Register for Shawl Design Unraveled TODAY!

Choosing the Right Yarn for Your Knitting Project

Note: This page may contain affiliate links. If you choose to purchase after clicking a link, I may receive a commission at no extra cost to you.

Hey there fellow knitters! To celebrate the upcoming release of my new book Mosaic Knitting Workshop, a book designed to introduce the beautiful world of colorwork knitting to beginners,  to I’m thrilled to be bringing you my new “Back to the Basics” blog series where we cover everything a beginner knitter might want to know about knitting - feel free to reach out if you have a topic or a question you want me to cover!

Without further ado, let’s dive into the wonderful world of yarn! Choosing the right yarn for your project can be a bit overwhelming, but fear not! With a little know-how, you can select the perfect yarn for your knitting project. Here are some tips to get you started.

First things first, think about the type of project you are working on. Is it a cozy sweater, a delicate lace shawl, or a sturdy pair of socks? The type of project will determine the weight of yarn you need. Yarn weight refers to the thickness of the yarn and is categorized into a range of numbers from 0 (lace weight) to 7 (jumbo weight). Make sure to choose a yarn that matches the weight recommended in your pattern to ensure the best results.

If you’re confused about yarn weights as every country seems to use different terminology for yarn, here is a quick graphic from the Craft Yarn Council to help you out!

Graphic depicting different yarn weights and terminology

Next up, consider the fiber content. Different fibers have different qualities that can affect the final product. For example, wool yarns are great for projects that require warmth and elasticity, while cotton yarns are ideal for summer garments and items that need to be machine washable. Alpaca and mohair are popular fibers for adding a soft and fuzzy texture to projects, while silk adds a luxurious shine. 

Acrylic can be the most affordable option, and acrylic is no longer your “grandma’s scratchy yarn” that  you find on older granny square blankets - some acrylic is so soft, you would never believe it isn’t alpaca! I love using acrylic yarn for children’s projects, and for any project that I know will need to be washed a lot. 

Lion Brand is one of my favorite brands for affordable yarn lately. Every pattern you find in my Mosaic Knitting Workshop Book was created using their beautiful yarn. You can get $5 off any purchase on their website by clicking here.

If you find a pattern that you love, take a look at what yarn is being used, and what other knitters have used in the past for the pattern. You can do this on Ravelry by clicking on the “projects” tab for any pattern. This can help you find the perfect yarn for your project (and learn which yarn might not work so well!)

Here is an example using my Huanchaco shawl:

Project Page for Huanchaco Shawl on

Next, if you think you found the perfect yarn for your project, but can’t find it online or in a store near you, or it's out of your price range, did you know there is a database that can help you find a substitute yarn? can help you find a perfect yarn substitute based upon fiber content, gauge, brand name, yarn weight, and even price!

When it comes to color, the sky's the limit! Yarn comes in every color imaginable, so take your time and choose a shade that speaks to you. Keep in mind that certain fibers absorb dyes differently, so the same color may look different on wool versus cotton. Additionally, variegated and self-striping yarns can create interesting patterns and effects in your finished project.

I’ll be covering how to choose colors that work in next week’s blog post! Stay tuned!



1 comment

  • Sabi

    Thank you for starting this useful series of blog posts.
    Unfortunately, the Yarn Council classification you listed doesn’t mean anything in my country.
    I find the most reliable data for categorizing yarn is grams per meters/yards. That information is also very helpful for substituting yarn.

Leave a comment