Karen's Knitting Site

Basics

Yarn

Yarn comes in a variety of weights and fabrics. The weight refers to the thickness of the yarn being used. There are six general ranges: Super Fine, Fine, Light, Medium, Bulky, and Super Bulky. As for the fabrics, the same applies for yarn as it does for clothing and there's a wide range of fabric blends available - all cotton, cotton/acrylic blends, wool, etc. Fortunately, you can usually find one that suits your tastes. It comes in three different formats:
Ball Skein Hank


Needles

Needles comes in a variety of shapes and sizes. There are three types of knitting needles:

Straight Needles - They have a point on one end and a flat or rounded head on the other. straight needles are available in either 10" or 14" lengths and in a variety of widths.

Double Pointed Needles - As the name implies, these have points at both ends. They are used for tubular projects such as socks. Most people recommend double pointed needles until you've mastered using the straight needles.

Circular Needles - These are two needles joined by a cord. They are often used for circular projects (such as hats) and are especially useful for projects with a large number of stitches.

Needles also come in a variety of sizes - all in an effort to help achieve the desired width and of your stitch. Each needle has a millimeter range that corresponds to a U.S. size range so be careful to choose the right size designation for your project.

Standards and Symbols Guide

The Craft Yarn Council of America has made available at the Yarn Standards web site a 16 page PDF guide that provides a chart showing kneedle sizes, the yarn weight system, a list of the various abbreviations used in knitting, and a brief tutorial on how to interpret the different symbols you see on a yarn label. I found it extremely useful in providing me with some foundational information for understanding the wonderful selection of materials used in knitting.