Knitting with Novelty Yarn

By Emily Vanek

View All Articles »

Wouldn't you love to collect every type of yarn imaginable? From traditional materials like wool, cotton and acrylic, to far out materials such as metallics, braids and ribbons, there is an exciting array of yarns available. Interestingly, novelty yarn has become popular, as with interesting yarn you can make a classic pattern or garment look modern and chic.

example of novelty yarn

There are many different types of novelty yarns, made with unexpected features like bumps (or slubs as they are known), varying thicknesses, inclusions, and more. Let's talk about the most common novelty yarns and learn a bit more about them.

Bouclé, or looped, yarns are created by loosely looping another yarn around a base yarn, creating a bumpy effect. Usually made up of 3 strands of yarn wrapped together, this yarn must be knit carefully as it is easy to split.

Chenille is the soft, fuzzy yarn which resembles pipe cleaners. It can be created in a few different ways. The most common of which is that a fabric is first produced and then cut into narrow strips resembling a yarn. When the fabric is cut, the raw edges become very fuzzy and produce the chenille appearance. Another way chenille yarn can be formed is by trimming a loosely-attached fiber to create a fuzzy appearance.

Eyelash yarn is made from a polyester fiber with a furry texture resembling eyelashes. This yarn is created with a central core that is surrounded by shorter strands, referred to as "eyelashes". It's similar to "fur" yarn in that it produces a soft and "hairy" garment.

Ladder yarn resembles, well, a ladder, with two flat threads representing the two sides of the ladder held together by a strip of material at the center like the rungs. The center material can be many things, beads, metallic yarn, some other adornment, or just simple yarn.

Metallic yarns are often classified as novelty yarn and are created by adding a metallic fiber or yarn to the blend. These create shimmery and eye catching garments when knit or crocheted.

Nub yarn is created by tightly twisting knots in the yarn that are called "nubs." The nub is most easily identified when two different colored yarns are used. Slub yarn is unique in that it is a thick spot in a yarn, created by switching up the tightness of the twist of the yarn in various places.

Ribbon yarn is exactly what it sounds like; it resembles a ribbon with its flat appearance. While some ribbon yarns can be tubular, most are flat. This yarn can be made from natural or synthetic fibers.

Self Striping yarn is another type of novelty yarn that is great for knitting socks and other items where you might want subtle stripes, but without having to weave in a bunch of different colored yarn ends when you are done. This yarn is dyed in a few different colors in long repeats.

These are just a few of the different types of novelty yarn. There are many types of yarn that you can use to create a variety of different looks with the same pattern. Which is your favorite novelty yarn to use?

View All Articles »