The Knitter’s Book of Yarn

I’m on the first sleeve of my sweater, and naturally I find myself daydreaming about future sweaters and what kind of yarn I’ll knit them from. That got me thinking about The Knitter’s Book of Yarn and how much that book has improved my knitting. When most people talk about the books that changed their knitting, they usually mention technique books or books on sweater construction, but as a self-taught knitter, choosing yarn was what I struggled with the most, and finally finding detailed explanations of how different fibers behave and what they’re good for really revolutionized my knitting. More than a few of my early knitting projects were disasters because I made poor yarn choices. Even when I moved away from inexpensive craft store yarn, I still made poor choices.

I’ve always been drawn to alpaca yarns because they’re so soft, but I never thought about how its drape compared to wool’s and its lack of elasticity until this book spelled it out for me. I also never thought about how much warmer it was. The second sweater I ever knit was not only incredibly ugly but unbearably warm to wear because it was knit from Rowan Plaid, a super bulky alpaca and wool blend. The third sweater I knit was also an alpaca and wool blend, but by pure chance, I picked a good pattern to go with it. Thankfully, before I had another alpaca disaster, I found this book and discovered that there’s more to substituting yarn than just matching gauge.






8 responses to “The Knitter’s Book of Yarn”

  1. Constance

    Great post! I will definitely have to check out this book because I still need help when it comes to choosing the perfect yarn for projects. I have been eyeing the Alpaca at the LYS for awhile but, I haven’t been sure what kind of project to use it for. So, this book will probably help with that.

  2. I too will be checking out this book! Choosing the right yarn is more complicated than some people think. Thank you. 🙂

  3. I agree – this book really helped the way I approach selecting a yarn. I feel like I have much more power and control over my finished project now. I just wish I owned the book (I checked it out from the library, more than once…) because it would be great to have as a reference.

  4. I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with alpaca. It’s so nice in the ball but usually completely unsuited to whatever I’m trying to do.

    1. I almost exclusively make cowls from it these days. I get to enjoy the snuggly softness without worrying about what it will look like when it stretches and sags.

  5. This is something I learned from working at a yarn store with people who know more than I do, haha. It sounds like a great book! I’ll have to check it out.

  6. I too love this book! So much information beautifully presented. I also love it’s companion, The Knitter’s Book of Wool. It deals with wool specifically so gets into even more detail about wool yarn choices.

  7. This one was one of the first knitting books I bought. Now that I think of it, Clara’s ‘Knitter’s Book of Wool’ was what started my wool obsession – before I even started knitting! I was working in a library and got caught up flipping through it and had to check it out.

    She has a lovely way of writing is just so enjoyable while being educational, doesn’t she?

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