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Let's Talk Different Yarn Types

Written by Cindy Schumacher

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Posted on May 11 2024

Ever Wonder What Yarn You Should Use

Ever walk into a yarn store or search an online yarn store and see the vast array of yarns available and wonder which one is the perfect one for your project?  Personal preference and pattern choices do impact the selection of the ideal yarn for your project.

 

Natural Animal Fibres

1. Wool Yarn

Wool is one of the most common animal-based yarns and is derived from sheep. It is known for its warmth, elasticity, and durability. Wool yarn is available in various weights, making it suitable for a wide range of projects. Additionally, it has natural moisture-wicking properties, keeping you warm even when it's damp.

Because wool yarn can be "natural" or superwash, check out this post that explains the difference.

2. Cashmere Yarn

Cashmere yarn comes from the soft undercoat of cashmere goats. It is highly prized for its luxurious feel and exceptional warmth. Cashmere yarn is incredibly soft and lightweight, making it perfect for cozy sweaters, scarves, and shawls.

3. Mohair Yarn

Mohair yarn is made from the hair of Angora goats. It is known for its lustrous sheen and silky texture. Mohair yarn is lightweight, durable, and has excellent insulating properties. It is often used for creating fluffy, textured garments and accessories and is held double with another yarn.  Most mohair yarns are mixed with another yarn type such as silk and wool.

4. Alpaca Yarn

Alpaca yarn is derived from the fleece of alpacas, which are native to the Andes Mountains. It is known for its softness, warmth, and hypoallergenic properties. Alpaca yarn is available in various natural colors and blends well with other fibers. It is ideal for creating cozy blankets, hats, and mittens.

5. Angora Yarn

Angora yarn is made from the fur of Angora rabbits. It is incredibly soft, lightweight, and has a fluffy appearance. Angora yarn is often blended with other fibers to add warmth and softness to projects. It is commonly used for creating luxurious sweaters, scarves, and accessories.

6. Silk Yarn

Silk yarn is derived from the cocoons of silkworms. It is known for its smooth, lustrous texture and excellent drape. Silk yarn is lightweight, breathable, and has natural temperature-regulating properties. It is often used for creating elegant garments and accessories.

7. Yak Yarn

Yak yarn comes from the undercoat of yaks, which are native to the Himalayan region. It is similar to cashmere in terms of softness and warmth. Yak yarn is lightweight, hypoallergenic, and has excellent insulating properties. It is a great choice for creating cozy winter wear.

These are just a few examples of animal-based yarns available in the market. Each type of yarn has its own unique qualities, making them suitable for different projects and preferences. Whether you're looking for warmth, softness, or luxury, animal-based yarns offer a wide range of options to explore.

 

Plant Based Fibres

1.  Cotton Yarn

Cotton yarn is made from the fibers of the cotton plant. It is a popular choice among crafters due to its softness, breathability, and versatility. Cotton yarn is known for its ability to absorb moisture, making it ideal for warm weather garments and accessories. It is also hypoallergenic, making it suitable for those with sensitive skin. Additionally, cotton yarn is easy to care for and most can be machine washed and dried.

2.  Bamboo Yarn

Bamboo yarn is derived from the bamboo plant, a sustainable and eco-friendly resource. It is known for its silky texture and luxurious feel. Bamboo yarn has excellent drape and is often used for creating lightweight and flowing garments. It is also highly breathable and has natural antibacterial properties, making it a great choice for summer clothing. Bamboo yarn is easy to care for and can be machine washed.

3.  Linen Yarn

Linen yarn is made from the fibers of the flax plant. It is known for its strength, durability, and natural luster. Linen yarn has a crisp and cool feel, making it perfect for summer garments. It has excellent moisture-wicking properties, allowing it to absorb and release moisture quickly. Linen yarn softens with each wash, becoming even more comfortable over time. However, it requires special care and should be hand-washed or machine-washed on a gentle cycle.

4.  Hemp Yarn

Hemp yarn is derived from the fibers of the hemp plant. It is a strong and durable yarn that is resistant to stretching and pilling. Hemp yarn has a slightly rough texture and gets softer with each wash. It is known for its breathability and ability to regulate body temperature, making it suitable for all seasons. Hemp yarn is also naturally antimicrobial and hypoallergenic. It can be machine washed and dried, but it may benefit from air drying to maintain its shape.

 

Synthetic Fibres

1. Acrylic Yarn

Acrylic yarn is one of the most common types of synthetic yarns. It is made from a polymer called polyacrylonitrile and is known for its softness and lightweight feel. Acrylic yarn is also highly durable and resistant to fading, making it a great choice for projects that require frequent washing, such as baby blankets or garments. Additionally, acrylic yarn is available in a wide range of colors and is often more affordable than natural fibre yarns.

2. Nylon Yarn

Nylon yarn is another popular synthetic option. It is made from a type of polymer called polyamide and is known for its strength and elasticity. Nylon yarn is often used in projects that require durability, such as socks or bags. It is also resistant to mildew and abrasion, making it a great choice for outdoor or high-traffic items.

3. Polyester Yarn

Polyester yarn is made from a synthetic polymer called polyethylene terephthalate. It is known for its durability, wrinkle resistance, and ability to retain its shape. Polyester yarn is often used in projects that require structure, such as sweaters or home decor items. It is also resistant to stretching and shrinking, making it a reliable choice for long-lasting creations.

4. Rayon Yarn

Rayon yarn is made from regenerated cellulose fibres and is known for its softness and drape. It has a similar appearance to silk.  Rayon yarn is also highly absorbent, making it a great choice for summer garments or accessories.

5. Polypropylene Yarn

Polypropylene yarn is made from a type of thermoplastic polymer and is known for its moisture-wicking properties. It is often used in projects that require moisture control, such as athletic wear or socks. Polypropylene yarn is also lightweight and quick-drying, making it ideal for outdoor or active wear.

 

Natural and Man-Made?

Lyocell Yarn

There is one more fibre I want to talk about and that is Lyocell yarn.  It's a bit of a plant-based yarn and a bit of a man-made yarn.  Check out this post that explains all about it.  And be sure to check out Queensland Myrtle if you want to get your own to try out! 

 

And as always, if you need any assistance finding the perfect yarn for your project, I am here to help!  You can contact me at yarnplease@thewoolpirate.com.