Picking the right yarn to use for a crochet project can leave you full of questions. After all, if you’re going to put all that time into crocheting something, you want to be sure to choose a yarn that’ll keep its color, be durable enough to stand up to use and wash, be soft (or stiff) enough, yet still be enjoyable to work with.
This is especially true if you’re buying yarn online. You may wonder:
Do the photos properly show the yarn’s true color?
How soft does this yarn feel?
But even if you physically go to a yarn store to see and feel the yarn for yourself, you may want to know:
Will the yarn soften up a lot in the wash?
Can this yarn hold up to machine washing? If it’s a baby blanket, is it durable enough to stand up to being handled by a child for years?
Does the yarn pill (despite the claims on the label?)
Will the colors fade with repeated washing?
Is it nearly impossible to frog this yarn?
Is this yarn splitty? (Will the yarn plies separate easily?)
Ravelry’s Yarn Database
Luckily, Ravelry has a database of thousands of yarns, with reviews, ratings, and pictures of those yarns. You can even find pictures of crocheted items that users have made with that yarn.
To access this database, go to Ravelry.com. You’ll need to sign up for an account, which is free.
Then, in the search bar on the right side, type in the name and brand of the yarn you’re curious about. In the dropdown menu, select “Yarns” and hit search.
Here I’ve typed in “red heart super saver.”
You’ll be shown a list of search results.
I’m looking for Red Heart’s Super Saver Solids, so I’ll click on the first result.
This brings you to a page where you can see the colors that this yarn comes in, along with an overall rating of the yarn. This is a very popular yarn, so there are 173 comments about this yarn.
To see people’s comments about this yarn, click on the “comments” tab on the upper right. If you skim through these comments, you’ll often be able to find the answers to the questions you have about that yarn. Sometimes, you’ll see people leave comments asking a question about the yarn.
On the first page, you can already see that people commenting on the colorfastness of the yarn, and also sharing tips on how you can soften the yarn.
Others are sharing anecdotes about the durability of the yarn and how well it holds up to machine washing.
That’s a lot of comments! What if I have just one a particular question?
Sometimes there are an overwhelming number of comments to read, but you just have one question. In these situations, I try to figure out one or a few specific terms that I think are likely to show up in a response that will answer my question. Then I use my browser’s “find” function to search every comment page for that specific term. For example, if I’m wondering if the colors will fade, I’ll search for the term “color” or “fade.” Or if I want to know whether or not this yarn will pill, I’ll look for the term “pill.”
Generally, you can access your browser’s “find” function by using the shortcut Ctrl + F on Windows, or using the shortcut Cmd + F on Mac.
This can greatly simplify things because Ravelry fits 25 comments on one page. So if I had to sift through 163 comments for the term “pill,” I’d only need to perform that search 7 times.
More Places to Find Answers to Your Yarn Questions
If you’re not able to find the answer to your question in the comments, there are a few more things I’d suggest you try.
Look for reviews of that specific yarn on the following websites: Amazon, Walmart, Michaels, Joann, online yarn stores, or the yarn manufacturer’s site. If you can find the yarn on Amazon, you can also leave a question in the Q&A section of the yarn’s product page.
Try asking your question on Ravelry’s Yarn & Fiber forum, on any of the many large and popular crochet/knitting forums online, the crochet or knitting subreddits, or in crochet Facebook groups. The crochet and knitting subreddits each have their own Discord and IRC chatrooms that you can ask yarn questions in.
I find that posting questions like this is fairly hit or miss. In the past, I’ve gotten responses from some people who were able to answer some of my questions, but often I’m left with a few unanswered questions. Because of this, I prefer to look for reviews/comments on the yarn, because I find that I can usually find out all I wanted to know, and quickly.
I used some of these resources to pick yarns for my Beach Blanket.
At first, I wanted to use Caron Simply Soft because it felt so nice in the store, but I quickly learned from reading comments on Ravelry that the this yarn tends to split and doesn’t hold up to washing very well. I wanted my blanket to last, and I didn’t want to have to worry about my washing machine destroying it.
I eventually decided on Red Heart Super Saver and Caron One Pound. These feel very scratchy and stiff on the skein, but many commenters mentioned how soft these yarns become after washing. I’m very happy with my choice because these two yarns were inexpensive, came in a variety of colors, and are very durable, so my blanket should last for years to come!
How do you go about picking yarn for a project? Have you ever gotten pretty far into a project only to regret the yarn you chose? Do you have other methods of answering yarn questions that I didn’t mention here? I’d love to hear your stories and ideas!