Purchasing Your First Yarn
Your first yarn for Tunisian crochet should be easy to use, inexpensive, practical for early projects like coasters or dish cloths, and show off the unique character of the Tunisian Simple Stitch. Even better, it could also be beautiful, soft and a joy to see and use.
Where to buy:
- In-store there’s less selection but you get to see and feel the yarn; online there’s more selection and you can look at reviews.
- Start in person so you can get a feel for what you like while you feel most enthusiastic about getting started and then move to online shopping for future projects:
- Michaels and Joann have the best selection and some great sales. WalMart has best prices, a couple of great store brands, but much less selection – like about 20% of what you’ll find at the big stores.
What to buy:
- Buy a few balls/skeins of cotton, polyester, or blended yarn. This can be used for dish cloths, coasters, placemats, ear warmers, cowls and scarves.
- Choose colors you love; it will motivate you more.
- Some color patterns make it easier or harder to do Tunisian crochet. SEE PHOTOS BELOW.
- Choose softer yarns that don’t look fuzzy – it just feels nicer and is more fun!
- Look at reviews to see comments about the yarn “splitting” – when you’re learning it’s best not to have to worry about splits, which cause you to have to go back and fix things and make it harder to complete the stitch. For example, cotton-bamboo blends are often very splitty.
- Look for tighter twisting, yarn where you can’t see individual strands, or where there’s sort of a woven pattern rather than twisted strands.
- Get “worsted” weight so projects don’t take forever
- thinner yarn=more stitches to finish a project.
- I’ve compared lots of different yarns, tested for their ability to absorb water quickly and resist stains and shrinkage. See my post about test results here.
- My personal favorite for beginner’s yarn: Lion Brand 24/7. I tried them both again to make sure I was accurate about the user experience. CAVEAT: Most stores only carry it online. I usually buy direct from Lion Brand
- Criteria for selection:
- It slides on the hook easily.
- It hardly ever splits.
- It’s not terribly expensive.
- It comes in great colors.
- It’s not fuzzy, so stitches are very distinct.
- It’s not fuzzy, so stitches rip out easily if you don’t like what you’ve done.
- It’s totally washable and dryable with no special care.
- Criteria for selection:
Comparing two favorites
|Characteristic||Lion Brand 24/7||Lily Sugar ‘n Cream|
|Provenance||Mexico||Canada w/ cotton grown in USA|
|Amount per skein||3.5 oz., 186 yards, 100 g||2.5 oz, 120 yards, 70.9 g|
|Weight||Worsted (4) – recommended hook size is H, a bit smaller than usual worsted||Worsted (4)|
|Colors||26||42 solids; 5 “self-striping”; 36 “ombres” to match the solids|
|Best price||About $5/skein ($0.03/yd)||About $2 ($0.02 per yard)|
|Feel/”hand”||Smooth, soft, with sheen||Comparatively rough; harder to work with|
|Splitting||Hardly ever||Much more frequent|
|Starting over||Easy; doesn’t catch when ripping out stitches||Easy; doesn’t catch when ripping out stitches|
|Processing||Not “all-natural” the fiber is “mercerized” – which means it was soaked in lye and then rinsed out to improve dye absorption and retention. Less shrinkage.||No info posted about dyes or processing. Generally more absorbent but may shrink more because it’s not mercerized.|
|Getting started||Devilishly hard to get started as a “pull skein” – comes out in a clump, but still better than winding the whole thing||A bit less difficult, but still comes out as a clump you have to untangle and wind.|
 Acrylic and wool aren’t as versatile for getting started because they can’t be used as washcloths, but there are still plenty of small projects for which it is perfect (ear warmers, placemats, etc.). Red Heart is the classic inexpensive acrylic for beginners and for projects where cost is a consideration, like hats and scarves for our soldiers or forpeople experiencing homelessness. Available virtually everywhere – Wal-Mart, Michaels, JoAnn’s, etc.