Yarn Types

Correct me if I am wrong, is there a "better" type of yarn for the beginner knitter? I ask because I started with a skein of the cheap stuff from Wal-Mart, with some aluminum needles and really struggled to get to that comfortable point with my knitting. Finally about two days ago I went to my local yarn shop (Main Street Yarn, Mill Creek, WA. Great little store!) and got some bamboo needles and some pure wool yarn. Those two things seem to have made all the difference. I am now working on my practice piece that is 30 stitches across and so far I have about 15 rows down, mixing a few rows of regular knit and then a few purl, then back to regular (pardon my lack of official knitting terms here). I don't have any pictures yet, I will run it out a little further then take a pic for the sake of comments, but I feel it is coming along pretty nicely for my first try (much patting on ones own back). So what does everyone else think, does the yarn type or needle type really make enough of a difference as a beginner or is it just me?


Cosmo's picture

Metal needles are very hard to use with most yarns because of a sever lack of friction. When I knit up tough hemp yarn it's the best! I find that tight wound bulky yarns and wooden needles are best for the people I teach. And don't get me started on novelty yarns (I hate eyelash!)

V's picture

Sure it makes a difference. The better the yarn and needles, the better the knitting experience. That isn't to say that knitting can't be fun with whatever you can afford at the moment. I started out with Red Heart acrylic yarn and had no idea what knitting with wool felt like at the time. Off course once I started with more natural fibers, the knitting got much more interesting. And then addictive. :) If a new knitter has the option to start with some nice wool and bamboo needles then they have a good head start on the way to yarn addiction. But speaking for myself, what I didn't know didn't hurt me. :)

BuduR's picture

The materials make alot of difference. Try getting some yarns from Knitpicks.com or Elann.com they're cheap but good yarns. Once I knit with a natural fiber I became quite the yarn snob, and altho I do occassionally work with acrylic, I hate it.

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Bill's picture

"sticky" needles...like wood or bamboo are easier than metal...because stitches don't slip off as easily...
...and lighter colour yarns, rather than black...
..a good firm twist wool...that doesn't spit, will help...

trpc's picture

I used to look for bulky yarn as a beginner, and now I don't enjoy knitting with it as much as finer yarns. I'm a fiber snob, but I've recently discovered (by accident) that there are some acrylic yarns that feel good and drape well. I agree with Cosmo-skip the novelty yarns.

TomH's picture

I wouldn't totally give up on novelty yarns. Sometimes you can use them to knit a fun project (like a scarf). I used a novelty yarn, combined with another yarn, to knit a scarf last winter. It turned out to be very fun and the recipient's all-time favorite scarf. It wasn't eyelash yarn but a yarn that had all sorts of bumpy nubs on it. Other than that, I mostly stay away from acrylic yarns because they dry my hands out, at least that's true of the acrylic yarns I've tried.

jrrenola's picture

I'm still "new" and using the cheap-o yarn - more because I haven't had time to make my way to one of the LYS's in our area - weird hours that don't jive with my work schedule. I also still use the aluminum needles, because that is what I inherited from my grandmother.
Case in point, the more you knit, the more comfortable you will become with it. As V@r@nt said, "what you don't know won't hurt" - I haven't made the jump over to other materials, but still enjoy the knitting immensely.

albert's picture

I think it's very much an individual matter and thus will vary from person to person. It's good to experiment with different combinations of needle and yarn type to find what works for you. If in the end you find that you prefer to use plastic yarn and glow in the dark needles, that's just fine. Of course, you'll burn in Hell for all eternity.

knit4brains's picture

As far as thickness of yarn, I always think that a worsted weight, and a size 8 or 9 needle is best, just because it's the easiest to manipulate. Acrylic yarn is just sticky and icky (with some exceptions), and even the best knitter is not going to be as satisfied with the results. It always pays (in the long run) to use better quality materials.

eyedoc's picture

Please correct me if I am doing something wrong, but I much prefer my wooden needles to my metal ones. I like the slipperiness of the wooden ones. My metal needles tend to get scratched and cause the yarn to "drag" more than wooden needles. Am I doing something wrong?

BuduR's picture

sounds like what happened with my aluminum needles, they did the same thing, tossed them out and went with Addi and Knit Picks options and haven't had that problem. are the scratches from the needles hitting each other while knitting? you might be a bit tense while knitting. when I first learned that was my problem, I ended up with grooves in my first set of bambo needles because of it.

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