As you browse through your local craft store or through the Knitting Naturally Store for knitting wool, you will be faced with a bewildering array of choices.
Each type of yarn has it's benefits and drawbacks and the type of yarn you choose will vary depending on what you intend to use it for.
As you have no doubt gathered as you wandered through this site, I prefer to work with natural fibres for hand knitting, as the resulting garment is not only better looking and more hard wearing but I find natural fibres eaiser to work with.
Not convinced? Maybe checking out the properties of real wool will help you decide!
The main types of wool you will find include:
Of course there are also a number of different yarns available that are a mix of both natural and man-made fibres!
For example, Panda Heath is 50% Wool and 50% Acrylic. I have used this yarn to make a scarf for my new sister in law, it is nice to work with and as it has nearly double the meterage per 50 gram ball of most 100% wools it is very economical.
I personally haven't used Panda's Purla yet, but this yarn feels very nice to the touch. Probably the 15% Alpaca included in this Acrylic/Polyester mix!
In Australia, commercially made knitting yarn is classified into plys, which basically tell you the relative thickness of the yarn. If you would like to know more about each of the plys and what they are generally used for, visit my yarn comparison chart page.
One of the reasons many people are reluctant to use natural fibres for their knitting is the perceived difficulty in washing their garments.
Would you like to know the secret of safely washing wool? It is not as hard as you might think!
What about recycling your wool? Would you like to be able to reuse the wool from a garment that is too small, too big or out of style?
And then there is handspun yarn.
Because of it's very nature handspun yarn does not come in a standard size or ply like commercial yarn does, and you need to do a bit of playing around to work out the equivalent ply size.