About Yarns

Almost any yarn can be used to make amigurumi. The quality of the yarn is much more important than the material. Uniform rows of single crochet stitches will show any imperfections in the yarn. That is why I would recommend using more expensive, better quality yarns. This increases the price of the finished product but is absolutely worth it.

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Most patterns include yarn suggestions, but this doesn't mean you can't experiment. The look and feel of a project can change dramatically when replacing cotton with alpaca wool for example.

Now lets talk a bit about most common fibers:

Acrylic is probably the most inexpensive material that can be used. Usually finished to give it a wool-like feel, but can be made to mimic other materials like cotton or cashmere. Despite its reputation as "cheap" it is an excellent material. It is lightweight, machine-washable, soft and durable, hypoallergenic, resistant to oils, chemicals and deterioration from sunlight exposure. However static and pilling may be a problem.

Wool (including wool from other animals than sheep like cashmere, mohair, alpaca, angora) is a more expensive material. The main advantage over cheaper acrylic is its feel - it feels nice to work with, slides easily on the hook and so is easier on the hands. Wool readily absorbs moisture, which makes it resistant to static. Wool itself is considered hypoallergenic, but some yarns may contain quite a bit of lanolin. Wool is often mixed with acrylic to make cheaper, more durable yarns. The main downside is its tendency to felt when washed.

Cotton is a soft and durable material, which feels nice against the skin and so is perfect for making toys for small children. It absorbs moisture well, but dries quickly, is resistant to static and pilling and can be machine washed. Prolonged exposure to sunlight weakens fibers. Cotton yarns can sometimes be quite tough, especially bulkier yarns, which makes achieving a tight fabric more difficult and can tire hands quickly. But when mixed with acrylic, the yarn is so much softer and so a perfect material for making toys.

Bamboo yarn is made of cellulose, just like cotton yarns, but because bamboo plants do not have long fibers, it first has to be processed to produce a material called rayon (viscose). Bamboo pulp is broken down with chemicals and extruded through mechanical spinnerets. Same process is used to produce rayon from other types of wood. Chemicals used for processing wash away easily, so the product is harmless to humans. Although bamboo viscose is identical to those made of other types of wood, it is considered less harmful to the environment because of its quick growth. The yarn produced this way has all the advantages of cotton, but is so much softer and easier to work with. Cotton and bamboo blends are definitely one of my favorite yarns.

Polyamide (Nylon) is a soft and silky material used for making fuzzy yarn or added to other materials to produce interesting effects. It is very strong and durable, highly resistant to insects, fungi, animals, as well as molds, mildew, rot and many chemicals.

So, to sum it up, to find your favorite materials, you should just try them all. And because most amigurumis are quite small, you can try all kinds of different yarns, even the most expensive and exotic blends, without doing too much damage.

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