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Help me stop wasting money on rubbish yarn!

(7 Posts)
Tweetinat Thu 20-Sep-12 13:07:08

I'm just picked up a crochet needle for the first time since school and have a project list as long as I am tall and can't wait to get cracking. In my haste I've gone out and spent a fortune on yarns which, when I get them home, just are not suitable for the project I want to work on! Not only that, but even when I think I know what I'm buying (ie DK) when I start to use it, it's completely different to another DK that I have and so not compatible in the same project sad For example I got I got some yarn free with a magazine that's 100% acrylic and made a lovely teddy bear in a amigurumi spiral, so I'm using leftovers for another project. Went out and bought some more (different brand but still DK) and it's much more 'gappy' between sitches and you can see the filling - ifswim? Doesn't seem to stitch so 'dense' even though I'm using same hook.

Also, some acrylic yarns are really 'fluffy' - ie it has lots of tiny little strands that come off and make it really hard to see your stiches and yet other acrylic is lovely with no horrible strands.

Are there some brands that I should be really avoiding??

Can anyone recommend a good yarn for this pattern: http://www.etsy.com/listing/97680391/crochet-pattern-interchangeable-beanie?ref=usr_faveitems

What I've bought is not giving a dense enough stitch. The pattern calls for a Worsted Yarn which I think is Aran in UK terms? Help! I have no more money to make mistakes!!

FaintingGoat Thu 20-Sep-12 21:20:10

Link to your pattern

I'm afraid there's no straightforward answer. I have done it loads of times, planned a project with a specific yarn only to find it doesn't work for whatever reason, and had to undo my work.

A DK in one brand will quite often be thinner than another, and anything marked "baby" will often be thinner even if it says DK. To add insult to injury, you may also find that some colours are thicker than others, even within one brand. I'm currently working with some yarn where the cream is much thicker than the red, it's very frustrating.

In general silk, cotton and bamboo yarns are much smoother and less "hairy" than wool yarns, but will also be less stretchy, especially cotton. Crochet isn't as stretchy as knitting anyway, so a hat crocheted from a cotton yarn might not have enough stretch to be wearable.

If I want to see how a project works with a certain yarn, I go onto Ravelry and see if anyone has made that item with the yarn I'm considering, and see if they have put any notes about it. Also knit / crochet test swatches to save you wasting lots of time if it's not going to be suitable.

Will the shops let you return the yarn you have bought? If there are any balls you have not started they should accept them back so you could exchange them for something more suitable. Explain to them that the stitches are more open than you like and see if they can recommend something. They should know their stock, it's their job smile

Tweetinat Mon 24-Sep-12 22:13:53

Fainting, thank you so much for your reply. I can't get on here much so apologies for the delay! I'm very glad that I'm not going mad and that this is a common problem. I wasn't sure if it was my crochet being different tensions that was causing the problem with density!

Luckily one shop agreed to exchange the yarn I bought and the replacement is MUCH better and I'm happily starting my projects. Unfortunately I've already tried the yarn from the other shop so I don't expect they'll exchange but I'll give it a go. I've already thought of another project I can use it for if they won't so all is not lost smile

I have to say that they were very friendly but not very knowledgeable when it came to suitable yarns for crochet - one lady just said 'the thinner the better for crochet' which hardly works for a nice wooley scarf (!) and the other lady admitted she had no clue, but they helped where they could at least.

Went to John Lewis today and spent many a moment gazing longingly at some yarn which were about £8 for 50g. Can't imagine I'll spring to that just yet but I'm hoping my skills improve to a point where I trust myself. I'm looking forward to helping the Little Hugs and Refuge Blanket projects soon.

Thanks again smile

Daisybell1 Tue 25-Sep-12 02:14:26

If you find yourself with thin yarn, you may have to go down a hook size (not a problem for toys but you may need to adjust a pattern for a hat). Alternately if it is very thin, you could use 2 strands?

What size hooks are you using? I use about a 5mm for a ripple pattern scarf as I like a soft open texture, and for my animal hats. I use a 3mm for toys made in sirdar snuggly but I use a 3.5 for toys made in cotton yarn. You may have to experiment a little to get the best size for you. Charity shops are worth a rummage as they often have hooks in amongst their knitting needles - you can build up a collection of sizes this way without spending a fortune.

I do like crocheting with King Cole Mirage which I think is like the sheddy yarn you mentioned, however I do it on a large hook so I can feel the fluffyness in the stitches, if that makes sense?

MrsHoarder Sun 30-Sep-12 15:39:08

yy to [[http://www.ravelry.com/ ravelty). If you have a smartphone you can even stand with the details of your (queued) pattern up on it whilst you're there.

MrsHoarder Sun 30-Sep-12 15:39:33

Hamfisted on the link: ravelry

FaintingGoat Wed 03-Oct-12 12:53:06

Tweet I just saw your reply! I'm glad you found some better yarn, and the other stuff will be useful for something or other smile

I think some of the older generation think crochet is just for doilies / doileys (no idea how you spell that tbh) in which case thinner would be better, but like you say, no good for warmth and snuggliness. It would also take about a million years to make a scarf from crochet cotton!

I love going into JL to admire all the lovely yarn - and then go home empty handed. I couldn't justify buying any more anyway, given the size of my stash.

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