Novelty Yarn – Guide To This Yarn Material & Best Uses

Looking for a fun, unique yarn?

Novelty fibers might be the perfect choice. I explore what novelty yarn is, and ways to use it for knitting.

Table Of Contents

What Is Novelty Yarn?

Here’s a quick rundown of what novelty yarn is.

Novelty yarn is a synthetic fiber sold at affordable prices.

This fiber isn’t super popular because some people find it tricky to knit, however it’s fun, colorful, unique, and special.

They’re an interesting twist on regular yarn and great for eye-catching, interesting projects.

It’s available in some amazing colors.

Here is a video tutorial by J. Hook Crochet on what these yarns are. 

YouTube video

The variety of different effects is impressive!

Where It Comes From

It’s produced from many materials, including rayon, nylon, acrylic, cotton, and polyester.

The first novelty yarn, eisengarn, was created in the 19th century.

How It’s Made Into Yarn

Fancy yarns are usually made by twisting different fibers together to create an irregular effect.(1)

This is done by changing how often and when they introduce fibers to the main one.

Types Of Novelty Yarn

Here’s a brief rundown of the categories of novel yarn.(2)

  • Eyelash Yarn – This is a fun, fluffy yarn that’s great for making scarves, hats, and other accessories. Eyelash yarns are usually nylon or polyester
  • Thick And Thin Yarns – These yarns are made of two or more fibers twisted together. The result is a chunky, textured yarn that’s great for making hats, sweaters, and other winterwear
  • Ladder Yarn – This is a type of ribbon yarn that’s made by twisting two different colors of thread together. It’s popular for making jewelry, especially bracelets
  • Spiral Yarns – These are long, continuous spirals that are fun to knit with. They’re great for making afghans, shawls, and wraps
  • Chenille Yarn – This is a thick, soft yarn that’s made by twisting together different fibers. It’s popular for making baby blankets
  • Fancy Yarns – These are also known as crêpe yarns, and they produce a twisted or wrapped appearance
  • Bouclé Yarn – This is a type of looped yarn that’s made by twisting different fibers together
  • Ribbon Yarn – These knitting yarns look like ribbon
  • Metallic Yarn – These have a synthetic core woven with metallic fibers to effect yarn so it looks shiny
  • Faux Fur Yarn – These have a bulky, furry texture

How To Wash Novelty Yarn

Here are the care instructions for novelty fibers.

Most novelty yarns need handwashing, however, some can be machine-washed on a gentle cycle.

Always check the yarn label for instructions specific to the yarn you’re using.

Does It Shrink When Washed?

Most fancy yarns don’t, as they’re made with synthetic fibers, so they’re resistant to shrinking.

However the ones with a natural base yarn may shrink when exposed to heat, so wash them in cold water.

Don’t put them in the dryer either!

How To Soften Novelty Yarn

Here is a quick and easy method to soften novelty yarn.

Add a fabric softener to the final rinse when you’re handwashing your project.

Washing it after you’ve finished knitting always helps!

Pin For Later

Novelty Yarn Pin

What Do You Use It For?

It’s often used for projects and things like

  • Blankets
  • Throws
  • Pillows
  • Cushions
  • Hats
  • Scarves
  • Wraps
  • Jewelry
  • Bags
  • Purses

Here is a video tutorial by Fiber Flux on how to knit with novelty yarns.

YouTube video

Some excellent tips are shared that will help you.

They’re sometimes used in upholstery production or high fashion textiles.

Here is a video tutorial by Littlejohn’s Yarn on what to make with this yarn. 

YouTube video

Lots of fun project ideas to try out.

Where To Find It

Here’s where to find this yarn.

  • At a yarn store or craft stores in your area
  • At big box stores like Michaels, Walmart and Joann
  • Online brand shops

Here are brands or manufacturers of Novelty yarns to try.

  • Lana Grossa Diamante
  • Wool And The Gang Mixtape Yarn
  • King Cole Luxury Fur
  • Sirdar Alpine Luxe Faux Fur Yarn
  • Stylecraft Pearls
  • Recycled Sari Silk Chunky Yarn

What’s The Price Like?

They’re usually affordable, but ones including interesting textures or fancy effects might be more mid-range in price.

Interesting Facts

Want to know some fascinating tidbits about this material? Impress your friends with these.

  • Novelty yarn was first used in the 19th century
  • It’s made of different materials including rayon, nylon, acrylic, and polyester
  • Types include eyelash, ladder, bouclé, and ribbon yarn
  • The different fibers (fibres) have varying thickness introduced to the yarn structure to create the effect
  • They were often used for detailing on menswear in the early 20th century(4)


Is Novelty Yarn Safe For Babies?

No, it’s not safe for babies because the strands sometimes shed little hairs, which a baby might accidentally swallow.

Is Novelty Yarn Ethical & Eco-Friendly?

The synthetic ones use chemical processes.

What Can I Make With Leftover Novelty Yarn?

You can make anything you want! Afghans, shawls, hats, jewelry, and more.

Is Novelty Yarn Itchy?

Sometimes, it’s itchy because the blend includes special effects like beads or a shiny texture.

I don’t recommend this yarn for garments.

Is Novelty Yarn Good For Clothes?

No, it’s not good for clothes because the strands sometimes shed little hairs, which is uncomfortable next to your skin.

Is Novelty Yarn Good For Winter?

I wouldn’t recommend a winter garment knitted in this yarn. Synthetics don’t breathe well.

Is Novelty Yarn Good For Summer?

Sometimes, it’s good for summer because it’s cool and lightweight, but the synthetic ones don’t breathe well.

Do Novelty Yarns Pill?

No, they don’t pill.

Can You Dye Novelty Yarns?

No, you can’t.

How Is A Novelty Yarn Different Than A Standard Yarn?

A novelty yarn is made with different materials combined to create an interesting visual effect.

A standard yarn is usually one material.(3)

Happy crocheting or knitting! Hope you enjoyed this article. Do you have questions? Please leave them below!


  1. Behery, H. M. 2010. “Yarn Structural Requirements for Knitted and Woven Fabrics.” In Advances in Yarn Spinning Technology,, 155–89. Elsevier.
  2. Wikipedia contributors. 2022. “Novelty Yarns.” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. August 23, 2022.
  3. Jaganathan, Sudhakar. 2005. “Characterization Methods and Physical Properties of Novelty Yarn.”
  4. “‘Barre Ratta’ Silk Suiting.” n.d. National Museum of American History. Accessed October 19, 2022.

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