's DK yarn cakes). Click here to go and explore the wonderful world of DK yarn, or here to have a look at all our web shop options. And don't forget to check out our Ebay Shops or to drop us an email - go to the home page of our website for more info!
I hope that you enjoyed this post and that it gives you the inspiration you need to start a new project, whether that's something warm and woolly or something a little cooler for summer! Until next time, happy crafting!
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My name is Sharon the Sheep, the owner of Avicraft Wool Shop in Bromley Kent..