The first time I walked into the yarn aisle at a craft store with the intent to purchase and buy yarn, I was completely overwhelmed! There are baskets upon baskets, and usually multiple rows filled with so many varying colors, thicknesses, and, most importantly to me, varying softness levels.
A terrible habit, but one I’ve never been able to break, is slowly walking down the aisle, feeling every skein to determine if it was soft enough to be chosen for one of my projects. It’s an especially terrible habit because at a few stores the softest were going for $80/skein!
But you’re a beginner, so don’t let those scary prices put you off. You can get some really cheap yarn for a few dollars. For a few more dollars, you can get some nice quality wool.
Three different weights of yarn.
A quick glance down the yarn aisle at any major store will have a variety of skeins in a variety of prices. In my experience, if I shop at the larger craft stores, like Michael’s or even Wal-Mart, yarn will range from $1/skein to about $15/skein.
I recommend buying only one skein for now. Since you’re beginning, you’re new and you’re most likely making smaller projects so only one is necessary at the moment.
Since you are beginning to knit, I recommend using aran or worsted weight yarn. Sometimes it will be labeled as 10 ply as well. Aran or worsted weight yarn is thick enough to see and work easily with, and can be used on any number of projects
Bulky weight yarn is also acceptable, but I do NOT recommend super bulky. While it seems large and easy to knit with in theory, it is very easy to get confused and begin knitting one super bulky stitch as two stitches, and soon your project will begin to grow – which is not what you want!
For similar reasons, yarn weights smaller than worsted weight are smaller and it can be harder to see what you’re doing.
So in summary, for your first project: Aran/worsted weight yarn. One ball. Any color. Any material.