knitting basics

What is knitting yarn made from?

KnittingLike Quilting, Knitting has been in existence for hundreds of years. However, it is only in the last few that it has seen resurgence in popularity. It’s difficult to say exactly why this is the case. Austerity is one possibility, saving the environment another. You could also argue that it is incredibly satisfying wearing or using a knitted item that you’ve made yourself.

In fact there is evidence to suggest that its recent popularity is connected with its ability to reduce stress and pain.

Understanding Knitting


The basis of knitting is simple. You need a needle or two; depending on what type of knitting you wish to do. You also need some yarn. Websites such as the has a fantastic selection of quality yarn in different colors and types.

Needles come in different sizes allowing you to vary the stitch size and create your perfect garment.

But What Is Yarn?

Yarn is the common term for a substance made up of interlocked fibers in one continuous line. It is associated with knitting, sewing, embroidery and even rope making.

Yarn itself can be made from natural fibers or synthetic ones. You’ll need to verify which type you have before you purchase and start using your yarn. The most common options are:


Wool is the most common form of yarn and is usually from a sheep. However it is possible to use the coat of many other animals such as lamas, camels or any type of animal that has fur.

The coat is removed and then stretched to enable the extraction of the individual fibers. These are then woven together to make the yarn. The number of fibers woven together will determine the thickness of the yarn.

Although sheep’s wool is the most common you may be surprised to realize that yarn can be made from alpaca, mohair and even cashmere.

Synthetic Yarn

The alternative to animals based yarn is synthetic; man-made yarn. The most common of these types of yarn are cotton and polyester. These are not usually used for knitting!

Synthetic fibers can be classified as staple, low or filament. The difference is simply whether they are a continuous rope or just one filament strand.

Colors Of Yarn

Animal based products that are used to create knitting yarn can shrink when washed and may react poorly to extreme heat. However they can also be dyed to create some truly stunning color choices. You can even get multi color yarn to really make a piece stand out.

The dye can be natural or artificial depending on the manufacturer’s choice; you simply choose the one you like the most and start knitting with your yarn.

Perhaps the greatest thing about natural, animal derived yarn is that it causes no harm to the animals and there is an almost continuous supply of it. In this sense it is environmentally friendly and generally more cost effective than purchasing an item of clothing.

You will need to practice your skills a little though before you knit yourself a new jumpsuit!


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5 thoughts on “What is knitting yarn made from?

  1. I like the idea of synthetic yard as compared to animal based yarn. I really need to get back into knitting. It’s so relaxing.

  2. I love to knot but recently don’t have the time, over the years yarns have changed they don’s seem as soft or durable than they were years ago

  3. Thanks for the informative post,I loved to knit when I was younger but my MS just bothers my hands too much these days !

  4. I love to knit but when I do it is like I get a fur ball in my throat. It is so upsetting. I think it is some chemical they put on it. I also have had this problem with some new furniture.

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