Choosing the Right Knit or Crochet Pattern for your Projects and your Yarn

Choosing the Right Knit or Crochet Pattern for your Projects and your Yarn

What is the best yarn for my project?
What is the best project for my yarn?

These are two of the most important questions for every crafter! No place like the beginning to begin. In this email, I will dive right in and talk about the different aspects when contemplating each of these questions.

What is the best project for my yarn?
Ok, so you fell in love with a yarn. Maybe it was the color, maybe it was the texture, or maybe it was the bargain (it was on SALE!) So you get it home, and have no idea what to do with it.

First you’ll need to determine the total yardage you have (depending on whether you have one or more balls of it) and the weight. 600 yards of lace is a lot different than 600 yards of super bulky…

Is it enough yarn to make a hat, scarf, shawl, sweater, afghan? If you don’t have a lot of yardage and are struggling to find a pattern, keep in mind that some stitch patterns help to stretch the yardage! For crochet, hairpin lace and broomstick lace are great for stretching your yardage. And in knitting, drop stitches (there are several varieties) are fantastic for getting the most bang for your yardage buck! What is the fiber? Is it animal based, plant based or synthetic? Is it machine washable or hand wash only? Will it felt?

The second decision will be the recipient of the project.  Are you planning to make something for yourself or will this be a gift? Depending on how you answer this, the fiber content and washing instructions can be very important. For example, you don’t want to give a new mother baby gifts that can’t go in the washing machine…

Third, what type of project do you want? An easy project to take on a trip? A mindless project to take to knitting night out with the girls? Or are you looking to challenge yourself with a complicated pattern to escape into your crafts for a little while? All are great choices, but disastrous if chosen inappropriately.

Just for the heck of it, let’s pretend you have only one hank of my Be So Fine Yarn. You paid $30 for it and got free shipping. It’s one hank of 650 yards of fingering weight yarn. What can you make with it?

One ball of yarn doesn’t sound like much, but when you consider the yardage, you’d be surprised how far it will go! When considering what you can do with 650 yards of fingering weight yarn, one more thing to consider is whether you will be knitting or crocheting. Statistically speaking, crochet uses 35% more yarn than knitting. So please take into account that a crochet project may require more yarn than a comparable knitting project.

650 yards of fingering weight bamboo yarn is ample for making any assortment of knit or crochet shawls on US 5 – 8 (3.75mm to 5mm) knitting needles or crochet hooks. Basic to advanced lace skills are all appropriate for this yarn. It is a smooth yarn, so appropriate for attempting new skills (because it unravels easily). In contrast to brushed mohair, which is a nightmare to unravel.

It is also ample yardage to make some lace top down garments. What? A one-skein garment? Yep. That’s right. For a 36″ bust anyway, but you would need to dip into a second hank for larger sizes.

Check out these patterns, each requiring only one hank of Be So Fine:

What is the best yarn for my project?

What do you want to make? Are you looking to make a gift for a new mom? A home dec item for yourself or a housewarming gift? Do you want to make yourself a hat, a sweater, a lace shawl? Are you looking to learn a new technique? Make a duplicate of something you’ve done before?

Ok, so you fell in love with a pattern. Maybe it was the stitch pattern, maybe it was the photography, or maybe it was the fact it was a free pattern from your favorite designer.

First, you’ll need to determine the total yardage required and the yarn weight. Substituting yarns in patterns is a nightmare if you don’t understand yardage and yarn weight. This is a combination of variables that are a package deal. Knowing the yardage doesn’t help you AT ALL in substituting if you don’t know what weight it is.

Are you familiar with the yarn that is used in the pattern? Is it in your budget? Does it come in a color you like? Do you like that fiber? If your answer is yes to these questions, GREAT! Order the yarn that is suggested for the pattern. It is way easier to achieve gauge and get the end results you desire if you use the same yarn used in the pattern.

Make a gauge swatch! Even if you are using the same yarn, and even the same color, as the pattern shows. Knitting and crochet are human hobbies and human beings are all one of a kind (thankfully!) This means our tension in our hands is one of a kind too. In fact, I even think my own tension varies depending on my mood and stress level!

Wash your gauge swatch! All fiber is affected by water. And most items we make are wearables that will eventually be laundered. It is imperative that we know how the yarn and stitch pattern and tension are affected by water. This step seems like a waste of time to many people, but I assure you, if you make a garment that fits the first time, and never have to unravel and redo it, you will be so pleased you took this small amount of time in the beginning to prevent such a disaster!

Make sure you understand the sizing of the pattern so you make the right size! Understanding your own measurements and the measurements of a pattern are very important. Understanding what ease is, and whether or not you want a lot or a little, is also crucial to a great fit.

If a pattern calls for multiple colors, make sure you pay attention to the yardage for each color. Often times, the yardage is different for a main color than the complement colors. For example, the Majestic Skies Crochet Shawl Pattern I designed for Be So Sporty Yarn uses 4 colors: Passionate Plum, Pure Gold, Parisian Bordeaux and Tropical Hot Coral. But it doesn’t use the same yardage for each one. Passionate Plum is the main color and it uses 2 balls of that one. And the complement colors use 1 ball each.

Shop Kristin Omdahl Yarns HERE

Shop Kristin Omdahl Crochet Patterns HERE

Shop Kristin Omdahl Knitting Patterns HERE

I would love to see your creations. Just as much fun as making these myself is the satisfaction I get from seeing my designs come to life and other crochet fans wearing them too. There are now 2 ways you can share what you have done!

  • Share yours by joining  Create. Share. Inspire on Facebook where you can interact with me as well as many other members who have a love of knitting and crochet just like you! It is a wonderful and safe place to share your photos of finished projects in my knitting or crochet patterns or yarns, and to see what others are making, too.
  • I have recently added a wonderful new interactive section to the website which I invite you to take part in, it has been a smashing success and such fun so far. It is the new “Share a Project” section. You, my creators, can upload images and descriptions of your creations to share with the ever growing community! To upload simply click here. 

Additionally, I host a livestreaming podcast weekday on my YouTube Channel called Create Share Inspire Podcast. You can join the audience and even ask me questions LIVE! I often do a show and tell, or quick demo and I always interact with the live audience. It is a lot of fun!

You can browse through almost 800 previously recorded episodes HERECreate Share Inspire Podcast Playlist . Make sure to subscribe to my YouTube Channel to get reminders when the next episode airs LIVE.

I look forward to seeing what you create!


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