Gone are the days when crochet and knitting were seen as dull pastimes for aunties and grandmothers everywhere. The world has come a long way since then, embracing the power of yarn to help people revamp their fashion sense and turn heads wherever they happen to be.

There’s nothing quite like the bright colors and warm and fuzzy feel you can achieve with a high-quality hand-crafted item of clothing. Any piece you create out of this versatile fiber makes an instant statement, which is why you need to carefully consider how you work it into a new look. Here are five tips to keep you on the right track:

Keep it Affordable

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There’s no point in overspending on designer materials when there are perfectly serviceable alternatives available. Sites such as Yarnspirations carry yarn for every budget that looks just as vibrant and will prove just as durable as anything else on the market.

Think of it this way: it’s how a garment looks and not the price you pay that determines whether or not it adds to your style. This means that the design and construction of your craft, both elements within your control, are the ultimate arbiters of what you consider to be fashionable.

Purposeful Patterns and Designs

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It’s important to trust your instincts and follow what you like. If you only wear what you think is beautiful, you will radiate self-assurance no matter the time of day. Whether that’s a pair of spiral-patterned crochet socks, or a capelet fit for a fairy-tale princess, it’s your first impression in front of the mirror that matters most. Fashion isn’t about impressing anybody but yourself, so make way for that outfit you’ve always wanted but feel too embarrassed to try because of what people might say. Let them talk as you strut by and your clothes speak for themselves.

You also need to learn about the thickness or weight of the yarn in your creations to match them with appropriate pieces into fabulous outfits. You may find that a scarf made from luxuriously thick jumbo yarn pairs better with hooped earnings than with bangles on the wrist. Or perhaps you knitted yourself a lovely cardigan out of worsted weight yarn and prefer to wear it only with a certain collared shirt or shade of lipstick. It’s really all about experimentation to express your most authentic self.

The Right Tools

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If you want your yarn garments to be as gorgeous as can be, you’ll need top-notch tools to get the job done. Not only that, they’ll also have to fit the specifications of the project you’re interested in tackling.

When it comes to knitting needles, look for products made of anodized aluminum so they’ll stand up to regular use. In addition, take some time to compare the length of your hands to the length of your needles to make sure they fit comfortably. If available, choose a brand of knitting needles that come color-coded by size for your convenience.

When it comes to crochet hooks, aluminum is again the metal of choice because it’s easy to polish and treat with heat to maximize durability. If it suits your fancy, some hooks come with an in-line head so you don’t have to twist your wrist as much with every stitch. This not only conserves your energy; it helps your stitches stay uniform throughout. Other optional features include ergonomic handles for easy gripping and reduced strain, and U.S. and metric sizes printed on the hooks themselves.

Pay special attention to your hooks’ gauge so you can match it with the yarn weight your project calls for. If you’re working on a blanket in baby weight yarn, for example, which requires about 25 stitches every 4 inches, you’ll need hooks in the range of E 4-7 according to U.S. specifications, and between 3.5-4.5 mm according to the metric system. Anything smaller would result in a greater number of stitches than are practically necessary, or not enough stitches to properly hold your project together.

The Right Guides

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One of the benefits of crafting with yarn is that there’s a large community of like-minded knitting and crochet enthusiasts happy to share their skills with beginners. A quick search online will reveal free patterns galore, tutorials aplenty, and projects that cover the gambit of clothing, accessories, and home-décor.

You could be making pullovers for your loved ones in the morning, pleated pillows for your couch in the afternoon, and felt door-knob organizers in the evening, and not even make a dent in the thousands of possibilities at hand. The only limit to what you can do is how far your imagination is willing to take you. Dream big and craft away!

Think Outside the Box

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The key here is not to be different for its own sake but because you find it compelling to use yarn in an unfamiliar way. You want to stay true to how you want to look without compromising and just going with what’s popular at the moment. This will go a long way toward boosting your confidence and helping you feel like the best version of yourself in every situation.

One way to carve out your unique style with yarn is to accessorize with it. Instead of a jacket or sweater, a light shawl with a staggered edge could make your spring walks feel like you’re strutting down the runway. You could even complement it with a headband to give your ensemble a touch of classic 1920s glamor.

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You might also consider a yarn clutch or purse with a simple ruffled or mosaic pattern for an haute couture look without the retail markup. Not only will it be soft to the touch, it’ll be a conversation piece the next time you sit down for a nice dinner out on the town.

All it takes is an online tutorial, well-crafted materials, and some free knitting or crochet patterns to stand out among the crowd. Let the wide world of yarn be your guide and you’ll soon be setting trends instead of following them.