Yarn Guide


We will explain them, one by one: 

PLY:  Is another word for strand.  The number of strands that are twisted together to form the
yarn is the number of plys.  If you untwist a section of yarn you will be able to count the plys.
Wool-Ease® is a 4-ply, that is 4 strands knitting worsted weight yarn. (Worsted weight is a
measure of thickness that originally applied only to worsted spun wool.  It has come to be used to
describe any fiber of that traditional thickness.) The number of plys does not tell you, however,
the weight of the yarn.  Jiffy, while a thicker yarn, has just 2 plys.

GAUGE:  Refers to the number of stitches to an inch—horizontally—and the number of rows to
an inch—vertically—that you need to get when knitting or crocheting.  If you don't get the proper
gauge, the garment will not come out the right size.  Gauge is VERY important to the fit of a
garment.  We'll talk more about gauge further along.

INTERCHANGEABILITY:  Any yarn that has the same gauge as any other yarn can be
substituted—or interchanged—for that yarn.

YARDAGE:    The amount of yarn in the put up.  This is important to know if you are going to
use an interchangeable yarn rather than the one called for in your pattem.  The put up might be
different, weighing either more or less, so checking the yardage allows you to buy the right
amount of yarn—not more than you need, or worse, not enough to finish the project.

DYE LOT:  Yarn is dyed in batches called dye lots.  All of the yarn in one batch will be the exact
same color and will be labeled with the same lot number on the label.  However, yarn from a
different batch of the same color may vary slightly in color, just as a recipe may taste slightly
different each time, even though made with the same ingredients.  The colors of two different dye
lots may look the same under certain lights and VERY different under other lights or in daylight. 
That is why we strongly advise: “Please purchase a sufficient quantity of one dye lot to assure
uniformity of color.”

WEIGHT:  This refers to how thick the yarn is.  There are a number of standard thicknesses for
yarn.  These include:

* FINGERING YARN: A loosely spun, very lightweight yarn used for babywear, socks,and other delicate items.
* SPORT YARN: A medium weight yarn used for babywear, sweaters, and lightweight afghans.
* WORSTED WEIGHT YARN: The most popular weight for knitting and crocheting. An ideal weight for afghans.
* CHUNKY YARN: Heavier than worsted weight, chunky yarn works up quickly and easily for such things as hats, scarves, and afghans.
* BULKY YARN: A very heavy yarn, about twice as thick as worsted weight.

YARN EQUIVALENTS:  A method of approximating yarn equivalents:   

Two strands fingering equal one strand sport.
Two strands sport equal one strand worsted.
Two strands worsted equal one strand bulky.

6.    How do I know which is the right yarn for my project? 

Each one of our yarns has its own personality—a combination of fiber, texture, and color that allows you to select a yarn that will suit your particular need.  Here are a few of the qualities of LION BRAND'S exclusive yarns, to help you decide what is right for your project.

7.    What are acrylic yarns?
Acrylic yarns are versatile.  They come in many different weights and can be dyed just about any
color.  Acrylic fibers are soft, will not fade or run, and can be washed and dried. Two special acrylic fibers by Monsanto are used in several of our yarns.  Wintuk* and Sayelle*, the most widely used, allow individual fibers to literally Bounce-Back ™ to their original size and shape in the laundering process.  What's more, their Smart Yarn® technology provides superior bulk and resilience to maintain stitch definition and adjust for uneven stitch tension.  For knitters and crocheters, this ensures that their handmade creations will retain their just-made qualities for years.  The following are some 100% acrylic yarns.

JAMIE "America's Favorite Baby Yarn" is a 3-ply sport weight 100% Wintuk* yarn perfect for
lightweight caps, sweaters, and afghans.  It is available in pastel colors and multi-colored prints.

JAMIIE 4 PLY is a NO DYE LOT yarn.  This yarn is a specially blended 100% acrylic made of producer dyed fiber (PDF) which means that is dyed in very large quantities as the fibers are extruded, before it is spun into yarn.  As a result, the color remains consistent and you can be confident of matching yarn you purchased months ago if you should run out of color.

KEEPSAKE SAYELLE* is a 100% Monsanto acrylic yarn that is popular because of its wonderful memory—retaining its shape for decades—and its economy pricing.

8.    What are novelty and specialty yarns?

Novelty yarns have the same uses as basic yarns, but they are enriched in a variety of ways.

HOMESPUN is a unique new yarn which is spun with a wrap that adds shape and texture.  It is 98% acrylic and 2% polyester.  This soft, fluffy yarn was designed with home decorating projects in mind.  We offer it in colors to match the most popular furniture and fabric styles and colors.

JAMIE POMPADOUR is an 85% Sayelle* baby yarn that is embellished with a 15% shiny rayon thread wound around the outside.  It adds a subtle sheen to the finished project.

*Monsanto Certification

JIFFY is a fluffy, mohair-look acrylic yarn in a chunky weight that works up quickly.  Jiffy is an ideal beginner's yarn, especially if you select a light color that will help you see your stitches.

CHENILLE SENSATIONS is a luxuriously soft yarn with a velvet-like appearance.  It is perfect for fashion crocheting as well as crafts, dolls, and stuffed animals.

9.    What are natural fibers and blends?

Lion Brand offers both 100% natural fiber yarns and blends of natural fibers with acrylic to create
affordably priced yarns that possess the most desirable features.

WOOL-EASE combines the warmth, durability and feel of wool with the toss-it-in-the-machine
ease of acrylic.  It has an especially soft feel and comes in a wide color selection including solids,
heathers, tweeds, prints, multi-colors, twists, frosts, and sprinkles. (See questions 10 through 12.)

AL•PA•KA is a luxurious 2-ply knitting worsted weight blend of acrylic, wool, and alpaca in natural colors.

IMAGINE is spun from mohair, to achieve strength, exceptional softness, and luster.  The mohair is blended with 80% acrylic, to give rich looking results at a reasonable cost.

KITCHEN COTTON is 100% pure cotton, knitting worsted weight, absorbent, and durable.  The colors are designed to match your kitchen, dining room, and bathroom.

FISHERMEN'S WOOL is a 100% pure virgin wool containing natural oils.  It is a 4-ply yarn in a knitting worsted weight which is ideal for the warmest ski and fishermen sweaters, hats, scarves, and afghans.

10.    What are sprinkles?

Tiny rayon nubs of yarn are randomly spun into the plys in a different color from the main yarn. The finished yarn has a random sprinkling of yarn that looks like it was painted with dots.

11.    What are frosts?

Fine, shiny threads are spun around the plys so that it glimmers like frost.

12.     What are heathers?

Fibers of similar or complementary colors, but not exactly the same color are spun together into one yarn.  The finished yarn has a soft, rich look and wonderful depth of color.

13.     What are tweeds?

Plys of different colors are twisted together into one yarn.  The combination of the different colors creates a new color which is unique.

14.    What are ombre yarns?

Ombres are a single yarn dyed with several different colors.  The length of each color on the yarn is about the same, for example, 12" or so.  There is a slight variance of the length of 'each color on the yarn so the repetition of the colors forms a varying pattern on the finished item.

15.    What are printed yarns?

Printed yarns have small areas of color printed along the yarn.  Usually the printed colors are added in short amounts so that when the yarn is worked up they appear as flecks of color on the background color rather than as a change in the color of the yarn itself.

16.    How do I know which weight yarn to use for the project I want to make?

If you have a set of instructions or a pattern, it will tell you what weight yarn to use.  This is where interchangeability comes in.  You can use any yarn that gives you the same gauge that the pattern calls for.  Check the yardage to be sure you have enough yarn to complete your project. 

If you want to be proud of the projects that you spent so much time on, you will need the right gauge.  Before you start the project, make a small square called a gauge swatch.  It will save you a lot of time. Suppose you work a whole sweater and it comes out way too big or way too small.  Ripping out and reworking the whole project takes much, much longer than making a little swatch.

TO MAKE A GAUGE SWATCH:  With the suggested size needles, cast on, using the given gauge, enough stitches to make a square 3" x 3".   If the gauge is: 5 sts = 1", 6 rows = 1" using size 8 needles, cast on 15 stitches (5 stitches for each of the 3 inches).  Work in the given pattern 18 rows (6 rows for each of the 3 inches).  If the piece measures 3" x 3", start your sweater!

If it is bigger, rip it out and work it again with smaller needles; go down one needle size at a time until the size is perfect.  If the swatch is too small, rework it with bigger needles in the same way.  If you are crocheting, follow the same process with crochet hooks.

Working up a gauge should be done for afghans as well.  The look you want to duplicate, whether it is an afghan or a sweater, depends on the gauge.  A piece that has too tight a gauge will feel "boardy" to the touch—that means just what it sounds like—stiff as a board!  If the gauge is too loose, the piece will not have the proper shape and will look droopy and full of holes.

17.     How do I know which size needle or hook to use?

The instructions will give a SUGGESTED size; start with that and increase or decrease size until you get the correct gauge.

18.     What is the easiest stitch to knit?

The knit stitch.  Knitting every row is called “garter” stitch.  The only other stitch in knitting is the purl stitch.  Knitting one row and purling the next alternately is called "stockinette" stitch.

19.     What is the easiest crochet stitch?

The easiest stitch to crochet is the chain (just what it looks like) and, after that, the single crochet.  Master these and all of the other stitches are a snap.  They are just a matter of more wraps of the yarn around the hook.

20.  What are grams and how can I convert them to ounces?

Grams are a metric measure; 28.35g = 1 oz.

1 oz = 28.35 g
1.4oz = 39.69 g
1.5oz = 42.53 g
1.75oz = 49.61 g
2 oz = 56.7 g
2.5 oz = 70.88 g
3 oz = 85.05 g
3.5oz = 99.23 g
5 oz = 141.75 g
6 oz = 170.1 g
7 oz = 198.45 g
8 oz = 226.8 g
8.75 oz = 248.06 g
10 oz = 283.5 g

21.    Why are knitting and crocheting instructions Written in code?

Actually that "code" is a set of abbreviations.  They are used to cut down on the length of the
instructions and they quickly become second nature.  Here's a list of the most common:

approx = approximately
beg = begin(ning)
CC = contrasting color
ch = chain(s)
cm = centimeter(s)
cn = cable needle
cont = continu(e)(ing)
dc = double crochet
dec = decrease
dpn = double point needles
dtr = double treble
foll = follow(s)(ing)
g = gram
grp(s) = group(s)
hdc = half double crochet
inc = increase
k = knit
lp(s) = loop(s)
MC = main color
oz = ounce
p = purl
pat(s) = pattern(s)
psso = pass slipped stich over
rem = remaining
rep = repeat
rnd(s) = round(s)
sc = single crochet
sl = slip
sl st = slip stitch
sp(s) = space(s)
st = stitch
st st = stockinette stitch
tbl = through back loops
tr = treble or triple crochet
wyib = with yarn in back
yo = yarn over (hook or needle)
* = Repeat directions following * as many times as indicated
[ ] = Repeat directions inside brackets as many times as indicated

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