Types Of Yarn: The Ultimate Guide

Anyone that has a passion for knitting is also sure to have a big collection of yarn in their sewing room. You may have a big basket of different colors, ready for the next project or the next commission from friends and family. But, you may be restricting yourself a little if you keep going back to the same brands with the same types of yarn.

Exploring different types of yarn can open new doors for your hobbies.

There are lots of different styles of yarn on the market with various textures and properties that can enhance your work. You may find that a different fiber works better for the item you are trying to make. Or, there may be additional benefits to using an alternative form that you hadn’t considered.

Below, I have compiled a list of some of the different fabrics used to make yarn so you can compare their potential benefits. There are also some other considerations about the products that could make a difference when choosing the best types of yarn for your needs.

What are some of the different materials that yarn is made from?

1) Wool.

Wool is one of the most popular materials when it comes to yarn because it is so soft, easy to use, easy to dye, and just a great way to make some beautiful garments and blankets. Some people find wool a little bit itchy, however, so it isn’t for everyone. Still, most friends and family should appreciate a weighted blanket or cozy jumper made with colorful wool yarn.

You can also go a little more specific with the type of wool that you get by choosing wool from a specific type of sheep or goat. Merino wool products are some of the most popular and expensive in the world because of their density and quality. Therefore, getting finer Merino wool yarn can add some luxury to a project – at the right price. Then there is Cashmere wool yarn, which is one of the softest around. The popularity of farming Alpacas also means a rise in Alpaca wool and Alpaca yarn.

2) Cotton.

Cotton is a great alternative to wool if you find wool too heavy and itchy for your needs. Cotton can be knitted together to create some great alternative products and lighter clothes. It isn’t as good at holding its shape, but it is still a great choice if you need something natural in a great color.

3) Silk.

Silk is a really interesting fiber because it is so nice against the skin but, it’s also so much stronger than you expect. 100% silk yarn would be very difficult to work with compared to cotton and wool because it is so slippery. So, I recommend looking for something that is a blend with quality wool. This makes things a little easier and you still get a nice feel

4) Bamboo.

Bamboo is a material that has grown in popularity in recent years. There is a lot of love for the way it feels on the skin. It is light and breathable and you can get some great durable shirts and socks made from this eco-friendly option. Therefore, it makes sense for there to be bamboo yarn as an alternative to some of the other fibers available.

5) Hemp.

This is another natural material that has grown in popularity over the years. Hemp is easy to grow and produces a lot of fiber, making it another great sustainable choice. You can also get some interesting effects in the weave with hemp that you wouldn’t get with other materials.

6) Acrylic.

acrylic yarn
Bright acrylic yarn

We also have to mention acrylic yarn because while this isn’t a natural material with the same benefits as other options here, it is still very popular and easy to use. This partly comes down to its cost and durability. You can also get a wide range of bright colors for impactful designs.

Don’t forget about novelty yarn, such as arm knitting yarn.

I also want to take a moment to mention arm knitting yarn. This is a great alternative product where manufacturers create much thicker, heavier pieces of yarn that you can knit with your arms. This leads to some cozy, oversized blankets and other items that have a great look and feel. If you want to learn more about this yarn, you can check out my other guide on the best arm knitting yarn, which has some helpful recommendations.

Take your time to find yarn that really suits your needs for your knitting or crocheting projects.

Finding the best yarn is about more than just the feel and the color of the material. It helps to be aware of where the material comes from and the details of the properties to make a more ethical choice. This is especially important if you plan to use the yarn to make items for friends and family, or for sale in an online business. Your recipients and customers may want to know more about the origin of the yarn to be sure that they are comfortable wearing it. This is where the following factors come in:

1) The use of animal products in the yarn.

2) The green credentials of the product.

3) Whether or not the wool is organic.

Choosing vegan yarn for your projects.

Vegan yarn is growing in popularity these days as more and more consumers question the ethics of sheep farming and wearing the wool coat of another animal. If you decide to use wool yarn that is authentic it helps to declare this to your customers and to be clear on the origin. If you are making items for friends and family that are vegan, you can source a different type of wool.

Choosing environmentally-friendly yarn for your projects.

Then there are the issues in buying yarn that has synthetic materials and considerable air miles during shipping. Synthetic materials like polyester and acrylic require the use of fossil fuels and aren’t biodegradable. Natural materials like cotton are more appealing, while bamboo has the added benefit of sustainability because it is such a fast-growing crop.

Choosing organic yarn for your projects.

Finally, there is the additional environmental issue of organic yarn. Organic yarn means strands processed from the sheep/goat to the final product without any chemical or unnatural processes. This isn’t that common because many farms used chemical dips and medical treatments on the sheep. Also, there is the issue of the cleaning process when making the wool strands. Still, you can find organic options and these should be clearly labeled and certified.

Which are the best types of yarn for your needs?

It is important to take the time to source the best types of yarn for your needs, and to suit the preferences of friends and family. You might be used to using acrylic yarn but, this might not be so popular with those that prefer natural products. From there you have to consider the source of the material, and if it is organic or not. If you love using wool, others might find it is too itchy or refuse to wear animal products. This is why it is so important to broaden our horizons and try new types of yarn. Not only can you please your recipients but, you can also learn new approaches and maybe make something that looks and feels better than before.