Last updated: 16/10/2022

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The first mention of commercial knitting dates back to 1268 in Paris. What was pure handicraft at that time is now produced mechanically by large factories. What remains is knitting by hand as a hobby. This is becoming more popular again these days. With knitting yarn in the most colourful colours, shapes and types, your next knitting project can become the eye-catcher of your wardrobe par excellence. That’s why we have made it our task to show you a comparison of the most diverse knitting yarns. We also tell you about the most important criteria when buying knitting yarns.


  • Knitting yarn comes in a wide variety of colours, shapes and types. It can be used for a wide variety of knitting and crochet projects, depending on individual tastes.
  • Especially for beginners, thick yarns are great for first knitting projects. Those who are already more advanced can let off steam creatively when choosing knitting yarns for more advanced knitting pieces.
  • Knitting yarns can also be used for crochet projects. This is especially recommended for those who have difficulty with knitting.

The Best Knitting Yarn: Our Picks

Buying and evaluation criteria for knitting yarns

To help you buy the right knitting yarn, we have compiled the most important criteria that you should consider. The criteria are as follows:

Now we explain what exactly you should look for in the criteria so that you can make an informed buying decision.

Needle size

Especially with knitting yarns it is worth looking at the label. There you will find a lot of important information, such as the needle size. The needle size tells you how wide your knitting needle or crochet hook can be. Crochet hook may be. This ensures that the yarn can be knitted easily. The instructions for a knitting project can also tell you which yarn goes with which needle. There you will usually find recommendations for matching yarns and needles that may have been used.

Run length

The run length indicates how many linear metres of yarn are needed for a certain weight, whereby each yarn can have a different run length. As a rule, the finer and lighter the knitting yarn, the longer the run. The run length is especially relevant when you want to determine how many balls of yarn you need for a knitting or crochet project.

You can calculate it simply like this: divide the total run length of wool by the run length of one ball of your yarn. The result is the number of balls you need.

Fibre content

The fibre content of a yarn indicates what it is made of. This is important to know if you plan to clean or wash your needlework. Depending on the fibre used, you can clean by hand or by machine. In most cases, yarns made of 100% cotton or yarns that have been specially labelled as washable can also be machine-washed at high temperatures. However, you should be careful with fibre blends that contain a high proportion of silk. These are very fine and delicate and should only be hand washed with mild detergent.

Stitch test

A stitch test is a small test piece of knitting. It shows how many stitches and rows you need to knit to make a square of 10 x 10 cm. How many stitches and rows you need to knit depends on the knitting pattern you use. The stitch gauge ensures that a knitted piece does not turn out smaller or larger than described in the instructions. It is therefore advisable to always make a sample yourself. Because everyone knits a little tighter or looser than described in the instructions.

Guide: Frequently asked questions about knitting yarn answered in detail

In this section, we’ll look at the most frequently asked questions about knitting yarn that you should know before you buy.

What is knitting yarn?

A knitting yarn, also known as hand knitting yarn, is a yarn that is specifically made for knitting by hand with knitting needles. It differs from other yarns, such as machine and weaving yarns, in that it usually has a lower spin and twist.


The scarf is the perfect beginner’s knitting project. (Image source: Debby Hudson/ Unsplash)

Knitting yarn can be divided into two types. On the one hand, there is the plain basic yarn, which is a blend of synthetic, natural or semi-synthetic fibres. On the other hand, there is the fancy yarn, which consists of chemical yarns, metallic yarns and other fibres.

What types of knitting yarns are there?

There are basically several types of knitting yarns. On the one hand, there are the yarns made of synthetic yarn, such as acrylic or polyester. On the other hand, there are natural yarns, such as cotton or yarns made from animal fibres. There are also yarns that are a mixture of synthetic and natural yarns. However, thick knitting yarns are particularly suitable for the first knitting project. The reason for this is that you can see progress in your knitting more quickly. If you have more time, you can choose from a variety of yarns with colour gradients. You can use these for more elaborate knitting projects, such as a bedspread or curtain.

How much does a knitting yarn cost?

The price of knitting yarn is determined by fibre content, weight and run length. Therefore, there is a price range from cheap to expensive. The following table shows what you can expect to pay:

Price range Available products
Low-priced (€3 – €10) Single balls weighing 50 to 100 grams, in a wide variety of colours and shapes
Medium-priced (€10 – €20) Single balls weighing 50 to 500 grams. Knitting yarn sets with several balls of 50 to 100 grams and also more fancy yarns and thicker yarns
High-priced (from 20 €) High-quality brand yarns and many sets with several balls

As you can see, you can get lots of coloured knitting balls even on a small budget. If you have a little more money to spend, you can find great sets in the medium price range that are perfect for larger knitting projects.

What care and washing instructions should I follow?

Depending on the yarn, different care and washing instructions need to be followed. Hand wash all yarns that are made of e.g. blended wool, pure wool, silk or polyamide. When washing by hand, the water temperature should not exceed 30°. A wool detergent should also be used. First the detergent should dissolve completely, then you can start hand washing. The knitted piece should be spread out on a towel and rolled up instead of wringing it out.

Afterwards, it should be dried lying down, because it would warp hanging down. If knitwear made of other fibre blends is washed in the washing machine, you should select the wool wash programme. You should also use a wool detergent and not wash at temperatures above 60°. In general, you should always follow the wool manufacturer’s care and washing instructions.


Knitting yarn is great for making colourful and creative knitted and crocheted pieces. With a wide range of different colours, shapes and designs, you can use knitting yarn to create unique knitted pieces for yourself and others. Besides the aesthetic aspect, knitting yarn is wonderful for producing beautiful warm winter knits. However, personal preferences and price play a greater role in the decision to buy.

(Cover photo: Samantha Romero/Unsplash)