Complex Yarns For a Fascinating Finish

Novelty yarns refer to any material that has unusual features, whether due to its structure or fiber composition. Also known as complex yarns, they produce an unusual effect such as glimmers of different colors, various textures, and funny shapes. Some of them can be a little tricky to use for beginners, but once you get used to them, it is a lot of fun to experiment and see how they look in different stitches and combined with other threads.

Let’s look at a few examples of these interesting knitting fibers.


Elegant Yarns Cuties Yarn, Mercury
Amazon Price: $7.50 $4.78 Buy Now
(price as of Dec 22, 2016)
Slubby yarn is a type of material where there are changes in thickness along the length. The slubs refer to the thick portions of the material. These can create great scarves, cowls, or indoor jackets. If there's any novelty yarn that I recommend for beginners, this is it! Slubby yarn is a nice material to use because beginners often have a tendency to produce uneven stitches, and the variations in thickness provide a nice way to hide that. Also, besides the variations in thickness, slubby fibers are much like regular yarn to work with and the stitches are easy to see.

Generally, bigger needles are better for this type of fiber to showcase the different variations. It may depend on your project, though. If you're making slippers out of these, for instance, you probably want to use smaller sized needles for a tighter knit.


Lion Brand Yarn 320-194A Fun Fur Yarn, Lime
Amazon Price: $4.99 Buy Now
(price as of Dec 22, 2016)
Now, this is an interesting looking one! Eyelash yarn has a thin thread, with long strands protruding out of the thread at even intervals. The hair can be various lengths, although the more common types of eyelash thread you'll find are made of polyester and have straight and short hair. This is a fun material that adds texture and color to your projects. Don't be fooled, though; eyelash fibers are not the best yarn for beginners since the main thread can be hard to see when working with this material.

Eyelash yarn is commonly carried with the regular type of yarn for a more solid knit, although you can use this thread on its own. Types of projects that use eyelash yarn include scarves, wraps, or trims on sleeves and hats. People also use these threads to make furry toys such as teddy bears. You'll probably want to use needles that are recommended for this specific material weight. If you want a tight-knit piece, such as when knitting a toy, it's a good idea to use a slightly smaller needle and knit eyelash and regular yarn together.


City Life Ladder Yarn-Corsage
Amazon Price: $4.99 $1.99 Buy Now
(price as of Dec 22, 2016)
Ladder yarn looks just like its name. The yarn is composed of two thin strands, with a thicker stripe at intervals in between gaps. Also known as "train tracks", this material is usually sold with a shimmery finish that reflects slightly in light. Ladder yarn can be knit on its own to showcase the glimmer and composition of the fibers, or alongside another ladder or regular yarn for interesting combinations. This type of fiber can be fun to play with and experiment.

When it comes to ladder yarn, bigger is better. The ladder loses its effect when knit on smaller needles, since the ladders become bunched up and cannot be easily seen. On big needles, the ribbon "hangs" and has been described as having a "stained glass" look. Of course, it does also depend on your project and how tightly you need to knit for your particular project. Ladder fibers makes great scarves, shawls as well as necklaces.


Bernat Soft Boucle Yarn, Teal Heather
Amazon Price: $5.99 Buy Now
(price as of Dec 22, 2016)
Boucle yarn has lengths of loops that are similar sizes, ranging from small to large curls. The effect is created by having at least two different strands of threads; one strand is looser than the other, creating the loops seen in the overall fiber. Boucle is often just used on its own as a scarf, sweater, or shawl, although it can be combined with a smoother yarn. The material creates a soft, fuzzy look that is dreamy and similar to mohair.

It is common to use a slightly bigger than recommended size when working with boucle. Boucle can be a challenging material to work with and quite unforgiving when it comes to mistakes. Once the stitches are made, they are difficult to see and can become tangled if undone. This type of material is better for intermediate to advanced knitters who can "feel" their way around the stitches and not have to rely on eyesight.


Patons Bohemian Yarn, Wandering Wines
Amazon Price: $6.99 Buy Now
(price as of Dec 22, 2016)
Chenille yarn has a soft, fuzzy texture that is also velvety and smooth. The fiber is thick and slightly bumpy, making for a quick knit. Chenille is ideal for items with a soft feel, such as baby clothing, aghans, and cozy winter accessories. However, it can be a bit tricky to work with, due to the structure of the material. If you are a beginner, try working with regular yarn before progressing to this one.

Chenille fibers are commonly knit on smaller needles for a better effect. Firstly, smaller needles knit tighter stitches, avoiding the effect called "worming". Worming occurs when a loop of yarn detaches itself from the knitted fabric, causing the loop to coil onto itself. Secondly, smaller needles prevent biasing, which is when your knits become slanted to one side. This is caused by the extra twist that chenille yarn has. Another way to prevent working and biasing is to balance knitted stitches with purled stitches.

A Closing Note

Knitting with novelty materials can be fun and exciting, but also frustrating. My advice is: if you are a beginner, try out the regular type before you experiment with different yarns. If you are ready to use novelty yarns, but are finding the process frustrating, try pairing the yarn up with a thinner, regular yarn to add consistency to the yarn. Or, try using different needles, such as a different size, or switching from circular to flat needles.

If all else fails, relax! Working with novelty fibers can be a challenge, but should also be fun. Try something else, and when you’re ready, tackle that novelty yarn once again!