Advice & Information

Long gone are the days when knitting or crochet was something you only saw old people doing in cars, trains and buses – everyone does it everywhere now!  Knitting and crochet today as pastime, hobby or a way to make beautiful, unique things have exploded across the generations.

At Blacker Yarns we have always made ourselves available to help customers: we don’t like telephone options, call centres or computerised answers and always prefer a personal approach when we answer queries.

You may want us to help you choose the right yarn for the right pattern, or you may not be able to knit or crochet at all and want help on needle sizes, tension or technique.  This page is designed to help with the basics.

So here are some information sheets to download, in three categories:


Knitting Basics


Technical information on knitting

  • Needles and Hooks is self explanatory and attempts to answer questions about which needle or hook to use;
  • Yarn Specifications attempts to resolve any problems you may have with gauge, tension and needle size;
  • Wool Ball Lengths answers what sounds a silly question: how long is a ball of wool?  Or a skein or hank?  They all vary and here we explain how and why;
  • Yarn Weights explains how yarns vary depending on whether they are plied with more than one strand, how thick each strand is and how tightly yarn is twisted


Care of knitted and crocheted work

  • Technical Talk and Care as the name suggests aims to do two jobs: it explains some of the jargon relating to tension and gauge, and also provides basic tips on how to care for fibre;
  • Wool Washing advises on how to get the best results
  • Death to Moths  a look at deterring, detecting and destroying this pest

Three helpful websites are mentioned in these files, which you can also reach direct from here: the Campaign for Wool, the Soil Association and Ravelry.

We also have other downloads, some of which are mentioned in these files, where there is more detailed information.  You will find these by going to the Natural Fibre Company and clicking on the Help and Advice box.

To help customers curious about how various breeds relate to different parts of the UK, we have put together this map of sheep breed origins.  More information about some of these breeds and the fleece they produce can be found in our Meet the Animals page while Sue’s book, Pure Wool, goes into more detail on the yarn characteristics from 17 British breeds and provides appropriate knitting patterns to make the most of them.  For more detailed information on a wider range of breed characteristics, see these sheep breed charts.

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