Even though many crochet patterns suggest a type or brand of thread to use, sometimes a crafter wants to make a different choice. With so many crochet threads on the market, a person needs to know how to choose the best crochet thread. Typically, crafters use the term thread for crochet thread that comes in sizes from 3 to 100. Crochet yarn is thicker and heavier.
The first consideration when choosing crochet thread is the project for which it will be used. Different types of projects need different thread weights, thread fibers, and other significant factors. One of these factors that crafters often do not realize is that the method of cleaning the finished garment or item affects its use and life.
Manufacturers make crochet thread in several weights. The rule of thumb is that the higher the thread's number, the finer it is. Threads in 100-weight are very fine and seldom used. The most commonly used thread sizes are 10, 20, and 30. Size 10 is called bedspread weight, and because of its strength, usually it is used for large pieces like tablecloths and bedspreads.
The fiber content of the chosen thread is another important decision. Crochet threads are available in two types: natural fibers and synthetic fibers. Although many of the natural fibers are plant materials, some of the most luxuriant fibers are wools from animal hair and fur. Some manufacturers blend fibers such as a soft combination of cotton and wool, which creates a thread with a distinctive supple texture.
Many of the most popular plant-based fibers are cotton and linen. One source of the most luxurious cotton thread is Egyptian cotton, which is renowned for being soft and luxurious. Most cotton is 100 percent mercerized, meaning that it is treated with an alkali to strengthen it and make it more lustrous and more receptive to dyes. Normally, crafters prefer mercerized cotton thread.
A few thread companies have introduced bamboo-based fiber. Parts of the bamboo plant are broken down into a viscose substance and forced through a filament-sized hole to create the fibers that are twisted into thread. Bamboo is a sustainable, renewable resource because it is one of the fastest growing plants on earth. Typically, bamboo thread is silky and often softer than cotton. A crocheter needs to be aware that bamboo thread is fragile while it is wet; therefore, it is not a good choice for garments or items that need frequent washing.
Most animal-based wools are specialty threads. Sometimes these threads are hard to find. Often crocheters special order these threads or order them through companies that sell specialty threads on the Internet. Generally, cotton/wool blends are readily available.
Manufacturers use the viscose method to make many of the synthetic threads, such as rayon and nylon. Often nylon is called viscose nylon. Typically, an item made with nylon thread keeps its shape, does not stretch easily, and does not shrink. Polyester is another synthetic fiber that manufacturers frequently use for crochet thread. Many companies blend polyester and cotton.
The preceding factors are not the only considerations when choosing the best thread for your project. A crafter needs to read the warnings and care instructions on the label of the crochet thread. Some rayon threads are colorfast, but others are not. Often cotton is mercerized, but some manufacturers sell non-treated thread. Usually, the label will alert the crocheter to any problems concerning the thread.
Metallic threads are fun threads that add real sparkle to a project. Other novelty threads include hemp thread that usually is used in jewelry making and raffia yarn that crafters use for crocheting baskets, bags, and mats. Crochet thread manufacturers are developing innovative threads continuously. One company has developed a deodorant thread, made from a gas-absorbing fiber. It neutralizes odors, including human body odors, and has an anti-bacteria effect.