Yarn is a long continuous length of interlocked fibres, suitable for use in producing textiles, sewing clothes, knitting, weaving cloth, and embroidery. Yarn is basically thread which could be made of pure cotton, wool, synthetic material or a blend of different fibres. Yarns are selected for different textiles based on the characteristics of the yarn fibres, such as warmth, light weight, durability, or softness.
Different blends make different types of thread and each material has its advantages and disadvantage but one can decide which one to use depending upon the need. For example embroidery threads are yarns specifically designed for hand or machine embroidery. Acrylic fibres have the quality of softness, holds colour well, resistant to stains and does not wrinkle. Now-a-days threads are also finished with wax or other lubricants to withstand the stresses involved in sewing. Combining the synthetic fibres with the natural fibres is common now because it gives a finish thread of higher strength, lustre and skin comforting. The most common blends are cotton-polyester and wool-acrylic fibre.
Acrylic and cotton have different properties, but each can be useful, depending on the circumstances and required performance. Cotton is natural and its fibres can be woven or knit together to form flannel, terrycloth and heavyweight canvas. Cotton is often mixed with other fibres to add new properties, such as linen for strength and texture, and polyester for stability.
Mostly yarns are made up of a number of singles, which are known as plies when grouped together. These singles of yarn are twisted together in the opposite direction to make a thicker yarn. Yarn may be used un-dyed, or may be coloured with natural or artificial dyes. Most yarns have a single uniform hue, but there is also a wide selection of variegated yarns in the market. Filament yarn consists of filament fibres either twisted together or only grouped together. Thicker filaments are typically used for industrial purposes rather than fabric production or decoration. Silk is a natural filament, and synthetic filament yarns are used to produce silk-like effects. So next time you go out to buy a spool of all purpose sewing thread, cotton yarn or any other, know what you need it for.