Yarn Fiber 101- What’s in your yarn

yarn fiber

Yarn Fiber 101, is a look at the common fibers that are used to make yarns.  It is important for you to understand the attributes about the fibers when you are choosing a yarn for a specific project.  Do you want a yarn that is warm and acts as an insulator?  Do you want a yarn that is light for a flowing shawl?  Fibers are derived from 3 sources; Animals, Plants and Synthetics. The fibers involved in the creation of the yarn product are just the first step in learning how to choose the prefect yarn for your project.  The method of making the yarn is also VERY important and will be covered in a future post.  In this post will explain each common yarn fiber to you.  It is important for you to know what’s in your yarn.  An educated consumer is very good consumer.

Here is a brief list attributes about the common fibers:

Acrylic – A synthetic fiber, outstanding wickability and washability. Great color fastness and resistant to sunlight degradation

AlpacaAnimal fiber from a really cute animal.  The fiber is very soft, light and warm.  The fibers are semi-hollow giving the fiber extra insulated value.

Christine’s daughter Brooke with an adorable Alpaca. He makes great alpaca fiber.

Cotton – A plant fiber, the has wonderful absorption qualities.  It breaths easy, low maintenance, easy to wear.

LinenPlant fiber that is derived from a stem of a flax plant.  It has cooling properties, resistance to degradation by heat.

Christine and her Brother at, William Ross, Irish Linen Spinners in Belfast Ireland, circa 1996

Nylon– A synthetic fiber with incredible strength, resistant to abrasion and low moisture absorbency.  Can be spun or filament.

Polyester – A strong synthetic fiber that is resistant to stretching, abrasion, wrinkle and mildew.  Also, spun or filament.

Rayon – another synthetic fiber with high absorbency, it is soft and comfortable and drapes well.  Available as spun fiber or filament.

Wool – A popular animal fiber.  Wool absorbs water slowly, allowing the wearer to stay dry. Great insulation do to the fiber construction.  Resistant to abrasion and naturally flame retardant (self-extinguishes when burned)

We hope this helped inform you about the common yarn fiber types and will guide you in choosing the perfect yarn.

More types of yarn fiber will be discussed in Yarn Fiber 102. Sign up for our Newsletter to stay informed on all things Yarn.  You can also check out our What’s New page to see additional posts.

One of our pet peeves about some products in the market is miss leading the consumers.  For example, Microfiber is not a fiber.  Microfiber refers to the denier (staple length of the fiber) of a synthetic fiber.  The denier would be less than 1 to be considered microfiber.

So, How could cotton be microfiber? It can’t.  So when you see, soft Cotton Microfiber towels, they are not microfiber they are cotton.

What other yarn fiber would you would like to learn about? Post a comment below.

We would like to provide you with the best information possible.  We will be expanding on this subject of yarn fiber topic to teach you even more about the above fibers in future posts.

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