How do I Choose the Best Knitting Wool?

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  • Written By: Marjorie McAtee
  • Edited By: W. Everett
  • Last Modified Date: 05 November 2019
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Knitting wool is available in a number of types suited to different knitting projects. Factors to consider when choosing knitting wool include the gauge, color, and texture of the yarn. The fiber content of the yarn can also be very important. All fibers may not be suitable to the needs of all knitting projects. Many knitters also believe that quality is an important consideration when choosing knitting wool.

Gauge, or tension, is a knitting term that typically refers to the number of stitches that should appear in a pattern. Gauge is generally measured by the number of stitches that you can fit into a four-inch (10-centimeter) square of knitting, based on the size and thickness of the yarn. Knitting patterns often work based on gauge. The gauge on a pattern should tell you how many stitches you need to make, and how small they should be, in order for the pattern to be a success. If you choose a yarn of the wrong gauge to work your pattern, the finished product may be distorted.

You might want to consider the color and texture of any knitting wool you choose. Smooth yarns are generally easiest for beginners to work. Variegated yarns may not work well with some patterns, because they can tend to hide the stitching. Novelty yarns are often the most difficult yarns for knitters to work with, as they can present challenges related to their odd texture and fiber content.


The fiber content of your yarn can be very important to the success of your pattern. When choosing knitting wool, you might want to consider choosing a yarn made of fibers that meet the needs of your pattern. Some fibers, such as cotton, may not be suitable for stretch patterns. Fibers that generally lack elasticity are often best suited for afghans and garments that hang straight. Elasticized fibers are typically used to make knitting wool appropriate to fitted garment patterns.

Higher quality wools are generally considered less likely to pill. If you are looking for an inelastic fiber, a higher quality wool is less likely to stretch. If you are choosing elasticized wool, then a higher quality yarn will retain its elasticity for longer. Higher quality wools are also more likely to remain colorfast.


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