What is a good quality yarn?
This sort of feels like a trick question sometimes.
I will NOT give you a list of brand names, or suggest you limit yourselves to one specific fiber type. There is a huge vast world of yarn out there now. So much more than when I was beginning to stitch at the age of 6, when your basic options were sheep wool, mohair, cotton, silk and acrylic (orlon, nylon, polymide and other such names fall under that category). And there are so many more than when I first opened Perfectly Knotty in 2013!
Instead, let’s start by talking about the word quality.
According to dictionary.com quality is an essential or distinctive characteristic, property or attribute. A distinguishing aspect. Character, superiority or grade of excellence.
Now, how do we apply that to yarn?
First, as I mentioned in the article “What kind of yarn to use for crochet?” we need to start with the end in mind.
Asking a craft store acrylic yarn to be a dreamy soft and warm sweater that you will still love in 20 years is not utilizing it’s intrinsic qualities. But asking that yarn to be a door mat or rug, or a basket to sit on the floor and be fun, ya, that’s right up that yarn’s alley!
Conversely, asking that light and airy alpaca yarn to be a rug is just not a good use of that yarn’s specific qualities. It is suited for that luscious heirloom sweater, or shawl, or throw.
Other aspects to consider beyond the specific fiber itself, would be the construction of the yarn. Is it tightly twisted, a loose twist? Is it plied with other strands? Maybe it’s i-cord? Mercerized? Is it smooth, or textural, or fuzzy? Each of these characteristics is going to allow different stitch techniques to be at their best.
The grade of the raw fiber plays a huge role in the final quality of a yarn. Animal fibers have multiple levels that range from very rough and suitable for utilitarian items, to cloud like puffs of soft that are elegant and airy. But keep in mind that quality is not exactly a “what’s better than another” kind of situation. Quality is about the yarn’s suitability for the job you are asking it to do.
I know all of these things can feel like a lot, and overwhelming, but the more you ask questions at your local yarn shop, and try a stitch technique multiple times with different yarns, the more your brain will start to catalog these concepts, without your even realizing it!
These are the kinds of questions that your local yarn shop will be able to help you understand. If you are looking for a yarn for a baby sweater, make sure that you bring the pattern with you if you already have it! That helps us so much to be able to see what the designer had in mind for the drape and structure and texture. And since there are close to 1 million patterns available through Ravelry alone, the likelihood that we are familiar with your pattern off hand is very unlikely.
There is no one answer to this question of “What is a good quality yarn?”. A good quality yarn is one that has a price, color, and characteristics that you need or desire to create your project with an outcome that you are excited about!
Hope that helps!
Have more questions? Head over to the contact page and send me a message! I love to hear from you and read and respond to every message you send.
Lots of love,