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  • Writer's pictureCristina Magalhães

Crochet pattern design – how to choose the perfect yarn

Updated: Sep 26, 2023

You've made your first sketches. You know what your item is going to look like. And now you need to choose the yarn. Choosing the perfect yarn for a crochet project can be a daunting task for any pattern designer. With countless options available in terms of texture, weight and colour, it's easy to feel overwhelmed.

So, I want to simplify this process for you by providing valuable insights and guidance on this topic. I will explore different yarn types, their characteristics, and their suitability for various patterns. I want you to make informed decisions, ensuring your creations truly come to life.

Step 1 - Consider the fibre content and its properties

Different fibres have different characteristics that can greatly impact the final outcome of your project. For example, wool is known for its warmth and elasticity, which can be ideal for winter garments. Cotton, on the other hand, is lightweight and breathable, suitable for a shopping bag or a hat. Take into account factors such as durability, softness, and stretchiness when selecting the type of fibre for your pattern.

Step 2 - Determine the weight or thickness of the yarn

Yarns are typically categorised into different weights, but the terminology varies between the US and the UK. In the US, you'll find yarns labelled as lace, fingering, sport, worsted or bulky. In the UK, the terms double knitting, aran or chunky are more common.

The weight of the yarn will affect the drape and overall appearance of your finished project. So you need to consider the type of item you're designing and the stitch pattern. If you wrote a pattern that uses lacy stitches, a thick yarn won't give the item the appropriate drape. The piece will look stiff. On the opposite side of the scale, if you have designed a basket, you need a sturdy yarn that will make the piece stand firmly.

Step 3 - Consider the colour and dyeing method

Think about the colour palette you want to work with and how it will complement your pattern. Then check if the yarn in question has those colours available. Additionally, consider the dyeing method used for the yarn. Hand-dyed yarns may have slight variations in colour, which might either add unique visual interest to your project or not be appropriate. Keep in mind that different dyeing methods may require special care instructions.

When deciding about colours, take into consideration your clients' budget as well. If your project requires the use of a lot of different colours, it will be more expensive to complete.

Step 4 - Assess the texture and drape of the yarn

The texture and drape of the yarn can greatly impact the overall look and feel of your finished project. Some yarns have a smooth and sleek texture, while others have a more fuzzy appearance. Consider the desired effect of your pattern and choose a yarn that will enhance it. For example, a shawl may benefit from a yarn with a soft and flowing drape, while a sweater may require a yarn with more structure and stitch definition.

Step 5 - Take into account the care instructions

Some yarns may require special care, such as handwashing or laying flat to dry, while others may be machine washable and dryer friendly. Consider the amount of time and effort your audience is willing to put into caring for your finished project and choose a yarn that aligns with their preferences. For example, if your clients are young parents, they might not have time to handwash delicate fabrics and probably prefer something more practical.

Step 6 - Consider your clients' budget and yarn availability

While it can be tempting to use luxurious, high-end yarns, it's important to find a balance that works for your clients budget wise. Take into account the quantity of yarn required for your project and the cost per skein or ball. Additionally, consider the availability of the yarn. It can be frustrating to fall in love with a yarn only to find out that it's discontinued or difficult to find.

Bonus Tip 1 - Visit a local yarn store to feel and compare different yarn options

In a physical store, you can feel the yarn and compare different options side by side. This allows you to assess the texture, softness, and quality of the yarn, which can be difficult to do when shopping online. Additionally, the knowledgeable staff at yarn stores can provide expert advice and recommendations based on your specific project.

Bonus Tip 2 - Read reviews or ask for recommendations from fellow designers or crafters

Online platforms and social media groups dedicated to knitting and crochet are great resources for gathering information and hearing about other crafters' experiences with different yarns. By tapping into these communities, you can learn from the successes and challenges of others, helping you make a more informed decision.

Final Thoughts

Choosing the perfect yarn for your crochet project is essential to achieving the desired outcome. By considering factors such as fibre content, weight, colour, texture, care instructions, budget and availability, you can make an informed decision that will enhance your project and bring it to life. Remember to visit a local yarn store to feel and compare different options, and don't hesitate to seek recommendations from fellow designers or crafters. So go ahead, apply the outlined steps, and embark on your next crochet project with confidence, knowing that you've chosen the perfect yarn to bring your vision to reality!

Cristina Magalhães is an editor, proofreader and crochet tech editor who works with businesses, content writers and individuals.

She edits business documentation, marketing materials, LinkedIn profiles, CVs, cover letters and crochet patterns.

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