If you enjoy crochet you are probably more used to crocheting with wool or yarn to create up your latest project. Double knit (DK), 4ply, chunky and sock weights in both wool or cotton are the more commonly used materials. However, there are many different types of materials you could be using if you feel like you want to experiment. If you can wrap the material around your hook then you can probably crochet with it.
Types of Yarn
Yarn can be made from many different types of natural and synthetic fibres all of which have their own unique attributes to consider when choosing the appropriate yarn for your project.
This plant fibre has a smooth texture which makes it perfect for crocheting. This also gives it a good stitch definition and is an ideal yarn to learn how to crochet with. It’s easy to wash, robust and lightweight, plus it doesn’t shed fibres easily making it perfect for all sorts of household projects and bags.
The fibres are extracted from the cocoons of silkworms which makes pure silk yarn expensive to buy when it is unblended. It is shiny and sleek in appearance and has a luxurious texture, which when blended with other fibres makes it more affordable and perfect for baby clothing and special occasion wears.
Technically this is a broad term used to describe the textile fibres produced not only from sheep but other animal hair such as mohair and cashmere from goats, angora from rabbits and alpaca.
The wool from sheep varies depending on where they live, on hills or lower land and this can also have a bearing on the natural colour too. It is often blended with other fibres as pure wool can be rough but it softens with wear. Ideal for blankets, hats, and gloves, but be careful as it will shrink in the wash.
This relative of a Llama provides a warm natural fibre that feels luxurious. Perfect for winter items but the stitch definition is not best making it a hard yarn to crochet with.
Spun from the hair of a goat this ultra luxurious soft yarn is expensive to produce. Often blended with other fibres this allows it to lend its softness to more affordable yarns. Perfect for scarves, cowls and jumpers. Often needs to be dry cleaned.
Often used in a blend because of its strength and lightweight fibre. It also improves the washability of the fibres it is blended with, thus preventing felting and shrinkage.
Cheap to manufacture acrylic fibre is often available in many bright shades that are not easily created with natural fibres. It is also a very robust fibre making it perfect for soft toys and novelty items.
Natural and synthetic blends prevent the natural fibres shedding and reduce pilling. It can also prevent animal fibres shrinking in the wash making these sorts of blends perfect for socks and gloves.
The quality of yarns made up of natural fibres that are blended together varies depending on the types of fibres used.
Lurex and other metallic yarns are great for trims and decorations. They can also be blended with other yarns making an interesting mix that is fun to experiment with.
Other types of materials you can crochet
Available in so many weights and colours string is an ideal material for crocheting practical household items such as bowls, boxes or even pet beds. You can easily experiment with a 5mm hook and create a stiff fabric. You could even coat them in a diluted PVA glue to make them waterproof.
Often used for crocheting jewellery you can thread beads onto the wire beforehand and place them into your creation as you go making chokers, necklaces or bracelets. You could even use wire and a yarn together to make it a metallic sculpture.
Cut up your fabric into strips from old clothing and other textiles and make doormats and rugs is a brilliant way to recycle them. Tie the strips together and wind them into a ball. Use a hook that suits the thickness of your chosen fabric strips.
Similar to fabric strips you can use ribbon with a suitable hook to make fabric jewellery or bags.
Recycle plastic bags by cutting them into strips and knot them together to make a yarn. You can use a large 10mm crochet hook and make some waterproof items such as bath mats, toiletry bags or garden seat covers.
Next time you think about picking up your hook, think about what different types of materials you might like to try using and make something different to your usual project.
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