Crochet is a fun and relaxing craft that allows you to create beautiful items like blankets, scarves, clothing and more. A key factor in any crochet project is choosing the right yarn. With so many different yarn types, weights, fibers and textures available, it can be overwhelming to decide what yarns are best for your projects. In this extensive guide, we will explore the top yarn options for crochet and what they are best suited for. By understanding yarn basics and characteristics, you can confidently pick fibers that will work well for your patterns and desired results.
Yarn Weights for Crochet
The first factor to consider is yarn weight. Yarn is categorized into six standardized weight classes that dictate the thickness and texture. Knowing the weight class is important so you choose a yarn suitable for the recommended hook size in your pattern. Here are the key crochet yarn weights:
Super Fine/Lace Weight (Sock, Cobweb) – Weight equivalent to sock yarn, size 00-1 crochet hooks. Great for doilies, lace projects.
Fine/Fingering Weight (Baby) – Similar to 4 ply yarns, size 1-3 crochet hooks. Ideal for baby items, shawls, lace garments.
Light/Sport Weight (DK) – Comparable to 3 ply yarns, size 3-5 crochet hooks. Commonly used for accessories, garments.
Medium/Worsted Weight (Aran) – Equivalent to average 4 ply yarns, size 5-7 crochet hooks. Versatile weight for accessories, sweaters, blankets.
Bulky/Chunky Weight – Thicker than average yarns, size 7-11 crochet hooks. Excellent for quick projects like scarves, blankets, pillows.
Super Bulky/Jumbo Weight – Very thick yarns, size 11-16 crochet hooks. Great for rugs, cushions, large blankets.
Crochet gauges are based on working with the appropriate hook size for each yarn weight, resulting in the recommended gauge or stitch count per inch. Choosing a yarn that matches your pattern gauge is crucial for getting accurate measurements and sizing.
Natural Yarn Fibers for Crochet
There are many natural yarn fibers that make beautiful crochet materials. Here are some top natural fiber options:
Cotton – Durable, breathable and affordable. Great for summer projects like placemats, coasters, washcloths. Can pill over time.
Wool – Naturally insulating and moisture wicking. Ideal for winter accessories, blankets, clothes. Can felt if agitated.
Alpaca – Luxuriously soft fiber that comes in many weights. Great for shawls, baby blankets. More expensive than other fibers.
Bamboo – Natural and soft with moisture-wicking properties. Comfortable for accessories or clothing. Can pill over extended use.
Silk – Lush and elastic fiber with natural sheen. Gorgeous for scarves, shawls. Expensive but long lasting. Dries slowly.
Acrylic Yarns for Crochet
Acrylic is a highly popular synthetic material for crochet projects due to its affordability and easy care properties. Major benefits of acrylic yarns include:
Washable/Dryer Safe – Acrylic can be tossed right into the washer and dryer without risk of felting or shrinking.
Low Maintenance – Acrylic doesn’t require special washing and can withstand long term wear without pilling.
Inexpensive – Acrylic yarns offer great value while providing lasting performance.
Variety of Textures – Manufacturers make acrylic in many weights and textures like threads, chunky, novelty blends.
Consistent Quality – Dye lots are consistent between skeins even over long production runs.
Long Lasting – With proper care, acrylic garments and items can stand up to years of use.
Some top acrylic yarn brands for crochet include Red Heart, Lion Brand, Caron, Vanna’s Choice, I Love This Yarn and Bernat. These companies manufacture affordable, high quality acrylic in a rainbow of colors. Acrylic is an excellent choice if you need a durable, easy care yarn suitable for doilies, blankets, toys, decor items and clothing.
Novelty and Luxury Yarns
Crochet opens up options to play with unique novelty and hand-dyed luxury yarns. Some top specialty yarn types include:
Cotton/Bamboo Blends – Soft with a natural drape and subtle texture. Nice for summer tops, skirts.
Wool/Acrylic Blends – Benefits from both fibers like washability and warmth. Versatile for fall/winter projects.
Metallic Yarns – Adds shimmer to shawls, bags with silk, acrylic or cotton bases.
Eyelash Yarn – Fluffy novelty yarn creates fun, fuzzy effects. Great accents for scarves, slippers.
Sequin Yarns – Adds bling to cardigans, ponchos, accessories. Requires larger hooks.
Novelty Prints – Fun vibrant prints in cotton or acrylic like animal prints, flowers.
Hand-Dyed Yarns – Unique, artistic colors made by local dyers. Gorgeous for heirloom quality gifts.
Silk/Metallic Lace Weight – Luxurious for elegant bridal shawls, scarves. More fragile than other fibers.
While novelty yarns may cost more, they are wonderful for adding special accents, colorwork or texture interest to crochet projects. Be sure to swatch and use larger hooks as needed with novelty blends.
Popular Yarn Brands for Crochet
Now that you understand yarn characteristics, here are some top brand recommendations for crochet yarns:
Red Heart – Undoubtedly one of the most accessible and affordable yarn brands. Great for beginners. Wide selection of weights, colors in acrylic and blends.
Lion Brand – Reliable, consistent quality at a value price. Huge product range including novelty, kid-friendly and luxury yarns.
Caron – Quality brand with silky smooth acrylic. Popular cakes, stripes and novelty stripes. Good for textured/colorwork patterns.
Bernat – Known for soft cotton, acrylic and blends. Popular for baby/kids items like blankets and clothing. Fun novelty yarns too.
Premier Yarns – Expertly crafted acrylic, wool and blends. Professional quality for heirloom items and garments.
Cascade Yarns – Exceptional wools, alpaca and blends. Finest quality for shawls, lace, colorwork.
Knit Picks – Wide selection of animal fibers and blends. Reasonably priced for luxury materials. Great for online ordering.
Loops & Threads – Affordable national brand from Michael’s. Nice basic weights for beginners and projects.
I Love This Yarn! – Super soft acrylic that comes in fun variegated cakes. Great for blankets and accessories.
Knit One Crochet Too – Novelty yarns that spark joy like eyelash, fur, pom pom. Fun to accent patterns.
With a little knowledge of weights, fibers and trusted brands, you have everything needed to pick the perfect yarn for your next crochet project! Experimenting with different yarns is part of the creative journey. Happy crafting!
Popular Crochet Projects by Yarn Weight
Now that we’ve covered yarn basics, let’s discuss some specific crochet projects that are well suited for each major yarn weight category.
Super Fine/Lace Weight Yarns
Doilies – Requires small gauge for intricate lace patterns.
Shawls – Flattering, drapey texture complements lace or filigree stitches.
Scarves – Perfect for fine lace edging or filet crochet designs.
Baby blankets – Ultra-soft lace yarns feel precious for swaddling infants.
Socks – Knit stitches on tiny hooks create stretchy, comfortable footwear.
Fine/Fingering Weight Yarns
Baby blankets – Sweet blankets crocheted in small delicate stitches.
Cowls/Neckwarmers – Wrap yourself in cozy collar-like designs.
Slippers – Soft footwear using fun ribbed or cable stitches.
Lace shawls – Elegant drapery enhanced by lacy openwork patterns.
Accessories – Fashionable hats, gloves with intricate texture and drape.
Light/Sport Weight Yarns
Scarves – Quickly crochet long, draping neck pieces in cotton and wool.
Shawls – Warm wraps to enjoy pretty colors and simple lace edging.
Light sweaters – Quick to complete crop or baby tops in cotton, wool or blends.
Blankets – Mid-size throws for laps or as gifts to showcase self-striping yarns.
Hats – Seasonal warm caps and slouchy beanies with simple