Lion Brand Notebook

News, Ideas and Information for Crafting with Yarn

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What Yarn Weight Do You Think is Best For Beginners?

September 3rd, 2009

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You have certainly been on the receiving end of learning to knit or crochet and perhaps you have taught someone else these crafts.  What weight yarn do you think is best for the process of learning to knit or crochet? Here is a link to a weight chart and the Lion Brand yarns that fit into each weight class.

  • http://www.penguingirl.com penny

    I think it depends on the individual. I’ve always preferred lighter weights and taught myself to knit with a sport & 3.75mm (US 5) needles. I have no recollection what I learned to crochet with, but probably a sportweight.

    That said, I don’t think that learning on cobweb lace and 1.5mm needles is a good idea. It’s possible, but … ;)

    For my teaching these days I tend to default to a simple worsted blended yarn, wool-ease and cotton-ease are my favourite yarn choices with 5mm (US 8) needles or an H hook. Vanna’s Choice would be good too. I try to stay away from prints and variegated colours at first so the stitches are easier to see.

  • http://www.savvyneedle.com Kelli

    I also teach using worsted weight, and either an H hook or size 8 needles. I find that worsted weight yarn provides a rewarding experience because they can see their project growing quickly. Any smaller needles or hooks (or very large ones, for that matter!) tend to be harder for beginners to hold, and as we all know, holding your tools in a comfortable way is Battle #1 for newbies!

    I agree with Penny on not using variegated yarns for the exact same reason.

  • Josette

    I agree with teaching with worsted weight yarn. Of the several people I have taught over the years, that is what I have always used. And I always start them out with a light colored plain yarn and large needles, again, so they can see the stitches.
    I remember teaching with size 11 wooden needles! Then we would go to the store and buy them some needles in the size 7 – 8 range and yarn of their choice. Most people like to do a scarf for their first project.
    I think I personally learned on size 1 needles and fingering yarn because I was making things for dolls, and I was only five – and size is relative! To this day Is till prefer the finer yarns I don’t like to knit with anything larger than worsted weight.

  • http://pugnotes.blogspot.com Melissa Langer

    What a great question!
    I love working with worsted weight yarn. I taught my sister to crochet with a G hook and worsted weight and she did great!

  • http://blog.ekgheiy.com ekgheiy

    I’m not a knitting teacher. Quite honestly, I didn’t understand that knitting was just a series of intertwining loops until well after one year of knitting. That’s when it just … clicked for me.

    So thinking back on my own learning experience in which I learned on worsted, I wish I’d learned on chunky or bulky. Since it’s so big I think it would have given me a clearer graphical understanding of what knitting really is … loops! :)

  • http://thoughtsNspots.blogspot.com Linda Kennedy

    I use the basic worsted weight yarn. I use the most common in the area and stay on the low end of price. If I want them to feel that they can continue to crochet, they need to know they can do it without too much expense or many won’t continue just for that reason, especially now.

    I always start with a One-skein project. Someone trying out a new skill wants to know they can afford it and that they can finish it.

  • phillygirl64

    I learned crochet w/worsted weight and an H hook, I think. One suggestion I would make, especially after trying to start something in Eggplant last night ;), is to start with a lighter color so you can see how the stitch looks

  • Kimberly

    I learned using worsted weight and a G hook. I learned on light-colored variegated yarn, because it was easier to see what I needed to move that way ie. loop the yellow over the top of the hook, push through the blue opening, loop the green over, etc.

  • Mich

    I would say worsted (possibly even DK) for a learner. The bulky yarns do make you ‘learn faster’ as someone insisted to me the other day. The needles and hooks for the worsted weight fit comfortably in almost all hand sizes whereas the bulkier weight stuff, with the thicker needles can sometimes be hard for a beginner to manage, especially younger ones, or those with smaller hands.

    Worsted is also a pretty common weight out there and is easy for most everyone to find, and it’s a good size that you can see each stitch without too much of a problem.

    I wouldn’t go much smaller than DK unless the learner is just bound and determined to start off with fingering or lace weight, harder to see your mistakes, just harder to see if you don’t really know what you’re supposed to be doing!

  • http://www.rabiddesigns.com Rabid

    I also teach on worsted…but I use variegated with most beginners so they can follow their stitches. Makes it easier for them to understand both how the craft works and how to troubleshoot mistakes.

  • sandy

    Although I learned with a small hook and cotton thread (too many years ago to count), I teach using a g hook and worsted weight yarn. A lighter color is so much easier to follow and “understand” when you are a beginner. It doesn’t need to be one of the whites! There are very pretty colors that are not dark! For the second project, I might suggest an ombre or stripe followed by a darker color unless the student has a vision problem.

  • Jessica

    I think worsted is best for beginners. When I learned I actually started with making single crocheted dishcloths out of cotton yarn.

    I would absolutely not recommend that beginners try to use the Homespun yarn. That is nasty yarn to try and work with for even an advanced crocheter.

  • Kathryn Foley

    I have crocheted and knitted for over 40 years and have taught numerous people how to do both. I recommend using solid colored worsted weight yarn with size 8 knitting needles or an H crochet hook. Larger yarn is bulky and the yarn tends to split and slide. Sport weight yarn is hard to see the stiches (plus the dropped stiches).Worsted weight is just right. Once they get the feel of it they can move on to the other yarns. I have them make either a scarf if they are really into it or just a simple headband.

  • Sandra

    It looks like the general consensus here is worsted weight on a “G” or “H” hook. I love working with Vanna’s Choice and an “I” hook so that’s what I’d suggest, but that’s what I learned on and find that the loops are big enough to see and fit the hook back through. For knitting, I learned on size 10.5 with cotton yarn (yeah dishcloths!), again so that I could actually work the needle through the loops.

    I also agree on the “affordability” factor. Worsted weight is everywhere for a very reasonable price – and lots of free patterns!! – so it’s pretty easy to get started… and hooked (pun intended!). :-)

  • Julie

    I think using a sport weight of the thick weight would also work because you would be able to see the stitch really good.

  • Ilehlia

    I agree with worsted weight, and also a smooth, tightly spun texture, to cut down on snags and split stitches. I learned many years ago on DK and fine needles, but that’s what was most common then (all wool, no synthetics then). I find cotton works well for children because of its sturdiness and lack of stretch, and it’s not as slippery on the needles. I also don’t recommend any of the bouclés or other specialty yarns with bumpy or irregular textures — too hard to get the feel of. You didn’t ask about needles, but I find that bamboo needles work great for beginners, because the yarn stays put for the most part, and doesn’t slip off as easily, especially with just a few stitches on at the end of rows.

  • Alex

    I learned on to knit on size 8 needles with bulky weight yarn, and I loved it, because it didn’t really show any mistakes! However, I tried to teach my husband, and made the mistake of letting him choose whatever he wanted–black, sportweight yarn, and size 4 needles, some of the longest I have ever seen in my life, and he hated it. Now, reading these comments, I can see what I was doing wrong. Thanks!

  • Joan

    I found that my daughters and grand-daughter preferred worsted weight yarn. Sport and lighter weight yarns gave them problems and they kept dropping stitches off their needles more often with a light yarn. I learned to knit and crochet on butcher’s twine, believe it or not. My grandmother taught me to crochet and my mother taught me to knit. These two types of handcraft were just the basics. I learned fancier and harder stitches from books and lots of practice. I love both crafts and have never been without one project or another for many years. I consider myself an Intermediate in crochet and knitting and no higher. I agree that wooden or bamboo needles are the easiest for beginners to use as your fingers don’t seem to tire after a lengthy session of training.

  • pat

    I think worsted weight in a light or medium color would be best to learn on, with a large hook. An H to K size. Then move down to sport weight and up to bulky. I learned to crochet with a fisherman color and a K hook, it was a 60′s vest. Scarfs are great to start, you can practice sc,hd,dc, and even triples. Homespun for the person that doesn’t like it-practice, practice,pratice it gets easier and is just lovely in the finished product.

  • Cheryl A. Gray

    I learned to knit and crochet with whatever yarn that I had on hand. Worsted yarn is better for you can see the stitches and get the feel of the yarn. I started making small things. Scarfs, hairbands. I also used a how to do needlework that my Mom had.

  • Rocana

    I always teach with Double Knitting on size 8/4mm needles, as anything larger tends to be unwealdy. But this is only my experience. Have been knitting since I was 4 and am now 75.

  • Hope Meltser

    As someone who only recently learned to knit, I started on a 4 weight yarn. It is a good in between weight that makes it easier to shift down or up a size in yarn.

    For needles, I learned on a size 7. I think that was a little to small and that a 10 or 10 1/2 would have been better, but it was workable.

    Good Luck to all new knitters out there no matter what size you use!

  • Marlene

    I just started crocheting 4 months ago. I started with Medium (Worsted) weight yarn and size K hook. Since then I’ve worked with soft yarn, bulky/Homespun and super bulky with smaller and larger hooks and find the Medium the best to work with. I need to get another K hook, since teaching my mother- she likes using the K hook too.

  • Mary Fairweather Dexter

    I agree with the use of worsted weight yarn in a not-too-dark varigation. The changing colors help one see the various parts of the stitch and also alleviate boredom after one has been doing the same stitch over and over for several inches. “Oh, look. The red goes over the yellow now. Wow!” An added incentive to keep going.
    Finer yarns and needles can get too tight too fast making it difficult to shove the needle through. Fluffy or fuzzy yarns are too confusing and too hard to rip out mistakes. The stitches blur together making it easier too drop stitches, although that also makes them more forgiving, up to a point. Homespun and other wrapped yarns are tricky because the fibers slide or unwrap and split.

  • LadyGrae

    I was taught to knit by a coworker 10 years ago. She taught me with size 8/4mm needles using ‘Sugar and Creme’ cotton and the ubiquitous diagonal washcloth pattern.

    The reason she taught me with cotton was its lack of stretchability. That property was instrumental in helping me learn to maintain proper tension. The dishcloth pattern was in garter stitch and included YO increases and K2tog decreases. It’s still my favorite dishcloth pattern and I’ve made dozens over the years for myself, adn at the request of friends and family.

    I learned to knit continental. It was easier for me as I had learned to crochet from my mother (I was really young so don’t remember the details of what type of yarn – probably a scrap of what she had laying around – or the hook size), so holding the yarn in the left hand was more natural for me. Ironically, my teacher knit English. I had a hard time holding the yarn in the right hand and onto the needles when letting go to do the “throw”.

    So, here’s a question to the knitters here: Do you knit in the English or Continental method?

  • Char

    I am new. What is DK yarn. I have seen it in a couple of my patterns.

    Zontee says: Hi Char, DK weight is category 3 – light in terms of yarn thickness. To see our yarns by weight, click here to go to the chart.

  • Laurie

    I like to teach people how to knit a cotton dishcloth. The yarn sticks just enough to keep from slipping off and if the work ends up with a couple of holes in it, no problem it will still wash dishes.

  • teresa lamorte

    I like using bulky weight yarn and a big hook to teach beginners. I just think that it’s easier to see and feel the stitches. I wish that I had made this discovery sooner. This fall I will be teaching some beginners, so I’ll have a chance to test my theory.

  • Michelle

    I think a sports weight yarn is the best with which to teach beginners. It doesn’t get tangled up, it easy to unravel when mistakes are made and is light weight enough for beginners projects. In my experience, it can be difficult to see your stitches with a heavier weight yarn.

  • Nancy

    I just started my first sweater class and chose a multi-colored yarn…….I wish I had gone with a solid color…..while doing the ribbing, it was VERY difficult for me to tell if I was supposed to knit or perle the next stitch…..UGH!

  • Carole Brown

    A co-worker taught me to knit 48 years ago and she started me out with sport weight yarn and I think size 5 or 6 needles. She had me make a pair of two needle mittens as my first project because she felt it was a project I was liable to finish and not get discouraged doing. She was right! I learned and went on that winter to make five more pairs of mittens in various sizes for the children of a friend. We didn’t really discuss yarn color…I just picked out what appealed to me at the time and had no problem. Of course, I don’t remember now what my first color was, only that my project came out great. But I had a great teacher!

  • Ilehlia

    To LadyGrae,
    I knit English style, because that’s what my mom did, and she taught me when I was seven. In university I had a friend from Chile who showed me continental style, and even though I crocheted fine, holding the yarn in my left hand, I couldn’t get the hang of the tension with the knitting. So I just went back to English style.

    To Nancy, here’s a tip to tell if your next stitch in ribbing is knit or purl: if the yarn comes out of the last stitch in the BACK of the needle, it was a knit stitch, so your next will be purl. If the yarn comes out of the last stitch in FRONT of the needle, it was a purl, so your next stitch will be a knit. You can use this with really fuzzy yarn too and still be able to tell what you just did. (That’s assuming you’re doing 1/1 ribbing – k1,p1.)

  • Pat

    I taught my son, who is in the Navy, to crochet a few years ago. Fortunately, he recovered from the experience of learning with Homespun! He has continued off and on, and the last time he was home had a very nicely done scarf in WoolEase Thick n Quick. I taught my 12 year old niece with WoolEase Thick n Quick and a large hook and she did very well, as the yarn doesn’t split easily and the stitches are easy to see. Most beginners have tension issues and the large yarn seems to help.

  • Mary

    When I first started crocheting, I used the Baby Clouds Baby yarn which is a chunky or heavy weight yarn. I started out making baby blankets and I wanted them to be soft and warm. The person who taught me to crochet said it’s easier to learn (sometimes) with a heavier/thicker yarn because you can get a product finished in less amount of time which helps to get you feeling confident about what you are doing; then you attempt to work with other things that aren’t quite as thick or as heavy.

  • jackie

    I think a bulky or worsted yarn

    my first project was a chenille thick and quick scarf. it knits up quickly and is easy to use.

  • Nikki

    Bulky or super bulky. I learned on the now discontinued Big, which I really miss. Then Moved on to Woolease Thick & Quick. It was so much easier to see the stitches, and the first few items seemed to go fairly fast for a beginner, so I wasn’t discouraged. When I first started I just couldn’t get the hang of the worsted weight. It was hard to see the stitches, especially with dark yarn, and another person trying to “show” you.

  • Stef

    I was taught on worsted weight yarn for both knitting and crocheting, but when I teach people I tend to use big yarn and a really big hook or needles, so that the first project finishes quickly. Once they have the first project mastered, most people feel better about the process, so I wanted it to be short.

  • Hollie

    i see that a lot of people on here say worsted, but i actually learned how to knit from watching videos on youtube and the first video i watched, they used a bulky weight yarn and size 13 needles, so that’s what i decided to use. i think it worked well as with the lighter color in the scarf, i could see the stitches much more easily than when i moved on to worsted weight. i would teach other beginners also on bulky just because of the confidence issue and also because it’s so much easier to see your stitches when they’re that big.

  • Anne Godsey

    Pastels…

  • cristine

    I learned to crochet when i was 5 so all i remember was that the yarn i learned with was red. When i learned to knit my mother taught me how to do the knit stitches and my grandmother had to teach me to purl. i learned to knit with really slippery plastic needles in a size 10 with worsted weight wool that was very itchy. but when i teach people to knit or crochet i prefer bamboo for knitting needles and metal for crochet hooks.

  • Alisha

    Crochet: Worsted
    Knitting: Bulky

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