Different Types of Yarn Explained in Detail

Knitting might seem like a simple enough task. Weaving a few pieces of strings together with needles looks like an easy enough task. However, you will definitely be astounded by the number of complexities found in this humble hobby.

The amount of thought and effort that goes into selecting the material and equipment itself is jaw-dropping.

And the types of yarn that are used in knitting is a complicated enough topic to understand. Each thread can be used for a specific task only. Therefore, a lack of knowledge regarding the suitability of yarn will cause your entire clot to be ruined.

To help you get a better understanding of the types of yarn, we’ve classified them based on two categories, the material and the number of strands. Start reading to discover the yarn that is best for your pet-project!

Types of Yarn According to Material

Yarns are either made from animal hide, plants, or synthetically in factories. Below are the popular kinds of yarn that are currently being used in knitting based on its material.

Wool Yarn

Woolen yarn is a top pick when it comes to creating winter wear. Regardless of the change in trends, sweaters made of wool never seems to go out of fashion. Woolen clothes are significant in terms of comfort.

One of its most redeeming qualities is that they never lose shape and can be worn over many years. Wool yarn can also sustain a lot of spills. Stains can easily be avoided as they can be easily washed.

Other than minor cases of itchiness and people allergic to wool, it still remains the preferred choice by knitters worldwide compared to synthetically made yarns.

Cashmere Wool

One of the lightest forms of wool, this yarn was initially extracted from Cashmere goats. Originating from the Kashmir region of South Asia, it is durable and yet very comfy.

Its unparalleled quality makes it a very expensive yarn. The extraction process of this wool is quite tricky and time-consuming.

Unlike most wool, it is not itchy at all. It’s an excellent choice when thinking about knitting socks and gloves.


Silk is one of the smoothest and easiest yarns to work with. It has a beautiful shine and is very strong.

The most expensive form of threads, the coolness that it provides to its users, makes it excellent for summer wear. Perhaps the most potent type of natural fiber, it takes a very skilled user to apply it to its full potential.


Commonly found in parts of the world having tropical or humid climates, this fabric is made from cotton plants. Cotton is firm, versatile, and aerates easily.

Its ability to let clothes breathe makes it a perfect fit for summer dresses and dishcloths. Cotton can soak in more water than its original weight.

It should be noted that this yarn doesn’t precisely maintain a good shape, so there’s no point in fussing over uniformity when stitching clothes with this fabric.

Polyester Yarn

Polyester is a hybrid of cotton, wool, and a mishmash of other yarns. Some of the more novelty clothing are mostly made from polyester, which is produced commercially in factories.

There are loads of DIY videos on the internet that can allow you to make some for yourself.

However, polyester is pretty challenging to manage, and the knitting process is also very much tiring.

Types of Yarns Based on the Number of Strands

Here are a few kinds of yarn that veteran knitters would look for on the basis of the number of strands.

Single Yarns

Commonly known as one-ply, single yarns consist of fibers that are attached together with little buckles or filaments that are compiled without twists at all.

Twists that are commonly used in single yarns are the S-twist and the Z-twist. It’s an excellent option for use because of the abundance of fabrics it can be used for.

Ply Yarns

Made by having more than one yarn tweaked together, there is an excellent variety in ply yarns, depending on the number of threads that are being attached together.

The yarn becomes more robust if the strands are twisted in a single direction.

This helps to increase the strength and hardness of the thread while reducing its flexibility. Ply yarns are typically used to make products that require high strength and are used for industrial purposes.

Cord Yarns

Cord yarns can be produced when ply yarns are twisted to each other, with the last twist being different from the ply twist.

The cord yarns follow a combination of S-twists and Z-twists. Cord yarns are used to make ropes or durable industrial fibers. It’s recently also used to make materials for dresses too.

Textured Yarns

Texturizing was first applied to make synthetic yarns to minimize the defects of transparency, pumping, and slipperiness. Textured threads are much more opaque than other wools.

It also has a certain aesthetic appeal and has a heightened ability to generate warmth and increased absorbency. They are modified to have this vibrancy and unique texture.

Stretch Yarns

Stretch yarns are factory-made artificial products. These yarns are wound up tightly, compressed by heat, and untangled to have a delicate texture.

A lot of twists are applied to this yarn alongside the bulk to ensure high flexibility and density.

Better known as spandex, the feel of this texture is similar to that of rubber. It is often used for making swimwear, deep-diving gear, and sportswear.


The amount of variety and classifications in the case of yarns are vast, to say the least.

However, the types of yarn mentioned here can easily cater to your requirements best. Regardless of you being a veteran tailor or a newcomer looking to try out their hands in knitting, these yarns should be a perfect choice.

From personal projects to factory-made products, these yarns cover them all. So head out, buy your preferred yarn, grab your sewing kit, and make that piece of clothing you’ve been holding off for too long.

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