Yep, you can dye it, and other yarns about yarn

colorful yarn

If you’ve been reading or researching about types of fabric, you’ve probably come across the word yarn. It is simply a continuous length of fibers used to produce fabrics and in ropemaking, crocheting and knitting. There are two categories of yarn:  (1) that which is used in sewing machines and (2) that used in crafts like crocheting and knitting. Yarn comes from various fibers, both natural and synthetic. Although it mostly comes from cotton, you can get it from other natural fibers like bamboo. Animal fibers are also used to make yarn. Here are some “yarns about yarn” to give you an overview.

A Short History of Yarn.

Twisting fibers began many years ago. Today, there are still artifacts that are over 20,000 years old. Spindles first appeared in 5000 BC. These are just straights sticks, which yarn can be wounded onto. The early production of yarn was tiresome and a lot of work. The spinning wheel was then invented in 4000 BC. While it made yarn and fabric production much quicker, it wasn’t very fast. In the following years, however, several innovations revolutionized yarn production. Steam power was introduced In the 1780s to enable factory-scale production and significant development in yarn’s history was the open-end spinning technique in 1963. Yarn manufacturing then became much faster and reduced the labor needed. Therefore, this technique made the manufacturing of yarn much cheaper. However, many people say that it produces fuzzier fiber and it wears poorly compared to fibers produced using the traditional yarn production method.

How Is Yarn Produced?

Thanks to modernization, yarn production has been enhanced by streamlined equipment and automated operations. Plus, the speeds of the machines have significantly increased. Manufacturers begin by mixing lint from various bales and blending them to form a uniform fiber blend. This uniform blend is then blown and passed through cleaning and carding machines which align fibers into tiny webs. Then the web fibers are passed through a trumpet to make soft rope-like strands known as slivers. Many slivers are blended together in this drawing process. Then roving frames are used to make them thinner and twist them further. Ring spinning machines are then used to tighten and thin the twists further until the yarn thickness or count required for knitting or crocheting is achieved. Then yarns are then wounded tightly around tubes or bobbins and are to form fiber fabrics.

How to Dye Yarn.

While you can simply buy dyed yarn, even with thousands of yarn colors, still you may not find the color that you want for your knitting project. Fortunately, you can hand-dye your yarn at home into a color that you want. Follow these simple steps:

  1. Begin by choosing yarn and its fiber content type. You can either opt for cotton or wool yarn and decide whether you want a plant-based, animal-based, or synthetic fiber.
  2. Match your dye to the chosen fiber content. Note that while it is easy to dye animal fibers, a lot is needed when it comes to dyeing plant fiber. Wool or animal-based yarns perfectly blend with acid dye. But for plant-based fibers, opt for a fiber reactive dye.
  3. Choose the dyeing method to use. If you’re making yarn with a single color, use the submersion technique. But those who want multiple colors can use the kettle dye method or hand-paint it.

What Are the Uses of Yarn?

Yarn is mostly used for knitting and crocheting. Individuals use it to crochet or knit sweaters, skirts, socks, etc. However, other yarn projects don’t involve crocheting. For example, you can use these fibers to make jewelry like necklaces and bracelets.


Well, there you have it. Everything you should know about yarn. If you’re ready to start your first yarn project, there are many video tutorials you can watch online. However, you should read the information on the yarn label. Find out about the type of yarn, its gauge, weight, and care instructions, as all these will affect your final product.


Deborah lives in rural Arizona, near the New Mexico border. She has a variety of interests, including water rights, writing/reading and web development. Her goal this year is to write consistently on things that she finds interesting.

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