Special crochet threads are usually treated threads. They are very soft threads, 100% cotton. And, if you want to make quality items, of excellent quality.
The most important feature of these threads, which differentiates them from thread for other use, is that they are mercerized.
It is a special procedure for treating cotton. It was invented by JhJohnon Mercer in 1844. Mercer was an English scientist who specialized in textile issues. Later, in 1890 the system was perfected by H. A. Lowe. This process involves treating cotton fibers with sodium hydroxide. The mercerization swells, and brings shine and softness to the cotton strands.
The process of John Mercer, from where this word comes, mercerization, achieved a swollen fiber, with a lot of resistance and that managed to make the fiber better at absorbing the different inks and dyes. The problem was that during the application of this treatment, the total volume of material was greatly reduced.
H. A. Lowe's contribution to this system was to retain the tight cotton fiber during the process to prevent it from shrinking. He got what he wanted and also got a glossy finish for crochet threads.
This mercerizing process alters cotton fiber, and causes the walls of plant cells to inflate and transform into reflective surfaces. This causes the silk-like shine and softness of the crochet threads that we enjoy so much.
The current mercerizing system continues to use this process developed more than a hundred and fifty years ago. Some crochet threads have double mercerization, which gives them twice the strength and shine. They are more expensive, but useful when you need threads that have even more quality.
In crochet, in addition to using cotton as a raw material, other materials can be used. We can use wools of different types, such as mohair or cashmere. You can also use materials such as bramante, silk, raffia, macramé (a decorative textile made by knotting and weaving), metal threads: silver and gold, acrylics, fabric strips, leather laces and the list goes on.
There are countless different options in today's crochet threads. They are almost limitless and each one can help you continue to reach new levels of creativity.
An important rule when choosing a ball is to rub it against your skin to feel it in contact with the body. If the touch is soft and warm, it will be a good choice and you won't be disappointed when you make a wearable. This test should be done whenever we buy balls, but especially when we want to knit baby clothes (as even more care is needed), seek out threads you find skin is delicate, soft and smooth to your skin.
Tip: It is preferable to use threads that can be machine washed.
Crochet yarns are sold in 150 gram skeins and in 25, 50 and 100 gram balls. The balls are ready for use when they are bought, but the skeins, must be altered before using them, you will have to make them balls.
The ideal thickness of yarn will depend on the kind of work you plan to do. There are factors that can influence this thickness, such as spinning type, moisture, or storage.