Best yarn for scarves to keep you cosy all winter
Time to wrap up warm? We take a look at some of our favourite yarns for making scarves.
When the weather starts to turn and things get a bit chilly, it’s time to whip up one of the most popular knitting and crochet projects – scarves!
They’re brilliant beginner projects that can be made of just a long rectangle of simple stitches, but they also have an incredibly wide range of design possibilities and can be made in many different shapes and sizes.
Making a new scarf each year is one of those quintessential moments that marks the transition into autumn/winter and means we can indulge in some new scarf yarn.
Best yarn for scarves
1. Lion Brand Scarfie Yarn
If you want to get started on a scarf straight away with no worries about yarn quantities, then the name alone should tell you the Lion Brand Scarfie yarn is one of the best yarns for scarves!
This chunky yarn has been specifically designed for knitting and crocheting scarves with minimal effort. One ball gives you enough yarn to make a full length scarf, meaning you can sit back and enjoy those stitches without running out of yarn!
It’s a fabulous blend of 78% acrylic and 22% wool, giving you the feel of soft natural fibres while also making it durable and easy to care for.
Plus the Scarfie yarn features a fabulous ombre self-striping dye pattern, automatically giving your crochet and knit items a whole load of colourful character.
And if you’d prefer a lighter weight scarf, there’s also the Lion Brand Scarfie Lite range which gives you enough yarn to make a light and airy scarf in 4ply yarn.
2. King Cole Riot chunky yarn
We’re big fans of the King Cole Riot yarn, and once you’ve seen the colours we think you will be too!
This chunky yarn is made from a blend of 70% premium acrylic and 30% wool, which is quite a surprise when you first touch it. Thanks to its roving style construction (essentially a yarn with an almost non-existent twist) it has a lovely plump and squishy feel to it.
It’s another self-striping scarf yarn that blends colours beautifully, whether they’re neon carnival tones, pretty pastel combos or rich autumn shades.
3. Cascade 220 Superwash Aran
Not everyone loves multi-coloured makes, and if you’re someone who prefers straight-up solid colours then you can’t go wrong with Cascade 220 superwash yarn.
There are quite a few variations of the 220 range, going from delicate 4ply to Grande chunky. We’ve chosen the Superwash Aran as our preferred yarn for scarves, as you’ll be able to hook a scarf quickly and still show off your fancy stitch-work!
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It’s a 100% merino yarn with a nicely defined twist and natural halo, with a great range of colours available including plenty of deep primary colours and natural shades.
4. Lang Yarns Cashmere Big yarn
When it comes to fancy fibres, you can’t get more luxurious than cashmere.
This super-special yarn by Lang does come with a high price tag, but the super-chunky weight will give you big plump stitches that mean you can make a scarf in no time at all!
It’s available in a range of solid neutral shades, with a few deep and bold colours too. It’s the perfect choice for if you need to make a special scarf in a hurry!
5. Paintbox Yarns Chunky Pots
Here’s another self-striping yarn that’s ideal for colourful knitted and crocheted scarves. Paintbox chunky pots are a fabulous yarn cake made up of 100% acrylic, which is super-easy to care for – you can machine wash, tumble dry and even iron it on cool settings.
There’s 11 different colourful combo’s to choose from including some fabulously bright tones, giving you different striping effects depending on the width of your project or where you start with the yarn.
Paintbox yarns are Lovecraft's own-brand yarn so there’s also plenty of free patterns available that use these fab yarn cakes, such as their essential crochet cowl pattern that is made with just one yarn cake, or their essential knitted shawl pattern that uses two cakes.
6. Drops Snow chunky yarn
Drops create a wide range of different and affordable yarns, with their yarns often coming in a large colour palette. Their Drops Snow yarn (formerly known as Drops Eskimo) is a fabulous single ply chunky yarn made from 100% wool, with a loose and lofty roving style.
One of our favourite things about this yarn is that it hasn’t been superwash treated, which means that it’s suitable for felting! This is where the fibres can blend and ‘felt’ together when washed and agitated, which gives you a whole extra tactile dimension and can totally transform scarves made from simple stitches.
7. Hayfield Spirit DK yarn
Hayfield are another brand that specialise in creating quality and versatile yarns at affordable prices. Their Spirit DK yarn is an excellent choice for knitted and crochet scarves, and comes with plenty of yarn on a single ball (345m on a 100g ball).
It’s made from 80% acrylic and 20% wool, giving you that natural feel with added reliability and strength. However, it’s the colours that are once again the star of the show. It’s a self-striping yarn with a slight stone-washed style dye-effect, giving you a scarf yarn that creates nicely defined stripes with lovely gentle ombre transitions.
- Buy Hayfield Spirit DK direct from Sirdar
- Buy Hayfield Spirit DK from Lovecrafts
- Buy Hayfield Spirit DK from Wool Warehouse
8. Rowan Big Wool
You can’t go wrong with bold colours and super-chunky wool and this one from Rowan says it all in the name! Rowan Big Wool can be used to whip up super-sized scarves in no time at all.
It’s a 100% wool yarn with a crisp and strongly defined twist, which is perfect for showing off fancy stitches such as cables.
There’s also a brilliant range of colours available including some stunningly bright tones, so you can make that super-size striped scarf in all of your favourite shades!
Picking the right yarn
If you’re new to the wonderful world of yarn, it can be a bit confusing when choosing the right yarn for a project. But you can find loads of useful info in our beginner’s guide to yarn weights, or take a look at our guide to the best yarn for crochet.
The length of your scarf is completely down to personal preference, but there are a few things to consider. Think about how you want your scarf to be worn – will it be tied in a simple knot or wrapped round multiple times?
The width can also make a difference, a wide scarf will need to be longer than a skinny scarf to ensure it can be wrapped easily around the neck.
Here are some standard measurements for scarf lengths, but this is just a guide – as a general rule for a comfortable length, it should be almost the same length as the person’s height.
- Small – 6 x 40 inches
- Medium – 8 x 60 inches
- Large – 10 x 70 inches
As you might imagine, there’s no simple answer to how much yarn is needed to make a scarf. Multiple factors such as the yarn weight, stitches used, length and shape of the scarf will all make a difference to the amount of yarn needed.
There are a few tricks and techniques to help you plan your projects though.
Firstly is that essential step of making a tension square. This is particularly useful if you’re using any fancy or textured stitches that would use up more yarn than a flat piece of fabric.
When you’ve made your tension square, weigh it on some scales. Once you have a weight for an area of fabric, you can simply multiply it to your desired size and have a good idea of how much scarf yarn is needed (by weight).
Even without making a physical tension square, most yarns will give you an indication of an average tension measurement on the label which you can use in the same way.
Some yarn brands will tell you an average of how many of their skeins or balls of wool are needed for particular projects. This may be included in the information on the ball band, or may even be via a custom tool such as We Are Knitters’ yarn calculator.
Thirdly, you can skip the maths all together! There’s been a bit of a rise in yarn brands producing yarn balls and skeins that are specifically designed to give you enough yarn to make a scarf on a single ball.
Get the right yarn for your scarf
There are some amazing yarns out there, but it’s also really important to think about how your scarf will feel as well as how it looks. Many people love the feel of real wool yarn, but it can irritate those with sensitive skin.
Acrylic yarns generally don’t affect allergies and are great for using with kid’s scarfs as they can be easily washed, plus they’re suitable for vegans too!
Get started on your scarf
Matt Spiers is a crochet artist and designer who has been overseeing Gathered's crochet articles for over 2 years. He previously worked as Digital Assistant for Simply Crochet magazine and is our in house video editing pro. What started as a hobby a decade ago led to Matt developing a passion (and then a career) with crochet. As well as still regularly writing and designing for Simply Crochet magazine, Matt is a crochet artist in his own right, having displayed and created crochet installations at festivals and fibre events across the UK. You can keep up to date with Matt at @onemancrochet on Instagram.
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