Crochet 101, Lesson 1: Yarn & Hook Basics

The Doll Lover's Guide to Crochet 101, Lesson 1 - Yarn & Hook Basics

*This is lesson 1 in The Doll Lover’s Guide to Crochet: 101 series*

Hello!  Are you ready to learn how to crochet?  In this lesson we will learn about different types of yarns and what tools we need to crochet.  You’ll learn how to pick the right yarn and crochet hook for any project you wish to do.

Ready? Let’s start!

Types of Yarn:

If you go into any craft store you will get to see a LOT of yarn!  There’s not just one type yarn – there are hundreds!  Some are super thick, and some are super thin. Some yarns are made from scratchy wool and others from super soft acrylic.  We don’t have time to go over ALL the different types of yarn there are in the world, so today you are going to learn about just a few of the most common yarns you are likely to find.

Doll Lover's Guide to Crochet 101 - Yarn & Hooks
Most craft stores have dozens of different types of yarn!

First, yarn can be made out of many different types of fibers (that’s the thread-y stuff that gets twisted together to make the strand of yarn).   The three most popular types of fibers are wool, cotton and acrylic:

Wool Yarn is made from the hair of furry animals like sheep, goats and even rabbits!  It’s a very warm type of yarn that is often used to make winter hats and scarves.  Fun Fact: Australia produces more wool than any other country!

Cotton Yarn is made from the soft, fluffy fibers that the cotton plant grows to protect it’s seeds.  It’s much cooler than wool and less scratchy.  It’s often used to make hot-weather clothes like swimsuit cover-ups. Fun Fact: the scientific name for the cotton plant is gossypium!

Acrylic Yarn is made from different types of polymers (another name for plastic) and is a man-made type of fiber.  Acrylic yarn can feel soft OR scratchy, and can be used for a lot of different things.  It’s a very versatile yarn! Fun Fact: because acrylic yarn is man-made, it comes in every type texture you can think of – some even feels like wool or cotton!

Yarn Sizes & Weights:

Second, yarn can come in different weights.  A yarn’s weight means how thick it is. On the label of each skein of yarn there will be a picture that tells you what it’s weight is:

Weight-0-Lace Size 0 Yarn: also known as ‘Lace’ weight yarn, size 0 yarn is very, very thin and often used for very lacy or fine items like doilies.
Weight-1-SuperFine Size 1 Yarn: also known as ‘Super Fine’ weight yarn, size 1 yarn is a little thicker than size 0, but still very thin. It’s often used for making socks.
Weight-2-Fine Size 2 Yarn: also know as ‘Fine’ weight yarn, size 2 yarn is also sometimes called ‘sport’ weight yarn. It’s often used for light summer clothes or baby items.
Weight-3-Light Size 3 Yarn: also known as ‘Light’ weight yarn, size 3 yarn is used for lots of different items, like clothing and blankets.
Weight-4-Medium Size 4 Yarn: also known as ‘Medium’ weight yarn, size 4 yarn is one of the most common types of yarns. It’s used for almost everything!
Weight-5-Bulky Size 5 Yarn: also known as ‘Bulky’ weight yarn, size 5 is thick and can be used to make big items very quickly. It’s usually used for thick sweaters and blankets.
Weight-6-SuperBulky Size 6 Yarn: also known as ‘Super Bulky’ weight yarn, size 6 yarn is also used to make big, thick items like blankets and sweaters – or even rugs!
Weight-7-Jumbo Size 7 Yarn: also known as ‘Jumbo’ weight yarn, size 7 yarn is really, really thick! It can be used to make things like blankets and rugs, but isn’t often used to make clothing.

The type of yarn we are going to be using for our projects will be acrylic yarn in size 4 (medium weight).  It’s an easy yarn to crochet with, comes in lots of colors and is easy to find at craft stores (and other big stores like Walmart!).

Depending on the type of yarn (wool, cotton, or acrylic) and the weight of the yarn (anything from fine to jumbo), your crochet project can look VERY different! Here are some examples of different items made from different types of yarn:

Doll Lover's Guide to Crochet 101 - Wool Yarn Example
An example of super bulky weight, wool yarn.
Doll Lover's Guide to Crochet 101 - Cotton Yarn Example
An example of lace weight cotton yarn
Doll Lover's Guide to Crochet 101 - Acrylic Yarn Example
An example of medium weight acrylic yarn.

Crochet Hooks: 

Now onto the tool that makes everything possible: the crochet hook!  Unlike in knitting (where you have to use two knitting needles) crocheting requires only one hook in order to make the crochet fabric from yarn.

Crochet hooks can be made out of many different types of material, such as wood, plastic or aluminum, with aluminum being the most common.  It doesn’t really matter what type of material your hooks are made of.  What REALLY matters is the size of the hook.  Just like how yarn comes in different weights, crochet hooks come in different sizes.  If you are using a thick, bulky yarn you will need to use a big hook.  If you are using a thin, lacy yarn you will need to use a very small hook.

In the US, crochet hooks are often called by different letters of the alphabet:

Doll Lover's Guide to Crochet 101 - Hook Sizes
Crochet hooks range from small (size D) to very large (size K).

You can completely change the way your finished item will look depending on what size hook you use.  The examples below were both made with the same pattern and the same type of size 4, acrylic yarn.  The only difference was size of hook used to make each one:

Doll Lover's Guide to Crochet 101 - Hook Examples
A size F hook was used on the left & a size K hook on the right.

For our projects we are going to use a size G hook – it’s one of the most common size hooks there are, and is easy to find in most craft stores.  A Size G Hook will make our projects just right for our dolls! 🙂

Congratulations! You now know the basics of yarn and crochet hooks.  In our next lesson we are going to actually start using those items to make our first project.

See you next time! 🙂

Sources & Helpful Resources:

How to Choose the Right Yarn Every Time (Craftsy.com)

How Wool is Made (MadeHow.com)

The Story of Cotton (Cotton.org)

What is a Polymer? (pslc.com)

Standard Yarn Weight System (YarnCouncil.com)

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