Whether you knit or not, you are all probably familiar with yarn. It is a textile based either on natural or synthetic fibers. The tiny fibers are spun together into strands of different thicknesses. The thickness of the yarn is an important factor which affects the feel or the yarn, but also the drape of a cloth or the definition of the stiches.
However, the nature of the yarn is far more important that the thickness, as it affects how the yarn feels and how it behaves in certain conditions. There are dozens of types of yarn, but today we will talk about the pros and cons of the yarns which are most commonly used in knitting and crochet projects.
These yarns are cheaper and they are usually very easy to work with.
· Rayon is the most popular synthetic yarn, and the one that behaves the best, as it does a great job imitating the properties of natural fibers. It has a great drape and it doesn’t retain heat, so it is perfect for summer clothes. On the downside, it doesn’t have elasticity, it deteriorates quite fast, and due to the fact that it doesn’t retain warm, it is not recommended for winter clothes.
· Nylon is a synthetic alternative to silk. It resembles rayon in terms of smoothness and shine. It also doesn’t retain heat, but unlike yarn, it deteriorates slower and it is highly resistant to tears.
· Acrylic is also a great synthetic yarn. It is very durable, affordable and machine washable. It also has a great stitch definition and it is non-allergenic. On the downside, acrylic yarn has a rough texture and it is flammable, so it is not recommended for various home projects like pot holders or candle holders.
Natural yarns can be made of either plant or animal fibers.
· Wool – This is by far the most common natural yarn, and the oldest one as well. It is spun from the fleece of sheep. Common wool is very affordable and easy to work with. There are some types of wool, made from the either the fleece of special sheep breeds, or from the first shedding of common sheep. These types of wool are softer, but also more expensive. Nonetheless, normal wool is also a great yarn. It retains warmth well, so it is perfect for winter clothes. It is also durable and resistant to tear. On the downside, wool is a rather rough fabric, and it is also prone to pilling.
· Cotton – A cheap, smooth and easy to work with fabric, cotton is perfect for all seasons. It has a very good drape and it is ideal for simple stich work. On the downside, it doesn’t have any elasticity (unless it is mixed with synthetic fibers) and it is prone to pilling.
· Merino wool – This wool is made from the fleece of Merino sheep. It is used to make Malabrigo yarn, which is a more expensive yarn, but its price is well justified by its many benefits. Malabrigo yarn breathes very well and has great moisture resistance. Moreover, it has great heating and cooling properties, so it can be used for clothes of any season. It is also very durable, it has great odor resistance, it dries fast, and unlike normal wool, it doesn’t itch.
· Mohair – This is a very luxurious fabric. It has a soft sheen and it is very smooth. It also has a great elasticity, so it is not prone to sagging or wrinkles. However, due to its fluffiness, it is rather hard to work with, and it is not recommended for high definition stitches.
· Cashmere – Also a luxurious fabric, cashmere is very soft, and believe it or not, its softness improves with each wear. It has great insulating properties, so it is ideal for winter clothes. On the downside, it doesn’t breathe very well and it is prone to piling.