What's Yarn Twist and Why Does it Matter



Have you ever looked closely at the twist in any of your yarns? If not, you might want to. (We'll wait.) You'll quickly notice some are spun tightly, while others barely look twisted at all. The amount of twist — or the way the yarn is plied — depends mostly on the fiber it's made of (thinner ones need to be spun more tightly to stick together) and what it'll be used for (rug yarn, for instance, has to be tightly twisted since it gets walked all over). Paying more attention to twist when choosing yarn is yet another easy way to be a better knitter.

Why yarn twist matters


The way the yarn is plied can make the stitches lie in different ways, giving your projects unique looks. (Check out swatches of stockinette stitch from different yarns and you'll see what we mean.) Looser twists, like mohair for example, allow fibers to fly more freely and will result in a fuzzy texture. Tighter spun options, on the other hand, will appear smoother.


When substituting yarns, it’s important to pay attention to yarn twist because it could affect the amount of yardage you use. Let’s say, for example, your pattern uses a yarn with a loose twist, but you’d like to substitute it with a yarn that has a tighter twist. You’ll actually need more yarn because the tightly twisted yarn is going to knit up tighter than the loosely twisted yarn. Good to know!



Yarn twist can also affect the way your yarn drapes. A loosely twisted yarn will have more movement than a tightly twisted. For that reason, the loosely twisted yarn will have more drape to it. Think of it in terms of the rug yarn we mentioned earlier. Rug yarn is tightly twisted so that the fibers don’t pull apart and move as much. Loosely twisted fibers, on the other hand, have more room to breathe and move.

Next for you
You know that feeling: You're knitting away and you spot a mistake, but it's waayyyy too far back to fix. You've got to rip back. But help! You don't want to wreck everything you've already done.
Andrea Sanchez
Take a deep breath before you start shopping for your first set of circular knitting needles. Inhale deeply and breathe out slowly — yup, just like that. You'll need a calm, focused mind as you tackle what sounds like a basic task, but turns out to be a wee bit more involved.
Sarah Johnson
Needle felting is a craft that sounds way more complex than it actually is — and gets super cute results. What's not to love? With just a few basic tools and a simple tutorial, you'll be on your way to making adorably fuzzy animals, or any other felted creations you can dream up.
Ashley Little
It’s time to start that project you’ve been dreaming about. Watch classes, learn from the experts, and get creative.
Now Reading
What's Yarn Twist and Why Does it Matter