All you really need is yarn and needles. But there are so many different options it can get a bit overwhelming. Lets just start simple and learn about different kinds of yarn.
Acrylic yarn is 100% man made fibers. This is a great beginner yarn because it’s the least expensive fiber. You can make pretty much anything out of acrylic yarn. It does feel a little synthetic but its hardly noticeable. You can make it softer by giving it a good soak in some fabric softener. Acrylic is also great because it can be washed normally. It can be washed on a gentle cycle and dried with other clothes. No risk of shrinking!
Wool. This natural fiber is probably the first kind of yarn you thought about. Wool yarn is great. It is so warm and durable. Since it comes from cute fuzzy sheep it’s also water resistant. One of the words associated with wool is “superwash”. Superwash means that it’s wool that has been treated so that way it is machine washable and won’t felt. That means that superwash is great for baby items and things that you’ll use more often like socks. Wool is great for sweaters and hats since it is so warm. But there is more care involved to keep it how you want it. Wool items should be handwashed in lukewarm water and laid out to dry.
Cotton. I love working with cotton. Cotton is grown around the world and is a great natural fiber to use. It is on the low side of cost. This fiber is very absorbent and light. It is used typically for summer tops and for bath or kitchen related items. It’s also great because you can wash and dry as normal. No special washing instructions are needed.
Alpaca. This is a more scarce fiber to find. Scarcity means cost is higher. But it is worth it! Alpaca is naturally water resistant and is very soft. It is a thinner yarn. It is definitely listed under luxurious. It is still possible to felt alpaca but it’ll take longer then wool. If felting isn’t your goal then take good care of your knit by hand washing it and laying it out to dry.
Bamboo. Bamboo yarn is made from the cellulose of the bamboo plant. It is considered to be really ecofriendly and it adds a lot to your project. It has great drape and feels really fancy. Bamboo is great for summer tops to keep it light and airy. It’s best to hand wash. Although it won’t felt you still want to treat it gently.
Silk. Silk is the very definition of a luxurious yarn. It is made from the protein fibers of insect larvae. It is very slippy and can be difficult to work with. Silk is very delicate and should be washed in the same manner.
Mohair. Mohair is made from goat fibers. It has what’s called a halo, which just means that it has lots of fuzz around it. Mohair is incredibly soft and adds great shine and an airy affect to your work. While you can toss your mohair into the gentle cycle of the washing machine to increase longevity and to protect from snagging on other things it’s best to hand wash and lay out to dry.
There are more specialty yarn out there like angora (rabbit), hemp, and if you look hard enough, dog!
These different fibers can come in blends. For example you can have a 50% acrylic and 50% cotton. I use blends a lot to get in some natural fibers but keep the cost down.
If you have any questions or anything to add comment below! I’d love to hear from you!