Pop culture patterns and more

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Technical Thursday: A look at yarns (And some BIG news)

Hello Hookers!

Again, it's been a crazy busy week by the creekside. The oil pan in our vehicle rusted through, my camera arrived, the weather's warmed up to a bearable level, my husband's work schedule changed significantly, my designers have started putting out pattern tests again, I got a bike, my old computer died and took all my stock with it(I might of mentioned that last week lol) and probably the most important thing- WE CHANGED OUR NAME!

For now, I'll keep this blog up and running with my technical thursday stuff, but I'm going to slowly start reformatting and we'll eventually be moving to a blog under our new name, which is Mutant Daisy Creations.
Like us on Facebook HERE

We changed our name for a couple of reasons including the fact that there is another creekside crochet out there, recently started, with a name in front of it. We don't want any confusion between the two because the other one seems to be run by a foreigner who sells things that are not made to my standards and frankly, I don't want any type of association with them. Also, I'm adding amateur photography and other crafts to our repertoire.

We went with the name Mutant Daisy Creations because it's more all-encompassing, quirky, and fun, and there is NOT another crocheter/crafter with the name ;) Plus, there's this:

I had purchased a gerbera daisy at the grocery store the other day to play with my camera. It seemed like providence that when I moved aside the biggest, most dominant bloom, I found this adorable bloom underneath. 

So now, we're going to talk about yarn ;)

Yarn- The thin strands of fiber twisted together to form a workable material. Yarn can be made of just about anything, more on that below


  • Wool - Outside the US, wool is what they call yarn, regardless of composition. In the US, wool usually refers to a yarn made of wool. 100% wool will felt when machine washed, or even washed roughly by hand. If you want a non-feltable wool yarn to work with, look for the word superwash on the label, this usually(NOT ALWAYS) means that it will not felt. 

  • Acrylic - This is a very popular type of yarn, and what you can find on shelves all over the USA. Red Heart Super Saver and most Red Heart basic brands are 100% acrylic, but as always, check the label. This petroleum based fiber holds colors very nicely and therefore has the largest color selections. Also, I've never heard of a single person having an allergic reaction to acrylic yarn- the dyes, yes, but the yarn itself, no. 
  • Reflective- This is a new and quite popular type of yarn. Red Heart Reflective is the main one I've had access to, but there are several other companies that have jumped on the reflective bandwagon. This is usually an acrylic based yarn that has a single strand of a very light reflective fiber in it. It looks like normal yarn(and the RH is suprisingly warm, I used it for an earwarmer and have no complaints) in regular light, but add a flash to your camera and that strand lights up like fiberoptics. It's pretty neat.
  • Frill Yarn- aka Sashay, Starbella, Ruffle- This is a super bulky type of yarn that looks like a ribbon while on the skein, but you fluff it and it becomes a light and airy lace type that makes some excellent additions to hems or the pretty ruffle scarfs that are everywhere these days. The regular size is about 3-4 inches when fluffed, and there's a new mini frill yarn that a couple of companies have recently started manufacturing that only goes to about 2 inches when fluffed. 
  • Cotton yarn- this yarn is made of 100% cotton fibers. It's excellent for kitchen hotpads(use a small hook and stitch, or you'll be burned every time) because it has a higher heat threshold than acrylic and won't melt. It will burn if exposed to flame, but it doesn't melt like acrylic can if you're taking a hot pan out of the oven. 
  • Animal Fibers - there are a thousand different variations of yarn out there, blends, etc. There's angora yarn, alpaca yarn, and more, and any blend of these can be spun together and make a workable yarn. Natural fibers from animals can be hard if not impossible to dye, so these are the types of yarns that are all shades of brown, white and golden colors found on the animals. Some will felt, some will not. There's way to many to list here, so all I can say is do your research.
  •  Manufactured fibers - the most used types of man made fibers are nylon and polyester, and there's also some elastic blends that are used for certain types of projects. 
  • Plarn - sound like some sort of ooze, doesn't it? It's not. It's actually plastic yarn shortened to plarn. You can make it by very carefully and uniformly cutting up your old grocery store bags into long strips and using it like a bulky or super bulky yarn. It's extremely water repellent and makes great mats or beach bags, I've even heard of a small movement where they use plarn to crochet sleeping mats for homeless people. 
  • Tarn - Same deal as plarn, except it's made with old t-shirts cut up and allowed to curl into a very soft and thick yarn as you make. There are a variety of tutorials out there but I haven't the time or the willingness to do that myself right now. 


There are two types of sizing. There's regular yarn, which, the larger the number, the bigger the yarn, it's done by weight and wraps per inch. To test an unlabeled yarn size, you get a ruler and wrap yarn around it without pulling it too taunt or leaving it too loose. I'll do another post eventually on testing yarn composition and determining size. Today we're speaking in general. 
Then there is the thread, where the the larger the number, the smaller the yarn. Thread is usually not referred to as yarn, but tecnically, it is. 

Regular Yarn sizing:

There is a little icon on almost all yarn sold in the US. It looks like this:

This picture is from the skein of RH reflective shown above ;) 

  • 0 - Lace 
  • 1 - Super Fine 
  • 2 - Fine
  • 3 - Light
  • 4 - Medium
  • 5 - Bulky
  • 6 - Super Bulky

These yarns also have other names, like fingering, sport, baby, worsted, DK, Aran, Chunky, Roving to name a few. However, the general names are NOT HELD TO A STANDARD. Therefore, someone could say they need a worsted yarn and mean either a 3 or a 4. To me, baby yarn and sport weight are the same, but according to others, baby yarn is a size 2, and sport is a size 3. So it's better to use the names as listed on the icon, especially if you're a pattern designer.

Thread sizing:

Thread sizing is a bit easier, and there's no handy icon. The label will simply say "Size 10" and whatever type of thread it is- it commonly appears in nylon, polyester, mercerized(shiny) cotton and regular cotton. Size 3(I've never seen a size 1, that doesn't mean it doesn't exist, somewhere, but in the USA it starts with 3 as far as I know) is the largest. Size 10 is the most common size. Size 20 is even thinner, and size 30 basically looks like sewing thread to me. I usually like to stick with size 3 for items like purses or crocheting with soda tabs, and size 10 for my thread doilies. Of course, I'll make a doily in medium yarn as well, because that's what my grandma did after she couldn't see the thread anymore ;) In fact, I'll share a throw back Thursday picture right here 
Just look at that huge and gorgeous doily!  This was taken, oh, about 25 years ago. (And boy, my son really does look like me lol) Please forgive me the perm. I had to listen to my mama too, just like everyone else. 


  • Solids - The yarn is all one color throughout
  • Varigated - The yarn is several colors, dyed in short sections that don't always line up well.
  • Self-striping - The yarn is dyed in a few colors, in large increments that create a gentle flow of colors
  • Art yarn - The yarn in this category usually is handmade or has an odd color pattern that doesn't fit into other categories. Some of LB's Homespun has this weird effect, it's a combination of a solid and a self striping that goes into darker shades of the same color and back again. 
An important note on DYE LOTS. Some yarns have DYE LOTS. That means that all the yarn with the same lot was dyed in the same batch of dye and will match each other exactly. Always buy enough of the same dye lot to complete a project or be prepared because the blue on dye lot 123 will not match the dye lot on 184, even if they look the same. Some yarns don't need dye lots because the manufacturers have perfected the recipe of dye they use to color. Red Heart Super Saver no longer has dye lots, but if you find some antique yarn, you'll see that they used to as well. 

So anyways, there's some more information on yarns for you to peruse. Enjoy and be Happy, Hookers! 

No comments:

Post a Comment