All about knitting and crochet with wool - what technique is suitable for what?

Knitting & Crafing: All about knitting and crochet with wool

Wool is fibre or yarn made from animal such as sheep, goat and alpaca. There are many varieties of wool such as cashmere, alpaca, mohair and merino. To understand more about the different types of wool, its origins and production process you can check out our website.

Yarn composition

There are thousands of brands of wool yarn manufactured globally. Yarn made from wool is made with 100% wool or blended with other fibres such as cotton, Lurex and bamboo.

Blending the yarn with other fibres makes the yarn affordable, while having some of the high quality of the wool feel and shiny soft. Blended yarn will however change the composition, affecting the care and use of the final product.

Most yarns will indicate the yarn composition on the label.

Yarn compositions

Wool Categories

Wool yarn is classified into categories as any type of yarn. As a crafter, you will have to choose the yarn category based on the project you want to make and its final use.

If you are following a pattern, most designers will recommend the type, brand, hook or knitting needle size for your project. In cases where this information is not available or you are working on your own design.

Below you can find the categories of yarn based on the weight as guided by the Yarn Council, an organization have come up with a series of symbols and guidelines to bring uniformity to the yarn industry.

The recommended hook and knitting needle size is a guide only; this can change to suit the final finish of your project. For example for a lighter and airy feel such as a summer shawl, one can use a fingering yarn with a 5mm hook.

Yarn Category Table

Working with Wool

Wool is perfect for any fibre project such as knitting, crocheting or felting. It is however not as easy to work where one requires to see much detail with due to its fuzzy finish.

It is also not recommended for beginner crafters because it is expensive to be used as practice yarn and also a challenge to use as one cannot clearly see the stitches.

Should you really want to use wool as a beginner, it is recommended to start with a blend.

Knitting or crochet - which technique is suitable for what?

This may seem banal to some now – who already has knitting and crochet experience, certainly already has his own experiences and preferences on this subject.

But since we want to inspire and support knitting and crocheting beginners, we have collected some personal experiences here. What you need to know about the pros and cons of each method, when it’s best to do what, and much more is here.

Crochet

Pros
  • fast and simple
Cons
  • little movable, little cuddly, consumes more yarn

Crochet is much easier if you’re tackling something like a hat for the first time. You only have one needle, only one active stitch. The needle has a practical hook, so the thread doesn’t slip away all the time.

I can still remember my handicrafts lessons in elementary school. Of course, back then, knitting was a punishment for me! But I always liked crocheting because it was so much easier. For children’s hands at all times – and generally, crochet is a super beginner method with beautiful results.

Crochet is suitable for everything that needs to be denser and firmer. Potholders, for example, are supposed to be thick to insulate well against heat. However, since the stitches are much thicker and denser in crochet than in knitting, the resulting piece becomes heavier and less flexible.

Ingenious for potholders – not so suitable for hats, scarves and gloves. Because they should be cuddly, soft and fluffy!

Crochet Tips

  • Always crochet hats with loose stitches and fluffy wool so the hat will be softer! Although the simple crochet stitches are called “tight stitches,” they should never really be tightened.

    Especially with beanie hats, it is important that they are soft and fall nicely in the back. Otherwise, the beanie will stick up in the back, and you’ll look like a little pixie.

    If your beanie can be a bit “holey,” you can also crochet it with stitches. This way, it will be softer, and if you get cold through the holes, you can simply sew a fleece inside.

  • Crochet scarves with chop stitches, double chop stitches or chop scallop patterns. This will make them more permeable and softer. An added benefit: you’ll see it go in no time!

  • Amigurumi you may know: Small Manga-inspired crochet figures, always quite colorful and child-scheme-like cute. Here crochet is clearly an advantage because it keeps the individual parts of the figures in shape and is just a little movable.

Knitting

Pros
  • loose, cuddly work, infinite variations due to color changes (for example, Norwegian pattern) and different patterns that can be created by knitting techniques.
Cons
  • You need patience. Also patience. And sure instinct! Especially in the beginning it can take a while until you get the hang of it.

Squeaking needles, unevenly sized stitches or stitches that were lost altogether, knots in wool ….. I can still remember it well. When I was ten years old, I had already cursed knitting and could never have imagined that it would become my favorite hobby.

As with everything, practice makes perfect. Difficult for someone like me who always gets impatient when I have to learn something new. I always want to be able to do it right away and get started! But don’t get discouraged. It’s definitely worth the effort.

Kniting Tips

  • Knitting is suitable for almost everything: hats, scarves, socks, gloves, cuffs … but just less well for potholders or amigurumi.
  • Again, the bigger the needles and the thicker the wool, the faster you’ll have something beautiful.
  • When you knit scarves, always use circular needles – it’s easier, and you don’t have to sit there like the grannies in the cartoons, waving two long knitting needles right and left. But, unfortunately, that doesn’t just look amusing. It’s also super impractical and will be hard to keep up in the long run.
  • There are also good beginner projects for knitting. You have everything you need if you know the basics of right stitches, purl stitches and circular knitting with a five-needle set. Everything else is just modified basic knowledge.
  • Much more important when knitting: Hold the needles correctly (don’t tense up otherwise, your hands will hurt like hell at some point!), always guide the working thread with the same tension so that the work doesn’t become too tight/loose. And don’t panic if you lose a stitch or even pull out the needle completely.

    All no drama – eventually, it’s like driving a car, and you do everything automatically.

It will help if you try out everything that you enjoy. I don’t stick to all the guidelines for needle size, stitch samples, number of rows, etc.

If something doesn’t work out and you make mistakes, you learn something and the coolest mistakes are the ones where something unexpectedly beautiful comes out in the end!

 * Disclosure: Links marked with Asterix or some picture links on world’s-finest-wool are affiliate links.  All our work is reader-supported – when you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. The decision is yours – whether you decide to buy something is entirely up to you.

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