crochet yarn

If you are like me, you first fall for a cute yarn ball and then decide what to crochet with it. Rarely the other way around. There is a multitude of colors, sizes, textures that is sometimes difficult to pick and identify.

Main types of yarns used in crochet

  • Cotton
  • Acrylic
  • Polyester

This article is dedicated to the use of each material applied to crochet.

different crochet yarn

Natural materials

Cotton yarn

crochet cotton yarns


Of plant origin, cotton is recommended for amigurumis. The colors are sharper and so, the result is cleaner. Because, if you look closely at a cotton yarn, it doesn’t have fluffy micro-filaments. When you crochet, if your yarn has filaments ( for example acrylic yarn ) it gives the impression that the stripe colors are mixing.

Clean stripes with cotton
crochet with cotton yarn
Made with Alison & Mae crochet cotton yarns

Being a natural fiber, cotton is more expensive than synthetic yarns. In general, brands have a cotton and a synthetic range so you have the choice between both.


Cotton is recommended for crochet beginners because it always makes stitches clearly visible. I advise you to start with a 3.5mm / 4mm aluminum hook ( see supplies article ).
I recommend to buy different mini yarn balls sets to create your stock of colors. They are ideal for small projects. I really like the cotton balls sets because having all this variety of colors, you don’t need to purchase big yarn balls each time.

Advantages of cotton yarn for crochet

  • Suitable for amigurumis
  • Good for crochet beginners
  • Results are clean with sharp colors
  • Quality of the thread makes it easy to crochet

Cotton yarns that I recommend

  • I am a big fan of Bernat so of course, I will recommend the Softee baby cotton which are, for me, the basics of cotton yarns. I love their choice of pastel colors. Here ( G6, 4mm hook )
  • As I said earlier, I recommend to buy different mini cotton yarn balls sets to create your stock of colors such as the BambooMN set. ( E4, 3.5mm hook )

Wool yarn

I know that it is possible to crochet wool if you want to crochet accessories for example a scarf, gloves, socks … or even clothes. I do not have experience with crocheting those so I would be scared to give wrong advices.

However, I know that the use remains the same, the thicker the wool the more you will have to choose a large hook.

Be careful to choose a wool that do not split too much, it can be very challenging to crochet.

Synthetic materials

Cotton is great for amigurumis but when I want to crochet bulkier projects, I choose synthetic yarn balls. As the thread is thicker, your work will grow faster. Also, if you need a large number of balls, it is cheaper than cotton and the choice is wide.

Acrylic yarn

acrylic yarn balls for crochet


If you are just starting and don’t want to invest in cotton yet, acrylic yarn balls are for you. It’s also possible that you find the threads more exciting than the ones in cotton.

example of acrylic crochet yarn
The body of the gingerbread was made with the 100% acrylic ball Super Saver by Red Heart, cafe latte.

Personally, I like to crochet acrylic because the fibers are flexible and the hook slips between the stitches. Thanks to the density of the thread, the projects are made quickly.

However, as explained in the cotton chapter, the micro-filaments of acrylic thread can produce a less clean result than with cotton. Color changes are then less sharp.


Of course, it is possible to learn crochet with acrylic yarns, just be careful to choose a classic and monochromatic yarn. The more fancy and multi-colored the yarn, the more difficult it will be to crochet and to differentiate stitches.

Advantages of acrylic yarn for crochet

  • Good pricing range
  • Pleasant to crochet
  • Possibility to make large projects
  • Wide variety of styles

Acrylic yarns that I like using

  • After moving to the United-States, I discovered the brand Red Heart and their 100% acrylic range Super Saver. Sold in balls of 5, 7 or 14 ounces, plain or multi-colored, they are good in term of price and quality. I became addicted to their ” cafe latte ” color and made all my Christmas cookies with it. ( I9, 5.5mm hook ) here.
  • When I am in France, I crochet a lot with Lisa Premium Uni range from Gründl. I have a little crush for the candy pink color 05. Gründl yarns are pretty common in Europe but hard to find in the US 🥲. So, every time I go back to France, I buy plenty of balls and bring them back in my suitcases.

Polyester yarn

polyester crochet yarn


made with bernat baby blanket yarn
This teddy bear was made with white Bernat Baby Blanket. The pink parts are made with Lion Brand, acrylic and wool.

I am a big fan of polyester yarn balls because you know my taste for plushies. All the yarns with out of ordinary textures such as chenille yarn ( means caterpillar in french ) fur, velvet, fuzz… are made of polyester.


Known to be challenging to crochet, polyester is not recommended when you want to learn. It took me a bit of practice to know how to crochet this type of yarn because there is no differentiation between the stitches at all. However, the result is always sensational.

polyester yarn
Stitches are barely visible or even invisible with the ” frizz ” yarn ( on the left )

However, if you really want to start with polyester ball, do not hesitate to double the yarn with a cotton thread to make the stitches more visible.

Last detail, if you opt for ”chenille” yarns, think about the quality. Because, many of them loose their fibers in contact with a hook and you find them everywhere except in your work. Also, plan more space to store your yarn balls because they are generally larger than classic ones.

Advantages of polyester yarn for crochet

  • Perfect for big or giant projects, such as stuffed animals
  • Ultra-fun choice of textures
  • For chenille yarn : quick projects because of high yarn density

The polyester yarns that I like to use

Bernat Baby Blanket
  • Absolute fan of the Baby Blanket or the Blanket range from Bernat, the balls are used a lot to make blankets but personally, I use them to make stuffed toys. Very dense, they allow me to make big projects. This yarn is also very soft and comfy. Unlike the Blanket range, the Baby Blanket one is designed for babies and so, tested for over 300 harmful substances ( Oeko-Tex certified ). Find a large range of colors, here on Amazon ( L11 , 8mm hook )
  • When I am in France, I use Gründl’s Funny Uni range a lot. I have a crush on their pastel colors. Unfortunately it is difficult to find in the United States 🥲
  • If you are looking for a superb velvety effect, I recommend the Velvet range from Bernat ( yes again 😋 ). I made a small elephant soft toy with the Vapor Gray color and the result was great ! Here is the link : here ( hook K10.5 , 6,5mm ). There is also the Baby Velvet range which is finer ( H8 , 5mm hook )
velvet vapor grey from Bernat
Made with Velvet Vapor Grey from Bernat


When crocheting, each yarn family has its pros and cons. The most important is to choose the yarn according to the type of projects you want to make. When you’re just starting out, it’s sometimes tempting to buy fancy balls rather than classic ones. But, I know by experience, that it can be quickly discouraging not to see the difference between stitches and not to know where to put the hook. I therefore advise you to start with a classic cotton yarn. All of your stitches will be visible, so everything will seem clearer to you.

Finally, the choice of your yarn will determine the size of your hook. Click here for my article on picking the right supplies to start crochet 🧶

tags of crochet yarn
Recommended hook sizes on yarn labels


Find all my free patterns by clicking here 🌸