A yarn is a single strand of twisted textile fiber. Yarns can be divided into many types in many ways. But there are some common ways to classify yarn. Here we are going to talk about different yarn types and classifications, and how to choose the right yarn from these sections.
Textile Yarn Classification
In textile, yarn is mainly 2 types: Simple Yarns and Novelty Yarns. All of them have some classification of their own too.
A simple yarn is made using only one kind of thread so it alike in all its parts. These yarns are mostly used in utility fabrics such as vinyl or plastic coated fabrics. You can take a quick tour on yarn vs thread.
Simple yarns can be divided into three categories according to the number of the twist. These are, Single Yarn, Ply Yarn and Cord Yarns.
In single yarn, a few of the little fabrics are held together with little to no twist. The twists are also in the same direction. Sometimes single yarn has just one single thick synthetic filament with no twist. They are called monofilaments.
There are two types of twists that are used to make a single yarn. They are called S-twist and Z-twist. After twisting if the formed spiral looks like the letter S then it is called S-twist. If it looks like the letter Z then it is called Z-twist.
These are the yarns that have the most variety of fabrics.
Ply yarns are made of by combining two or more single yarns in order to increase the strength and width of the yarn. If the plied yarn uses two single strands then it is called two-ply yarn and if it uses three single strands then it is called three ply yarn.
Ply yarns are also called folded or piled yarn. All of the strands are twisted in the same direction to make ply yarn. Ply yarns’ best quality is their strength. It is not very flexible and is mostly used for heavy industrial fabrics.
Cord Yarns consist of two or more ply yarns. It is also called cable yarns and can be used for ropes. In cord yarn, the final twist is always different than the one before. So, it can have a twist like SZS or ZSZ.
An SZS twist means the single yarns are made by an S twist and these S twisted singles are made into a Z twist ply yarn. Then these Z twist ply yarns are finally made into an S twist Cord yarn.
Cord yarns don’t always have to alternate between the twists. It can also have an SSZ or ZZS twist too.
Novelty yarns are also called complex yarns. It is a 3 part yarn. These three parts contribute to make the yarn interesting or beautiful. These parts are:
Base: It is the core of the novelty yarn. All other textural yarns are added to it.
Effect Ply: Effect ply is added to the base yarn to make texture and add novelty and beauty to it.
Binder: It is a single yarn that is used to bind the effect ply to the base or core.
Types of Novelty Yarns
There are many types of Novelty yarns. Here we will discuss some of the more frequently used types.
Slub yarns can be called thick and thin yarn. It is made using some thick and some thin twists. As a result, some of the areas are thicker than others.
It is a variation of slub yarn. Instead of just making thick and thin, flake yarn uses small tough fiber in a fashioned way with an irregular interval to make it look better.
Boucle yarn uses an effect ply yarn to loop around its core yarn. As a result, we get a loop or curly shaped yarn. As usual, this effect ply is held by a binder.
It is a variation of the boucle yarn. In routine yarn, the loops are evenly placed to make it look even better.
Spiral yarn is made by using two different types of effect ply to give it a two-colored spiral shape.
Knot yarn is also known as Spot or Nub yarn. In this type of yarn, the effect ply is used to make knobs or bumps on the core yarn at a regular interval.
Chenille yarn is a soft and fuzzy yarn that looks like the body of a caterpillar. It is different than the other novelty yarns. Chenille yarn is made from pieces of specially woven fabrics cut and joined together.
Other Types of Yarns
You can also classify Yarns depending on the source and materials. There are two types of yarns that can be classified by the source. The Animal type and The Plant type yarns.
Depending on which animal it is coming from, these yarns can be classified. Some of the animal yarns are,
It is made from Angora rabbit, thus is called angora yarn. It is usually used along with other yarns to make it keep its shape.
Merino wool is popular for rugs and other household items. Its wool can be made into yarns.
Other Animal Yarns
Other animals that can produce yarns from its wool are the angora goat, llama, cashmere goat, mink, Cotswold sheep, and many more. These are natural animal yarns that are made from wool.
Some of them are better at keeping their shape than others. Oftentimes these are used with other fibers like acrylic to hold its shape. Being made from wool these are used in making winter clothing very often.
Just like animal yarns, plant yarns are made from different parts of the plant.
The first thing that comes to mind after hearing about plant yarn is cotton. Cotton has some nice quality that makes it more comfortable. It is strong, absorbent, and breathable.
These qualities make it perfect for summer crochet, shirts, tank tops, and many other household items.
Hemp plant yarn has been seeing more and more uses in recent years. One hemp plant produces 250% more natural fibers than one cotton plant. Its yarn is pretty soft and comfortable.
Hemp yarns are mostly used in hard wearing clothes like hiking socks, coats, dishcloths, etc. Is it the same as sock yarn?
Bamboo yarns have a luxurious feel to them. It is breathable and light. So, this is not suitable for winter. But bamboo yarns tend to be long-lasting and have anti bacterial properties.
It is often used for summer items garments, shawls, and other light wraps.
This is one of the oldest fabrics made from the pant. Linen is made from the flax plant. It is cool, breathable, and dries faster than other fabrics thus making it one of the better choices for summer or hot and humid climates.
Synthetic yarns are the ones that are made by man. They are not natural yarn and are mostly made from petroleum. Different kinds of synthetic yarns are polyester yarn, acrylic yarn, nylon, etc.
Among them, acrylic yarns are the most reasonable and considered one of the best yearns for crochet. It is also good for learning crochet too.
Yarn Count and Its Types
Yarn count expresses how good the yarn is based on the length and weight. There are two ways to express yarn count: The indirect count and the direct count.
Both of these counts can be written in three ways: English Count (Length yds/Weight pound), Metric Count (Length m/Weight kg), and Worsted Count ((Length yds/500yds) / Weight pound)
The indirect count expresses the number of length units in one weight unit. So here the weight of the yarn is considered to be constant. This count system is used for cotton, worsted, linen, etc.
Indirect Count N= (w*L) / (W*l)
W= The weight of the sample
w = The unit weight of the system
L = The length of the sample
l = The unit length of the sample
In indirect count, as the count increases the fineness of the yarn also increases.
The indirect count expresses the number of weight units in one length unit. So, it is the opposite of the indirect system and takes the length as a constant. For that same reason, here as the count increases the fineness decreases. This system is used for jute, silk, synthetic fiber, etc.
Direct Count N= (W*l) / (w*L)
Here W, w, L, l are the same as indirect count.
Yarns can be classified in various ways. Depending on what you are looking for one way can be better for you than the other. But in the end, all these classifications show just how many variants or yarn there can be.