Types of yarn for crocheting and knitting, their advantages and disadvantages

Compared with what lay on the shelves of twenty years ago, the current variety of materials and colors is amazing. From coarse and prickly sheep wool to the lightest goat down, from thin as cobwebs to openwork threads to awesome finger-thick ropes - such a wide choice can satisfy even the most exotic requests

Compared with what lay on the shelves of twenty years ago, the current variety of materials and colors is amazing. From coarse and prickly sheep wool to the lightest goat down, from thin as cobwebs to openwork threads to awesome finger-thick ropes - such a wide choice can satisfy even the most exotic requests. However, in all this splendor it is not difficult to get confused and completely lost if you do not know what you want. A small guide with a list of basic types of yarn for knitting with photos and names should help novice needleworkers.

What are the criteria to evaluate the yarn?

You can invent a lot of options to gradually tell what types of yarn are for knitting. The most obvious way is by the nature of the material. Here you can highlight the yarn:

  1. Organic origin - from natural fibers without additional chemical treatment (except, perhaps, staining). This yarn is valued for wearing comfort and good heat transfer. She, in turn, is also divided into yarn of plant and animal origin. The first is cotton, linen, silk (although there is a bit of a controversial point here, but more on that later). The second is the wool of all kinds of animals like sheep, goats, alpacas and camels. However, there are also some nuances. The fact is that the wool on the animal has several types of hair: the guard - long, thick and hard, the down - short, thin and very soft, and transitional - as you might guess, is something between the two previous ones. And in different varieties of wool different types of hair prevail. In the so-called fine-woold sheep, all wool is fluff. The rest of the sheep - coarse - in the cover is a mixture of all three or two (without transitional) types of hair. It should be noted that the whole yarn is not made entirely from down alone, because the fibers are too short to twist into a thread: they make a mixture of ordinary wool or synthetic fiber and separately combed down.
  2. Artificial yarn. Also made from natural fibers, is an impressive stage of chemical processing. The raw materials are either waste from the processing of natural fibers, such as cotton, or something unexpected like cellulose (wood). The appearance of products made of artificial yarn more interesting, but their operation is fraught with certain difficulties.
  3. Synthetic yarn is a product of organic synthesis. In order not to be frightened and not grumble "fu, chemistry", it is useful to know: any textile fiber is a polymer: a long-long molecule, consisting of a set of identical small molecules connected together - monomers. And if natural fibers are a polymer created by nature, chemical fibers are also a polymer, only artificially created from other molecules, which themselves do not bind in nature into polymers. Synthetic yarn has exceptional strength and resistance to various strains, but is not always convenient when worn frequently.

You can also distribute types of yarn for knitting (crochet and knitting), based on how the fibers are twisted into a thread. Recently, the imagination of designers is moving in this direction, so that on the shelves you can find quite bizarre and unexpected forms. The obvious fact is that the yarn can be twisted stronger or weaker, it makes no sense to stipulate separately - here and everything is clear. But the ways that twist, deserve attention.

  1. More or less traditional types of twist can be collected in one item. This is a thread consisting of several separate identical strands twisted together in one direction. Often the strands themselves also consist of individual strands twisted in the opposite direction. The names are given by the number of "end" strands in the thread - two, three and more - a strand thread.
  2. New ways of twisting threads are based on the use of strands of different thickness. So do the spiral - when a thin thread is twisted around a thick non-twisted strand (roving) in a spiral (wow!); Gimp - the same, only the second thread is added, the spiral of which is directed in the opposite direction. This also can be attributed to the yarn with thickenings and lumps - as you might guess, containing the above-mentioned thickenings and lumps in the roving yarn.
  3. A very interesting structure of the yarn is obtained if the strands in one thread twist at different intervals (some stronger, some weaker). So get a thread with knots - one of the strands sometimes "crawls out" of the overall structure, knocking into cones; boucle - if uniform rings are obtained instead of cones; corkscrew - strands are twisted to form a screw pattern. These types of yarn for knitting, as in paragraphs 2 and 3, are excellent for products with a simple pattern, because all the attention to itself pulls the unusual structure of the thread.
  4. Special mention deserves chenille, or plush yarn, as they still like to call it. Here everything is the opposite - at the base there are two tightly twisted thin strands, and on them is a fluffy bulk fiber. From chenille it is good to knit toys and children's things.
  5. Yarn with pompoms is a cord with lumps impaled on it. This thread is no longer just a result of twisting strands, but a work of design art. In order to get a good idea of ​​how it differs from the same threads with bulges and lumps, for commenting on this type of yarn for knitting a photo is simply necessary.

  6. Pile yarn and so-called weed is nothing but imitations for fur. They differ in that in finished products the pile yarn more resembles astrakhan fur; and grass is a very popular material for "fur" vests.
  7. Knitting yarn is quite an interesting phenomenon. The fact is that knitwear itself is a canvas already knitted from thin threads on a machine. And the threads of such yarn are simply tubes of such knitwear - smooth and hollow. Knitting yarn is very popular for home design, in the manufacture of children's clothes and various soft toys - from such material they turn out to be especially sweet and harmless. It is well suited for all methods of work - there are a great many interesting types of crochet knitting yarn. Stunning Japanese crafts — amigurumi — creatures made of balls filled with padding polyester are obtained from simple columns without nakid.

  8. Bulky yarn. The types of thick yarn for knitting include a great variety of different threads. They can be quite reasonable thickness - for knitting needles and hooks of 10-13 sizes, - necessary in order to quickly connect a large product (for example, outerwear). Especially among the types of knitting yarn for knitting, there are threads of completely crazy thickness. This, of course, is exotic, but individual keen needlewomen create charming rugs, carpets and even ottomans from such hoses.

  9. After the above-described delights, the strict English style of tweed yarn looks very moderate. This is a standard thickness of thread, necessarily of natural wool, twisted in a standard way, but all along with a small color inclusions. These inserts give the finished product a distinctive look. Tweed - a popular type of yarn for knitting, used mainly in the creation of traditionally wool products - scarves, sweaters and other things.
  10. For strict tweed is frivolous slightly unraveled yarn with Lurex. By adding certain synthetic fibers, the thread becomes shiny, like a material with a mirror coating. If you look at the photo of the types of yarn for knitting, then in general, the Lurex is very similar to the threads with sequins and beads - the same bright and elegant ones.
  11. Another rather interesting type of yarn is with ruffles. The material for quilling is attached to the main thread and as the knitting of the fabric is assembled, which makes it a good solution when finishing things.

Of course, the imagination of people is limitless, and you can still find a great variety of the most unusual and extravagant variations in the sale - the number and variety of photos with knitting on knitting needles from different types of yarn are breathtaking. It is not possible to tell about all at once, therefore we confine ourselves to this list of the most popular variations, and leave the rest for research to the most interested and courageous experimenters.

Wool detail

In the history of knitting, which dates back several centuries (and even millennia), wool remains the most common material for products. Its main advantages - ease of manufacture, availability of raw materials, the ability to perfectly keep warm - at all times more than cover the drawbacks (it is better to put up with nasty pellets than to die from the cold). With the expansion of trade relations in the world, wool from many countries began to fall on a large market, and the variety of wool yarns was enormous - from a funny alpaca, whose wool was worthy of wearing only the leaders of the Inca Empire, to the prosaic coarse Romanov sheep from central Russia. Now all this broadest choice is available to any needlewoman, and the list below is a small guide to what types of yarn for hand knitting are. Photos of some are presented in the material.

Sheep's wool

The most common. Among other "woolen" animals, sheep breeds are the most differentiated by the qualities of the sheared raw material. It depends on the ratio of the fluff (short and soft) and the guard or transitional hair (longer and harder). The more the latter, the coarser the wool. All products from sheep wool are inherent:

  • hygroscopicity - they absorb moisture well;
  • poor thermal conductivity - the word "bad" here, oddly enough, means "good": for materials with low thermal conductivity, a very slow process of heat exchange with the environment, that is, wool gives heat to your body for a very long time;
  • air permeability is a valuable quality of all natural fibers (as opposed to synthetic fibers). By slowing down the heat exchange, wool does not interfere with air exchange, providing excellent ventilation, and you do not sweat;
  • wear resistance - even with long-term use, wool is resistant to physical factors - it wears off a little, keeps its shape and fades slower than synthetic products.

However, with all the advantages of sheep wool, there are also drawbacks. These are peeling (the same notorious pellets), sensitivity to washing (it "sits down" in boiling water, wet - loses its shape) and allergy (also a scourge of many natural products). It is worth considering that any wool, not only sheep, is a favorite treat for the moth, which it eats in the closets for both cheeks.

Among all types of sheep wool, it is worthwhile to single out the merino wool - it is obtained from special fine-wool sheep breeds, in which only down grows. It is much thinner and lighter than ordinary sheep, and in terms of thermal characteristics it is not inferior to it.

Wool - the most common type of yarn for knitting. The photo of the products confirms this: a woolen cloth with knitting needles, though even, even with braids or with another relief pattern, looks smooth and neat.


Alpaca, which has recently become fashionable, is the wool of a lama of the same name. The yarn of alpaca does not form the pellets, but at the same time, compared with the sheep, it is softer, more pleasant and warmer. It has many natural shades - white, black, as well as a beige palette - from brown to light golden. In yarn, alpaca wool is almost never mixed with other species, so the skeins are decent.


This is a yarn from the wool of the Angora rabbit. Gentle and soft, surprisingly pleasant to the touch, it gives the finished product a characteristic silky sheen. Using it makes it harder for the length of the fiber - it is so short that it twists very badly into strands, and the hair begins to "climb" when worn. Therefore, Angora wool is used only in blends with other types of wool or synthetic fibers.

Camel's wool

Despite the seeming exoticism of the product, camel wool yarn is a fairly common material. Its unique feature is the hollow structure of the hair, which makes the material light and even warmer (the air has extremely low thermal conductivity). Camel down is also highly valued in the manufacture of yarn.


Mohair yarn is obtained from the wool of the Angora goats. In addition to the standard advantages of high-quality wool - lightness, ability to retain heat and softness - the mohair has such an interesting quality as fluffiness. Products from the wool of angora goats are as if enveloped in a cloud of air villi. However, mohair also has problems: just like angora, it has short and slippery fibers, which is why it is always used in yarn together with various additives.


One of the most luxurious types of wool. Pooh, which is combed from the Tibetan mountain goats of the Indian state of Kashmir (hence the outdated name of the yarn). After combing down fluff carefully sorted out, leaving only the downy fibers and removing the hard hair. Therefore, cashmere wool is extremely soft and airy. From the goat's down (but not from cashmere) the famous shawls and cobwebs of Orenburg masters also knit - the thread itself is so thin that the product can really be passed through the ring.

Vegetable yarn

The main advantages and disadvantages of yarn from plant fibers largely coincide with similar characteristics for wool: of the advantages - hygroscopicity and ventilation, maintaining a comfortable temperature regime, of the disadvantages - sensitivity to washing and wetting. Varieties of vegetable fibers are not so much compared with wool.

  1. Cotton is the most popular material for making lightweight items. Of all the types of yarn for crocheting, he is probably the most suitable - openwork napkins, collars and other cotton crochets go with a bang. In production, it is easier to process wool, so cotton yarn can be extremely diverse in its qualities.

  2. Flax - the material with the most durable fibers. Linen yarn is incredibly strong and durable. It does not fade and retains its shape after washing, unlike cotton products. This is the highest quality material for summer things - it regulates the temperature of the skin best of all, letting in air and not letting it overheat. In the heat of linen products are indispensable. One of their shortcomings can be considered the fact that flax fibers are very difficult to dye, so the color of the yarn is usually natural - off-white and similar to the tone.
  3. Silk - in an amicable way, silk thread is of vegetable origin - this is the secret of the silkworm gland. However, pure silk yarn does not happen - raw materials are added as an impurity, giving the material a characteristic soft sheen and elasticity (silk products do not wrinkle).

Artificial Yarn

The lion's share of all types of artificial yarn is viscose - recycled cellulose fiber, that is, wood. It is often also called rayon for its distinctive sheen. Viscose is successfully dyed - the colors of the yarn are bright and juicy. True, the strength of the fiber is not very high - over time, the product loses its shape.

Synthetic yarn

The breakthrough in organic synthesis that occurred as early as the 20th century gave the world many compounds that had not been found in nature before. One of the most important sections of industrial synthesis - the synthesis of polymers - besides rubber, PVC and Kevlar gave humanity an exciting variety of materials for tailoring and footwear. The cheapness, pliability and unpretentiousness of synthetic yarn helped her to gain popularity among many needlewomen.

At the heart of all synthetic fiber chains is carbon. Therefore, it is convenient to classify yarn by functional inclusions in carbon structures.

  1. Polyacrylonitrile (PAN), or common acrylic, is undoubtedly the most famous synthetic yarn. By its properties, acrylic is very similar to wool - it is elastic and does not fade, but, like wool, rolls over time. However, acrylic, unlike natural materials, is not eaten by moth, does not lose its shape when washing even in a typewriter and is remarkably cleaned with all sorts of "chemical" stain removers like gasoline or acetone. Of course, the main drawback of acrylic, like any synthetic fiber, is poor thermoregulation; what is most appreciated by natural materials is absent among synthetic materials.

  2. Polyamide fibers - caprone, nylon and others. The main material of hosiery, polyamide fiber is added to the yarn for durability of the finished product - it has an extremely high resistance to abrasion. Пряжа с добавлением капроновых нитей незаменима при вязке носков, рукавов и штанов - так они долго не вытрутся.
  3. Полиуретановые волокна, среди которых наиболее известные - лайкра, эластан и спандекс. Их главная черта - эластичность. Как и другие специализированные синтетические волокна, используются только в качестве добавок в пряжу, придавая ей эластичность, устойчивость (способность после растяжения быстро возвращаться в исходную форму) и несминаемость.

Как можно понять, сейчас большую часть рынка занимает пряжа не чисто одного вида сырья, а смесь нескольких волокон с разными полезными свойствами. Такая пряжа называется смесовой. Она вбирает в себя достоинства всех материалов, включенных в нее, а их недостатки часто нивелирует за счет удачного "соседства" волокон. Большинство торговых марок сейчас выпускает именно смесовые виды пряжи для вязания - "Газзал", "Коломбо", итальянские, английские и турецкие компании.