Telling Yarns

If you have visited The Craft Cabin recently you may have seen the amazing variety of yarns we stock from brands such as Stylecraft and King Cole. There are so many different types of yarn to choose from, with beautiful textures, interesting fibres and exciting blends along with classic, traditional yarn. But which one is best for your next crochet or knitting project?

Yarn or Wool?

People often refer to any knitting material as wool. However, wool is technically only wool when it is 100% wool. Yarn is a better term to use as yarn can be a mix of any natural or synthetic fibres.

Natural or Synthetic?

Natural fibres include wool, cotton, silk, linen, cashmere and alpaca. Each type has its own characteristic quality which lend themselves to different types of projects, so here we will give you an idea of a few options that may inspire you!

  • Wool: from the fleece of a sheep, this is made into either pure 100% wool yarns or blended with other fibres. Very warm and hard-wearing, this is great for winter jumpers, hats, scarves and gloves. There are various different types of wool too; Lambswool is very soft and Merino has long fibres and is another great choice for clothes worn against the skin.
  • Alpaca: this has a luxurious feel and is one of the warmest natural fibres. This is perfect for ski hats and thick cosy jumpers and socks.
  • Cashmere: this goat hair fibre is ultra-luxurious and is another good choice for close to the skin knitwear like scarves, snoods or sweaters. It is light but very strong and often goes further than a pure wool or cotton. It needs a little more after-care, and finished items need to be dry-cleaned.
  • Mohair: another goat hair fibre, this time from the angora goat. This can be quite a challenging yarn as its hairy appearance makes it difficult to see the structure of the knitting as you go. However, its finished result makes really funky oversized jumpers or accessories. Mohair is not advisable for baby-wear as it may shed easily.
  • Bamboo: modern technology has enabled us to derive fibres from the inside of bamboo canes, creating a super-sleek imitation of silk fibre. This would be ideal for lightweight shrugs and shawls.
  • Matt Cotton: this yarn is very robust and can last for decades if cared for correctly. It is therefore very good for home-ware projects and shoulder bags and accessories.
  • Silk: This delicate and shiny fibre is made from the cocoon of the silkworm caterpillar. It is ideal for wedding or christening gifts.
  • Linen: derived from the flax plant, this yarn is soft and breathable suitable for lightweight cardigans and tops to wear in warmer weather.

Synthetic fibres used to make yarn include acrylic, viscose and rayon. Through a chemical process these materials are twisted together and dyed to make various colours and blends. Acrylic yarn is by far the most popular. It is great for people who are allergic to wool, it is moth-proof and is safe for machine washing. It also tends to hold its shape better as it has less elasticity than natural fibres.

Crocheted Blanket

Your Next Project

So what type of yarns have you worked with before? I hope you are feeling suitably inspired to try something new, and we would love to hear your ‘yarns’ about what you have made!

In The Craft cabin we sell a number of the yarns above in various colours and blends. So pop into the shop and have a look around!

With acknowledgements to www.craftyarncouncil.com and The Craft Bible published by Dorling Kindersley.

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