Amigurumi Workshop Series: Yarn!

There are so many yummy yarns out there, just begging to be turned into crocheted and knitted treasures. But, what brands make the best amigurumi? Here's a run-down on the three most readily available yarn brands and how they stacked up in my amigurumi projects.

Red Heart

If you buy yarns at your local craft stores or even at Walmart, Red Heart seems to be the most common. Most of the Red Heart yarns you will find on the rack are sturdy, worsted-weight acrylic yarn, although some of the better-stocked yarn asiles offer sport wieghts and more natural fibers. One great thing about Red Heart is the incredible variety of colors available. I've almost never been disappointed when looking for a specific color under the Red Heart brand.

I prefer acrylic yarn for my amigurumi projects because it holds up to a little more love and is easier to shape, but at the same time I want my spiderlings to be soft and touchable. And up until recently, this was a dilemma for using the Red Heart line. But, with the introduction of their Soft yarn, Red Heart has really stepped up to the plate. This yarn is easy to work with and gives a little glow to your finished ami's for the price of about $3.50 each. It's also available in a variety of great colors and ombres that are sure to keep you inspired.

Caron International

If you like to work with soft acrylic yarn, then Caron Simply Soft will be another familiar name. Compared to Red Heart, you'll find that Caron's Simply Soft yarns are a little cheaper (about $3.30 each). Both Caron Simply Soft and Red Heart Soft are worsted weight yarns, and you'll notice the number 4 (medium) size icon on the labels. But despite the fact that these two yarns are the same weight, I think the Caron Simply Soft is easier to work with when using a smaller hook size.

Like Red Heart, Caron offers a variety of great colors and ombres to keep you inspired, but I have found that my local craft stores (and especially Walmart) tend to have less stock in this brand. The classic colors are usually represented, but if you want something special, you're going to end up ordering online. The other big difference between Caron and Red Heart is that Caron does not offer as much in the way of trendy colors. In the Red Heart line, you'll see colors like "guacamole," "tangerine," and "fuscha" that have been perfect for my Java Monkeys. The Caron colors are a little more muted, such as this "light country blue."

Lion Brand

Last but not least, is Lion Brand Yarn. This brand has always appealed to me because of its quality and durability. Many of my afghan projects were completed with Lion Brand Yarns like Wool-Ease and Homespun. That being said, I have not used much Lion Brand on my amigurumi projects. I think this is because, up until recently, Lion Brand did not offer a worsted-weight, medium, acrylic yarn. But, that all changed with the introduction of the Vanna's Choice line, named for famous Wheel of Fortune hostess and crocheter extraordinaire, Vanna White.

To me, the Vanna's Choice yarn does not feel as soft as the Red Heart Soft or Caron Simply Soft. But, what it lacks in texture, it certainly makes up with its stunning color selection. The Lion Brand site offers 49 different colors in the Vanna's Choice line, from soft muted colors like "a gentle pink" to "terracotta" and "mustard."

In addition to the Vanna's Choice line, Lion Brand offers a lot of novelty yarns that make great accents on amigurumi projects. And, while there are always exceptions to this rule, I have found that it's easier to keep a consistent color palette when purchasing accent yarns from the same brand as the main color.

So there you have it: my reasons for using yarns from the each of the three most common brands and the lines I prefer. This information is based only on my personal experience and I'm sure others will feel differently about their selections, but I hope this information can help you to select the yarn for your next amigurumi project.

For those readers who have used the yarns described in this post (and other readily available yarns), I'd love to hear about your experiences. Please tell us more by adding a comment to this post!

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