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The BEST Yarn for Crochet Beginners: A COMPLETE Guide

You decided to learn how to crochet, but there’s so much yarn to choose from that you don’t even know where to start. Honestly, choosing the wrong yarn from the start could set you up for failure. So before you grab that multi-colored yarn (DON’T DO IT!), let me tell you how to pick the BEST yarn for crochet beginners. This is a complete guide from my personal recommendations to learning how to choose your own. Understanding how to choose the best yarn will set you up for success from the very beginning.

Today I’m going to dive deep into the best yarn for beginner crocheters so you can feel confident the next time you make a purchase.

This post may contain affiliate links, please view my disclosure policy for details.

Top 3 Yarn Recommendations for Crochet Beginners

If you’re in a hurry, here are my top 3 yarn recommendations for crochet beginners. If you take anything away from today’s post, make sure you choose a yarn with these 3 characteristics. Then pin this post so you can come back and learn the details behind choosing the best yarn as a beginner.

  1. Choose a solid, lighter yarn color
  2. Weight 4 or 5
  3. Made with acrylic fibers

Those are the most important characteristics to choosing the best yarn for crochet beginners.

Now if you want to know why I suggest these specific characteristics (and the yarn brands I love), you’ll have to keep reading.

Towards the very end, I also answered a list of the most frequently asked questions about choosing yarn. Questions like:

  • Why ply of yarn is best?
  • What yarn doesn’t itch?
  • Is it better to crochet with cotton or acrylic?
  • and a few more

Make sure you scroll all the way to the bottom to find those answers.

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What to Look for When Choosing the Best Yarn

The first thing to understand is that there are lots of factors that go into choosing yarn. There are so many different types of yarn out there!

Today we’ll be talking about these characteristics for choosing the best yarn:

  • yarn weight
  • color
  • fiber type
  • stitch definition
  • and washing yarn/finished projects

I will also share some great crochet project ideas that work well with certain fibers. Then we will briefly talk about the crochet hook size you should use. And last but not least, I’ll list the best yarn brands I recommend using as a beginner.

1. Yarn Weight Recommendations for Beginners

A yarn’s weight equals the thickness of the strand of yarn. These weight classifications range from 0 (lace) to 7 (jumbo) and you will find these numbers on the yarn label.

I believe the best size yarn for beginner crocheters is a weight 4 or 5.

A weight 4 yarn is also called medium, aran, or worsted. It is one of the most common yarn weights out there and is used for many many projects.

A weight 5 yarn is called a chunky or bulky yarn. This strand is thicker than medium weight and might be easier to handle for some crocheters. A chunkier yarn can also make it easier to see your stitches.

Anything smaller than a weight 4 can be harder to see your stitches, making it more difficult to learn.

A weight 6 is also suitable for a beginner, but larger hooks can be harder to manage. Of course, it all depends on the person so you can always give it a try!

2. Yarn Color

When choosing the best yarn as a beginner crocheter, color is so so important.

I know how tempting it can be to choose the prettiest, most colorful skein you can find on the shelves. But that’s the opposite of what you should do.

Using a yarn with different colors will make it very difficult to see your stitches. If you can’t see the stitches, this could end in lots of frustration due to frequent mistakes.

If you’re making mistakes, but you can’t see what you’re doing then it will be near impossible to learn how to fix them.

The same goes for fluffy, or novelty yarn.

That being said, I highly recommend choosing a solid color yarn that is lighter in color. Using a solid color yarn will help you track your progress and make less mistakes. But even when you do make mistakes, you will clearly see where the mistake was and how to prevent it in the future.

You don’t want to use black or a darker color because again, you won’t be able to see those stitches and you don’t want to strain your eyes.

I know you want to work with these extravagant yarns, and I promise you will! But while you’re learning, stick with the recommendations I shared above.

One last thing to know about choosing a yarn color is to pay attention to the dye lot number. You can learn more about what that means in this post.

3. Fiber Type

Yarn can be made with many different fibers, both synthetic fibers and natural (like cotton and animal fibers). Some of the most popular fibers are acrylic, wool, and cotton.

If you’d like to hear more about fiber content in yarn, this post talks all about how yarn is made, the type of fiber used, and a whole lot more.

The best yarn fiber for beginners in my opinion is acrylic. This type of yarn is inexpensive, versatile, and easy on your hands. These are all great reasons for when you’re first starting to learn the stitches because you will be making a lot of swatches.

You can really use any fiber you’d like as long as you keep a few things in mind:

  1. You may have heard acrylic yarn can be scratchy. This is true for some acrylic yarn, but these days it can be one of the softest fibers out there.
  2. Cotton yarn is great, but each yarn line has a different feel so some cotton can be a lot tougher to use than other cotton yarn.
  3. Using a blended yarn is great choice too, especially if it’s a cotton/acrylic blend.

Crochet Projects for Acrylic Yarn

Acrylic yarn is probably the most popular choice because is great to use year-round. Plus, you can use it for many different types of projects.

Acrylic yarn is great for afghans, baby blankets, scarves, hats, bags, car accessories, pillows, gloves, home decor. I could go on and on.

The ONLY things you should not make with acrylic yarn are pot holders, hot pads/trivets, or oven mitts. I’ll explain more about that further down, but basically acrylic will melt if it comes in contact with high temperatures.

Free Crochet Patterns using Acrylic Yarn

Crochet Projects for Cotton Yarn

This fiber is great for Spring/Summery crochet projects as well as home decor!

This yarn works great for washcloths, dishcloths, face scrubbies, pot holders, place mats, coasters, market bags, baby items, clothing, blankets, and so much more.

Free Crochet Patterns using Cotton Yarn:

Crochet Projects for Wool Yarn

Wool yarn is a natural fiber that a lot of people are scared to use. Too many times it’s been called scratchy and compared to “grandma sweaters”.

I’m not going to lie and say it’s not scratchy at all, but there are ways around it.

First of all, wool yarn is best for projects that are meant to keep your warm: hats, blankets, sweaters, leg warmers, gloves, shawls, blanket wrap, etc.

It would also be a good idea to find yourself a wool blend because it will keep the warmth but take away the scratchiness. I’ll share some of my favorites below.

I don’t really recommend wool yarn for beginners (at least not 100% wool) because it is on the pricier side and it’s harder to wash. That doesn’t mean you can’t use it. It’s just not as ideal in the beginning.

Free Crochet Patterns using Wool Yarn

4. Stitch Definition

Stitch definition is an important thing because in the beginning, you won’t really know what you’re looking at.

If your yarn of choice has great stitch definition it will be easier for you to count stitches and recognize mistakes.

One of the best things you can do in the beginning is to dissect your stitches to see how they’re formed and what they look like on the front and back of your work.

This will help you to count your stitches which will, in turn, prevent wonky edges (one of the biggest struggles for beginner crocheters).

Red Heart Super Saver yarn is a very popular yarn for beginners, but it’s not always the best choice. It depends on the yarn because some skeins pill more than others. Pilling just means that the yarn strands are fuzzier and harder to see.

All of the yarn I listed in the “My FAVORITE Yarn” section below has great stitch definition.

5. Machine Washable

Okay we’re finally onto the last thing to pay attention to when choosing the best yarn for crochet beginners.

Understanding how to wash your yarn and finished projects is super duper important. You don’t want to ruin a project you spent a lot of time on just because you thought it was okay to throw in the washer.

Acrylic and cotton yarn can both be thrown in the washer like any normal piece of clothing, which is why they would both make a good choice for beginner crochet projects.

But make sure you pay attention to the instructions on the yarn label.

They will usually give you a max temperature for the wash and will say if it’s okay (or not okay) to throw in the dryer. You can learn more about how to read yarn labels here.

Natural fibers, like wool, have to be hand washed. You don’t want to throw these into the wash because they could end up felting, which basically means all of the plies of yarn mesh together. It’s not a pretty sight (unless it was on purpose).

How to Choose a Hook Size for Beginners

I’m currently writing a full post on crochet hook sizes and how to choose the best hook for your yarn. Stay tuned for that one by signing up for my email list to be notified when it’s released.

For now, as a beginner, use the hook size that is recommended on the label of whichever yarn you chose. The little square on the label of the yarn has a hook size in millimeters. According to the manufacturer, that size hook works best for that particular yarn.

In the beginning you might not be ready to purchase a full set of hooks so if you’re buying them individually, I would get at least 3 different sizes.

If you chose a yarn that recommends a 5.5mm crochet hook, I would also purchase a 5mm and a 6mm. That way if your stitches are too tight, you can use the larger hook and if they’re too loose, you can use the smaller hook.

Learn more about controlling tension in this post.

But in short, it will help you more in the long run if you have multiple sizes.

My FAVORITE Yarn (a.k.a. the best yarn for crochet beginners)

Below I’ve listed all of my favorite affordable yarns in no particular order. I’ve used them all and love them all and I know they would be the perfect choice for beginner crocheters.

I’ve included a lot of medium weight yarn because those are the most popular, but there are some thick chunkier yarns on the list as well.

You can find most of these at your local yarn store but of course you can find all of these online.

Lion Brand Pound of Love

This yarn is great because it comes in a huge skein with over 1,000 yards! You only need one of these to make a baby blanket. That means there’s also plenty to practice with.

Yarn Specs

  • Price: $13.99
  • Yarn Weight: Medium #4
  • Yardage: 1,020 yds
  • Fiber: 100% Acrylic
  • Colorways: 31 solid colors
  • Found at: LionBrand.com, Joann Fabrics, Amazon, Michaels, Walmart

Learn more here

Red Heart Soft

Honestly, Red Heart is one of the best yarn brands to use when you’re getting started. They have a lot of great colors and lines. But personally I think Red Heart Soft has the best stitch definition out of all the others.

Yarn Specs

  • Price: $5.49
  • Yarn Weight: Medium #4
  • Yardage: 256 yds
  • Fiber: 100% Acrylic
  • Colorways: 24 solid colors
  • Found at: Yarnspirations, Joann Fabrics, Amazon, Michaels, Walmart, Lovecrafts

Learn more here

Caron One Pound

This is another favorite that comes with a massive amount of yardage! I think this one compares to Red Heart Super Saver when it comes to pricing, but it’s much better quality.

Also, the description of this yarn on the Yarnspirations website states that “one skein makes 4 scarves”!!

Yarn Specs

  • Price: $11.99
  • Yarn Weight: Medium #4
  • Yardage: 812 yds
  • Fiber: 100% Acrylic
  • Colorways: 47 colors
  • Found at: Yarnspirations, Joann Fabrics, Amazon, Michaels, Walmart

Learn more here

Hobby Lobby’s I Love This Yarn!

This yarn truly is one of my favorite yarns of all time. I even included it in my post talking about the best yarn to use for blankets.

There’s quite a bit of yardage, it’s affordable, and this yarn is so soft. It’s perfect for blankets.

Yarn Specs

  • Price: $4.99
  • Yarn Weight: Medium #4
  • Yardage: 355 yds
  • Fiber: 100% Acrylic
  • Colorways: 70 colors
  • Found at: Only available online and in-store at Hobby Lobby (the only unfortunate thing about this yarn 😭)

Learn more here

Hobby Lobby’s I Love This Cotton!

There’s a reason why the last two yarns were named “I love this __”. There’s nothing not to love about this yarn.

Earlier I shared a little fact about cotton. Do you remember what it was?

All cotton yarns are different. Some cotton yarns are tough to work with and others are pretty soft. This 100% cotton yarn is the softest cotton yarn I’ve come across! You’re going to love it.

Yarn Specs

  • Price: $3.99
  • Yarn Weight: Medium #4
  • Yardage: 180 yds
  • Fiber: 100% Cotton
  • Colorways: 40 colors
  • Found at: Only available online and in-store at Hobby Lobby

Learn more here

Lion Brand 24/7 Cotton

Another one of my favorite cotton yarns. This yarn is spun differently than most which gives it a different feel. There is no splitting with this yarn which is a huge win.

It’s also a mercerized cotton which gives it great stitch definition and a shinier look!

Yarn Specs

  • Price: $4.99
  • Yarn Weight: Medium #4
  • Yardage: 186 yds
  • Fiber: 100% Mercerized Cotton
  • Colorways: 37 colors
  • Found at: LionBrand.com, Joann Fabrics, Amazon, Michaels, Walmart, Lovecrafts

Learn more here

Lion Brand Hue & Me

Finally I have a bulkier weight yarn to share with you. There’s not a ton of bulky yarns on this list because there really aren’t that many weight 5 yarns out there. I’m not sure why.

Either way, this is a really great yarn to crochet with. It’s a wool blend, it comes in lots of great colors, and it works up quickly.

Yarn Specs

  • Price: $6.99
  • Yarn Weight: Bulky #5
  • Yardage: 137 yds
  • Fiber: 80% Acrylic, 20% Wool
  • Colorways: 30 colors
  • Found at: LionBrand.com, Joann Fabrics, Amazon, Walmart, Lovecrafts

Learn more here

Lion Brand Woolease Thick & Quick

This yarn is one of those super popular yarns that everyone loves. It’s great for so things like blankets, quick beanies, baskets, scarves, and more. It is pricier because it is a wool blend so keep that in mind.

This is actually a super bulky weight yarn which isn’t one of my recommendations for beginners, however, there are some people who find thicker yarns easier to work with. If that sounds like you, I highly recommend this yarn.

Yarn Specs

  • Price: $9.99
  • Yarn Weight: Super Bulky #6
  • Yardage: 106 yds
  • Fiber: 80% Acrylic, 20% Wool
  • Colorways: 76 colors
  • Found at: LionBrand.com, Joann Fabrics, Amazon, Michaels, Walmart, Lovecrafts

Learn more here

Paintbox Simply Aran

I feel like I could say “now this is really my favorite yarn” so almost all of the yarn on this list. But this yarn really is so good. It has an insane amount of colors and it’s inexpensive.

My favorite part is that it comes in gorgeous color packs. I suck at putting colors together and I really appreciate these color packs for that reason.

I used this yarn (one of the color packs actually!) to make my Spring Meadow Baby Blanket.

Yarn Specs

  • Price: $3.99
  • Yarn Weight: Medium #4
  • Yardage: 201 yds
  • Fiber: 100% Acrylic
  • Colorways: 60 colors
  • Found at: only online at Lovecrafts

Learn more here

Paintbox Simply Chunky

This yarn is the same as Simply Aran except chunky version! They also have DK and Super Bulky weights if you’re interested in those when the time comes. They’re all great yarns to work with.

Yarn Specs

  • Price: $3.99
  • Yarn Weight: Bulky #5
  • Yardage: 149 yds
  • Fiber: 100% Acrylic
  • Colorways: 56 colors
  • Found at: only online at Lovecrafts

Learn more here

Hobby Lobby Yarn Bee ID

Honestly I love almost every single yarn at Hobby Lobby. If you have a store near you, you are so lucky! These stores are as widely available as other big box stores, but luckily you can still order online!

If you do have a Hobby Lobby near you, I suggest going in and just looking around until you find a yarn that matches the 3 must-have characteristics I shared earlier. You will find tons of beautiful yarns.

Yarn Specs

  • Price: $5.99
  • Yarn Weight: Medium #4
  • Yardage: 252 yds
  • Fiber: 80% Acrylic, 20% Polyamide
  • Colorways: 12 colors
  • Found at: Only available online and in-store at Hobby Lobby

Learn more here

Beginner Yarn FAQs

What ply of yarn is best for beginners?

Plies are the individual strands of yarn that are twisted together. There can be 2-ply, 3-ply, even up to 14-ply. The amount of plies twisted together doesn’t necessarily determine the thickness, so I still recommend weight 4 or 5. But if you are in another country I know yarn is sometimes categorized differently.

I found this super helpful article on KnittingKnowledge.com that explains more about yarn weights and plies based on different countries.

For medium weight yarn they say, “Though the terms are often interchangeable, there is no direct UK equivalent to worsted weight yarn. US worsted weight yarn is actually slightly thinner than UK Aran yarn. However, both are roughly equivalent to 10 ply yarns in Australia and New Zealand.” (KnittingKnowledge.com)

Check out that article if you need more information about yarn weights in different countries.

What should a beginner crochet?

The best crochet project to start with as a beginner would be something that is square or rectangular in shape. I also recommended starting with one of the first 3 basic stitches.

A great choice would be a washcloth, small blanket, headband, scarf, or a hat (side to side construction). This will help you practice your stitches while also making something beautiful and useful!

Where can you buy yarn online?

Yes, absolutely! Most of the yarn I purchase is online. My favorite places to buy yarn are:

Is it better to crochet with cotton or acrylic yarn?

Honestly, it depends. I personally recommend starting with acrylic yarn, but I know other instructors who would suggest cotton.

Acrylic yarn stretches, which could make controlling your tension a little more difficult. Cotton yarn does not stretch which is good for tension, but not good if you have the tendency to crochet tighter because this could cause straining in your hands.

I recommend trying both. You can find inexpensive options for both fibers.

The only brand I would not recommend is Lily Sugar ‘n Cream (or Peaches n Cream) as you’re starting out. This cotton yarn is a lot tougher than other cotton yarns making it more uncomfortable to work with.

What yarn doesn’t itch?

All of the yarns I shared above are perfect if you’re looking for a soft yarn. I’ve personally used every single one and I’ve never noticed any sort of scratchiness (although if you have sensitive skin you may think differently).

Wool and acrylic yarns can both be scratchy at times. But there are lots of wool and acrylic yarns that are not scratchy at all.

A lot of the time when you touch yarn on the shelves, it doesn’t feel like it would be itchy. The only way you’ll know is if you’re working with it. Feeling it glide across your fingers is the best way to know.

Another indicator is if it’s spun together with a sparkly thread of some kind. This can make yarn a little more scratchy.

What is the softest yarn to crochet with?

All of the yarns on this list are soft and comfortable to use. But if I could only choose ONE yarn on the entire list of my favorite yarns, I would choose Hobby Lobby’s I Love This Yarn!

It is an excellent choice for so many projects, especially large projects like blankets. It’s probably the softest on the list, it’s easy to work with, comes in over 50 colors, and has great stitch definition. To me, it really is the perfect yarn.

The Best Yarn for Crochet Beginners: Summary

I hope you enjoyed this massive post on choosing the best yarn for crochet beginners!

We started with my top three recommendations. Do you remember what those were? If so, leave the most important characteristics in the comments 😉

If you don’t remember, use the table of contents below to scroll all the way back to the top.

I wanted to make sure that I included the reasons behind why choosing the best yarn as a beginner is so important. So that’s why we dove so deep into the details.

Then we talked all about my absolute favorite yarns. Not just for beginners but OVERALL favorites. Most of these yarns are my go-to yarns.

If you feel like you missed something, here’s the table of contents. Feel free to go through the post again and pin it to your Pinterest boards so you can always come back and learn more!

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  1. Sigoni, I so agree with you, I love Hobby Lobby! I go to the yarn aisle and drool (can you drool over yarn?) So many colors and shades, I wish I could crochet 100 times faster just to try all the colors and types! I am not a beginner, but love reading your posts! Keep it up!

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