There are 3 basic groups of yarn….
- Plant based
- Animal Based
Most yarns unless 100% synthetic are a blend and therefore have a mix of properties the label will tell you whether it is machine washable and the specifics like that.
Plant based fibers are your cottons, Linens, and bamboos.
Cottons All varieties of cotton have a dull finish unless mercerized. Cotton yarn has minimal elasticity unless blended with other fibers. Pure cotton is useful for projects that require structure such as purses and tote bags, placemats, and other utilitarian items.
|Egyptian cotton||Longest cotton fiber, smoother and softer than other cottons.|
|Pima cotton||Cross between Egyptian and American cottons. Intermediate properties.|
|American cotton||Medium-long fiber, readily takes on dye. Available in widest variety of colors.|
Other plant fibers
|Linen||Strong fiber, good for warm weather items. Wrinkles easily.|
|Bamboo||Drapey, supple, possesses an elegant sheen.|
Animal based fibers
|Merino wool||Softer than cotton, tends to pill.|
|Icelandic wool||Strong but scratchy.|
|Mohair||Lofty and luxurious, best used as an outer layer. May feel scratchy.|
|Cashmere||Soft, luxurious, expensive.|
|Alpaca||Very warm. Suitable for accessories such as scarves.|
|Angora||Very soft, tends to shed. Best used in pure form as an accent material, or blended with other fibers.|
|Silk||Exceptionally strong, lustrous, and shiny. Good for summer wear.|
|Acrylic||Washes well, inexpensive. Good choice for beginners and for items designed for babies or pets.|
|Nylon||Strong, elastic, washes well. Not ideal for garments unless blended with other fibers.|
|Rayon||Made from processed wood pulp extruded into threads. Inexpensive and highly absorbent, natural sheen.|
Here is a link to some cottons yarns http://www.anniescatalog.com/list.html?cat_id=1392 Here is a link to some bamboo yarns http://www.yarn.com/product/universal-yarn-bamboo-bloom-handpaintsyarn/ Here is a link to some linen and hemp yarns http://www.spinningking.com/linen_hemp_remei_fibre_and_yarn.asp
For more in depth knowledge about more yarn types and fibers including there properties follow this link http://www.elann.com/Commerce.Web/fibre_facts.aspx