Yarn vs Wool: Is There Any Difference?

Jean Chaney
Jean Chaney
Research Writer
Jean is the brains behind her fashion label. She's a whiz with a needle and thread, and has been sewing since she was old enough to hold a pair of scissors. Jean has always read more
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Isabel Misner
Isabel Misner
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A professional seamstress. Isabel has her own video blog where she shares her experience about all the aspects of sewing – from choosing suitable materials to step-by-step read more
Last updated: September 04, 2023
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The animal-based natural fiber is known for retaining warmth since it wicks the moisture.  Wool is one of the most popular yarns due to its durable and versatile nature. If you fancy knitting, you must have come across yarn vs. wool, but what makes the differences between the two? Yarn is the length of fibers that are used to make fabrics. Wool is a textile fiber that originates from animals, with the main source being fleece from sheep. Therefore, wool is also a type of yarn that is commonly used for knitting. Whether you need yarn or wool for your crocheting needs or fashionable knitting scarves, some varieties suit your needs. Wool makes great yarns that are suitable for beginners. When you are looking for something new to try, you can choose cotton yarn as it offers great options and can also have various uses.

What is yarn?

Yarn vs Wool: Is There Any Difference?Yarn is a continuous length of interlocked fibers that are used for knitting, sewing, and embroidery, weaving, and crocheting. Thus, the threads you use while sewing are good examples of yarn. Yarn can also refer to fabrics that have been knitted using the yarn thread.  Yarn is either made from synthetic fibers or naturally. Natural cotton and synthetic polyester fiber are the most common options that are used. Some animal fibers such as silk, wool, and cashmere can also be used for making yarn.

Yarn can be separated into two categories, which include filament and spun yarn.

Spun yarn is made through spinning, which entails twisting staple fibers together to form a single thread. Spun can contain a single fiber or a blend of several types. The blends of fiber are commonly used. The results will be a yarn with a nice feel and water-absorbent nature of natural fibers.

Types of fibers

There are two categories of fibers, which staple fibers and filament fibers.

  • Staple fibers can be spun to form a yarn. Most of the fibers with short-staple will produce a hairy yarn, while longer staple fibers are good at producing smoother yarn.
  • Filament fibers are continuous lengths of fiber that are used to produce filament yarn. Many synthetic fibers are made from filament fibers. If a filament fiber is cut into small individual lengths, then it becomes a staple fiber.

Types of yarn

Yarn is categorized according to structure and the way it is made. The main categories of yarn are three. They include.

  • The staple fiber consists of numerous short fibers put together to make yarn. It is the most basic classification of yarn. Many of the staple fibers are made of natural materials.
  • Ply yarn consists of one or more strands of staple fiber yarns. Single-ply yarn is made by holding together and twisting them to form a single strand. For fabrics that might require more strength, multiple ply yarns can be used to attain the desired result.
  • Filament yarn consists of one or more continuous strands that run along the entire length. The strands are much longer, unlike those in staple fiber. Silk is the only natural filament yarn. Other filament yarns are made from synthetic materials, which are created through chemical and mechanical processes.

Looking at most of the reviews, the strongest material must be wool and wool blend from HomeModa Studio since it features reinforced construction hence making it the most reliable option out there.

What is wool?

Yarn vs Wool: Is There Any Difference?Wool refers to animal fiber, and it is obtained from the fleece of sheep. Also, other animals, including goats, rabbits can pr9oduce wool. Wool features several properties that make it ideal for many fiber uses. Wool is spun to get yarn, which can be used for knitting and other uses, including the making of the best baby blankets.

Once the wool is sheared, it is separated into various categories, including fleece, bellies, pieces, broken and locks. That is done to ensure that all the yarn has a uniform texture. The final use of the wool depends on the texture and the weave used.

The most common type of wool is alpaca, cashmere, and merino. Wool fabrics are useful in providing warmth in cold places.

Why is wool yarn great for knitting?

Wool is very popular for those who do knitting, and it happens for a good reason. To start with, wool is elastic, but it still retains its shape when stretched. Thus, it is resistant to wrinkling, making it a suitable option for knitting items that need to be elastic such as gloves. Besides, wool fiber is durable since it can withstand wear and tear. It also has resistance to abrasion, which makes it the most suitable option out there for making jumpers for kids.

Wool is also a good insulator; thus, it can keep you warm during winter while you can also stay cool during summer since it has moisture-absorbing properties.

If you are a beginner in knitting, the wool yarn is a suitable option for you. It is easy to use and easy for your joints, unlike other types of yarn. You can keep the tension while knitting, thanks to its elasticity.

Besides, it is the most versatile yarn available. You can use it for a wide range of projects as well as designs. You can use it to make stuffed animals, shawls, socks, and sweaters Trusted Source Wool - Wikipedia Wool is the textile fibre obtained from sheep and other animals, including cashmere and mohair from goats, qiviut from muskoxen, hide and fur clothing from bison, angora from rabbits, and other types of wool from camelids. en.wikipedia.org .

How do you choose the best wool yarn?

Yarn vs Wool: Is There Any Difference?To ensure you make the best choice of yarns, there are few factors that you will need to consider, such as drape, texture, and stitch definition. Besides, you will need to consider the cost, availability, and colorway. Each of the elements has a vital role to play as you make your decision on the best yarn choice for your knitting.

  1. Stitch definition

If your design pattern needs a lot of textural stitches, then you will need to have stitch definition as your priority. Thus, you can choose a smooth, bouncy yarn that will work for you. You should also do away with any yarn that hides stitches, such as mohair yarns with a strong halo.

  1. Drape

If your design involves an item that will need to flow, such as an oversize sweater or shawl, you should look for yarn with a fluid drape. Fibers such as alpaca, silk, and viscose from bamboo will offer a great drape. The fabric is heavier, and it can stretch out, so you will need to be careful. Most designers prefer it since it helps to achieve drape.

  1. Texture

Yarn vs Wool: Is There Any Difference?The texture of your yarn is important for practical and aesthetic reasons. Once you are figuring out your design, you should know the type of texture you want. It might sound a little obvious, but it is worth looking for yarn that will make something that will be envisioned.

If you want to get a fluffy sweater, don’t go for the cotton yarn. Thus, the texture should be the main concern when choosing the yarn for use.

  1. Colorway

Another important factor to put into account is the colorway when choosing your yarn. Even though some designers sell their designs online or in print, either way, the maker will have to get the details of your design.

  1. Cost

Cost is an important factor when choosing yarn for your knitting patterns. When purchasing it, you will need to look at your budget and weigh the cost across the various types available. However, at times, the designer may decide to support the business, but the main thing is your design pattern.

  1. Availability

At times it can be tempting to design from the yarn found in the clearance, but it will be a challenge to discontinue the yarn you designed. Some makers may be comfortable making the substitution, but others may prefer to continue with the recommended yarn. Thus, it would be essential to confirm that the yarn you are using is not discontinued before deciding to move forward to use it. Therefore, it is advisable to choose a yarn that is easy to find.

  1. Right weight

If you are a beginner, you might find it hard to knit with cotton yarn, even though it is ideal for a newbie. It is also important to pick the right weight for your design. Once you choose a given pattern, you are likely to find a recommended weight for it.  Also, you will need to consider what season you are planning to knit will be used.

Final thoughts

Designing is so much fun, particularly at the start while you sketch things and figure out what they will turn out to be. But once you have the design, there is yet another task of determining the perfect yarn to use. Many designers find it challenging to implement the design since it doesn’t just entail getting a beautiful yarn. It also involves highlighting the best features for your knitting pattern. Thus, you will find this article useful as you learn about yarn vs. wool, what matters and what makes a good yarn, and factors to put into account when choosing a knitting pattern design.


Wool - Wikipedia
Wool is the textile fibre obtained from sheep and other animals, including cashmere and mohair from goats, qiviut from muskoxen, hide and fur clothing from bison, angora from rabbits, and other types of wool from camelids.
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