Crochet with Novelty Yarns | All we need to Know

As you gain skill in the art of crochet, you may want to branch out from standard knitting worsted and try to crochet with novelty yarns.  There are yarns that imitate fur, velvet, or terry cloth.  There are yarns with sequins or metallic threads or bumpy nubs.  Here are some tips for crochet with novelty yarns.

Fuzzy Yarn

Fuzzy yarns have a “halo” of fibers that stick out all around the more solid core of the yarn strand.  Luxury fibers like mohair and angora have a soft halo that feels good against the skin and makes a simple pattern look special.  Other fuzzy yarns include faux fur and “scrubby” cotton (used for dishcloths.)  While the fibers vary, they are all similar in requiring more patience than a smooth yarn would. 

Choose a hook with extra smoothness, such as a teflon or polished steel, so your tool can glide through the textured loops.  Be careful in determining gauge: double check your measurements because stitches are harder to count though that halo of fibers!  A good way to try fuzzy yarns is to pair a strand of fuzzy yarn with a strand of regular yarn, holding the two strands together and crocheting them like one strand.  The standard yarn helps the fuzzy yarn “behave.”

Be extra careful to follow pattern instructions and avoid careless mistakes.  While this is always good advice, it is especially important with fuzzy yarn.  Mistakes are hard to unravel, since the halo fibers tend to lock together with fibers from surrounding stitches.  The fuzzier the yarn, the more likely you will break the yarn before it unravels.

Textured Yarn

Textured yarns are called by various names: boucle, thick and thin, nubby, etc.  For these yarns, determining gauge is also a challenge.  Be sure to crochet a swatch at least 4 inches square (6 inches is even better) and count stitches carefully to be sure you match the pattern gauge.  As with fuzzy yarn, use a super smooth hook.  A brand with an almost pointed tip can help your hook find the stitch loops among the bumps. 

Choose a simple pattern for textured yarn.  A detailed stitch pattern would be lost in the surface texture of the fabric.  Let the yarn speak for itself while you make easy stitches.

Shiny Yarn

Yarn with metallic threads can be worked like regular yarn with one caveat: be careful that the metallic thread does not separate from the rest of the yarn.  Every loop should include both strands.  Be sure not to snag and break the metal thread.  If the thread breaks, break off the yarn and rejoin the yarn after the broken thread.

Some yarn gets its shine from sequins or beads.  As you crochet, you may need to make a stitch a bit tighter or looser to be sure a sequin or bead ends up on the right side of the fabric.

In Conclusion

The main point in using novelty yarns is to do all the things you do with standard yarn, just do it even more carefully!  If you are concerned about gauge, make your first novelty project a pillow cover, table mat, or belt.  Gauge is not critical on those projects, and you can get accustomed to working with the yarn before trying to get gauge and crochet a fitted garment.  Enjoy all the great variety of yarns as you continue to develop your crochet skills


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