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Something you’ll learn very quickly is, that there are MANY different yarn weights. It will start to make your head spin!
Yarn can be made of animal hair or fur, manufactured plants, or synthetic fiber. Animal fibers include worm silk, sheep’s wool, alpaca fur, musk ox quiviut, rabbit angora fur, angora goat mohair. Some common plant fiber yarns are made from cotton, linen from the flax plant, and ramie which is from an Asian shrub, soy, bamboo, pine and other plants like hemp. Synthetic fibers include acrylic, nylon, polyester, rayon and you can even make your own from recycled materials like t shirts and plastic shopping bags! A good way to get acquainted with what is out there is to go to your local craft supplier or craft section at your local department store and just look around at the different types of yarns before you buy.
Why does yarn fiber matter?
Feel and appearance of the yarn is going to matter greatly when it comes to your finished product. Factors like absorbency, loft, handle and elasticity as well as drape (how it looks, feels and fits once the yarn is worked into a fabric) will greatly determine which kind of yarn you will want to use, and your project will be a major factor in that. If you are creating an afghan for an older person or small baby, a softer more luxurious yarn might be a better choice in comparison to something that will be used by a small child as they might need something that can withstand a lot of use and wear, and in that case a yarn made with a synthetic fiber might be a better choice.
How to read yarn labels
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