A yarn is a long, continuous thread wrapped around itself like a ball of fibers. There are many types of yarn, and depending on which one you use, the garment you are sewing will turn out to be very different.
The first thing you need to know regarding a yarn is that there are different types of yarn weights. Yarn weight basically refers to the thickness of the thread. More specifically, the six types of yarn weight are: super bulky, bulky, medium, light, fine, and super fine, with super fine obviously being the most delicate and expensive type, since it has about 30 stitches for every 4 inches. Now that you have an idea of weight standards, let’s take a look at the various types of yarn available in the market. Nylon, fibers, acrylic, viscose and polyester fibers belong to the synthetic types of yarn. For example, if you have taken up knitting as a hobby recently, then it is probably for the best if you tried acrylic yarn, since it is the least expensive among all types of yarn. The second most common type of yarn are natural fibers made from usually from cotton or wool. Wool is ideal for the production of sweaters, since it is very warm, and thanks to its texture it is easy to apply color on it. As for cotton, which is obviously made from cotton plants, the word ‘natural’ seems a bit ironic. In order to make cotton fibers more resistant and more durable, certain chemicals are applied to the threads; chemicals, however, that are potentially dangerous. Other natural fiber types of yarn are cashmere, alpaca/llama, mohair, angora, linen, and of course silk. Cashmere is an expensive yarn, since it is characteristically smooth and warm; but you probably knew that already. What you didn’t know is that cashmere is made from the soft undercoat of cashmere goats. Equally smooth and warm is the yarn made from the fur of South American alpacas (otherwise known as llamas). The disadvantage of the alpaca yarn is that it does not work well with color. Nevertheless, it makes up for this fact by being non-allergenic. The thick mohair yarn, on the other hand is made from the Angora goat, while the angora yarn (and this may sound as a paradox) is produced from the soft fur of rabbits. The last two types of yarn in the list of natural fibers, linen and silk, are both lightweight threads. Linen, made from the flax plant, is often used for summer garments, while silk (which is smooth and soft) is considered to be a luxurious type of yarn.
Three more types of yarn are available in the market: organic cotton, bamboo, and hemp in order to cover the consumers’ need for eco-friendly yarns. Organic cotton is what you expect it to be: cotton that has not been treated with chemical dyes, no fertilizers, no pesticides, no nothing! Bamboo yarn gives a smooth sense of texture similar to silk yarn, the important difference being that a bamboo thread is both strong and renewable. Last but not least, hemp is not only renewable, but it is also stronger from of natural fiber types of yarn.