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Knitting & Crocheting Glossary

Afghan Yarn-A generic term for yarn which is ideally suitable for the creation of throws and afghans. Usually lofty, very soft and worsted to bulky weight. Another feature is a color palette which follows home decor trends. Example: Lion Homespun and Bernet Harmony.

Boucle-A yarn which is constructed on a foundation fiber onto which curly or knotted fibers are twisted. The result is a fiber with a great amount of texture that knits or crochets into fabric with minimal stitch definition and maximum textural interest. Examples: Lion Boucle and Red Heart Baby Teri.

Bulky-A general term for lofty, textured yarns. Bulky's are 6-8 times thicker than a fingering weight yarn and are usually worked on a size 10 to 17 needle (crochet J10 and up.) The resulting fabric has 2-3 stitches per inch. The bulky term is somewhat interchangeable with Chunky, however, some define bulky as lighter than chunky. Examples: Lion Kool Wool and Patons Shetland Chunky.

Crochet-The making of fabric or garment out of yarn or thread using a single hooked needle to form interlocking loops. Based on the single crochet stitch.

Crochet Hooks-The single tool used for all crochet stitches. In general, steel crochet hooks are used with thread. Steel hooks are sized numerically. The lower the number the smaller the hook. Aluminum (or wood, bone, plastic) hooks are generally used with yarn and use an alpha/numeric size system with the lowest number/letter being smallest.

Dye Lot-The amount of yarn in one dye vat is called a "lot". All yarn that is dyed using the dye bath method will be the exact same color, or lot. If a yarn is dyelotted, it is important that the consumer purchase enough yarn for the complete project to eliminate possible shade variances.Technology has brought "no dye lot" yarns which offer the convenience of never-changing solid shades. All ombre yarns are dye lotted.

Fingering Yarn-A 2 ply or 3 ply yarn which has even thickness and is fairly fine. It is popular for baby items such as blankets and booties. Fingering weight yarns generally work to 24-48 stitches in 4" on size 3 needles. Examples: Red Heart Baby and Bernat Baby.

Gauge-The number of stitches per inch and the number of rows per inch measured on a knitted or crocheted project. It is necessary to work in the gauge specified in the instructions so the finished work is the correct size.

Heather-A misty coloration which is achieved by twisting more than color together for additional color interest or more than one fiber type for textural interest. Examples: TLC Heathers and select Lion Wool Ease.

Implements-A general term for notions... knitting needles, crochet hooks and other metal, plastic or wood hand tools.

Interchangeability-Any yarn that has the same gauge as any other yarn can be substituted or interchanged for that yarn. Moving up or down a needle size helps compensate for slight gauge variances between similar yarns.

Knitting-The making of fabric or garment out of yarn using two or more pointed needles to form interlocking loops. Based on two stitches, the knit and purl stitch. Knitting needles are sized by number. The larger the number, the larger the needle.

Mercerization-A treatment of cotton fiber which increases its shine and luster. In production, the fiber is immersed under tension in a caustic soda solution which is later neutralized. The result is a permanent swelling of the fiber, thus increasing its luster. Example: Coats Old Fashioned.

Merino Wool-Wool from merino sheep which produce short fibers of very high quality. It is strong durable and elastic. Example: Patons Merino Wool and Patons Kroy.

Metallic-A manufactured fiber composed of metal-coated plastic or plastic-coated metal. Similar to and often referred to as Lame or Mylar. Metallic wraps are popular for holiday yarns. Examples: Lion Lame and Caron Holiday.

Needle Tatting-Needle Tatting is a technique variation of tatting which is an art of lacemaking. A long straight needle is used instead of a shuttle to produce stitches which are indiscernible from stitches created with a shuttle. Needle Tatting is generally easier and faster for new tatters.

Novelty yarn-Yarn which is used for special effects. It is used on its own or in combination with other fibers and often features unusual features like nubs and wraps or dramatic variations in fiber width and color. Examples: Patons Allure and Lion Polarspun.

Nylon-The first of the synthetic fibers. It is durable, resists abrasion and often offers a bit of stretch. It also holds heat well and resists moths. These features make nylon an important ingredient in quality yarn for socks and mittens. Examples: Patons Kroy and Lion Magic Socks.

Ombre-A French term for shaded. An ombre features a coloration which changes from one color to another. With many yarn producers the terms ombre, print and variegated are interchangeable. Ombres are usually designed to match specific solids. Examples: Caron Rainbow Dreams and Sugar'n Cream Ombres.

Pearl Cotton-A highly mercerized loosely twisted plies cotton thread featuring a rope-like appearance and very refined smooth finish. Pearl cotton is available on skeins and in ball form. Skeins are generally merchandised for needlework and balls are generally merchandised for crochet. Several sizes: 3, 5, 8, 12. The higher the number the finer (more narrow) the thread. Examples: DMC Pearl Cotton

Ply-Ply is a single strand which is often twisted with other strands for yarn. A plied yarn is simply the result of two, three, four or more ends of yarn being twisted together.

Pompadour-A term generally synonymous with rayon wrapped baby yarn. The rayon wrap adds a bit of shine and texture. Also called Sparkle or Crystal. Examples: Lion Jamie Pompadour and Bernat Baby Sparkle.

Skein-A continuous strand of yarn in the form of a collapsible coil. A feature of skein foe consumer is the ability to pull yarn from the center which eliminates repetitive handling of the yarn. Example of skein: Coats Super Saver. Example of ball: Lion Watercolors.

Sport Weight-A lightweight yarn which is generally twice as thick as fingering weight yarn but lighter than worsted weight yarn. Sport is usually worked on size 4-6 needles and maintain a gauge of 20-24 stitches in 4". Sport is used for sweaters, kids and baby apparel, scarves, mittens and more. Examples: Patons Look At Me and Red Heart Super Sport.

Tape Yarn-Yarn which is composed of strands which are braided or woven together to form a narrow fabric or ribbon suitable for knitting and crocheting. Tape yarn generally offers very clear stitch definition which makes it ideal for special sweaters, shawls and accessories. Examples: Patons Fresco and Lion Glitterspun.

Worsted Weight-A medium weight yarn which is generally 3-4 times thicker than fingering weight. Worsted is clearly the most versatile weight. It is used for afghans, sweaters, scarves, hats, decor and more. Worsted is usually worked on size 7-9 needles and maintains a gauge of 7-22 stitches in 4". Examples: Caron Natura and Patons Canadiana.