Skip to content

The language of yarn


Yarn seems to have its own interminable language. Most of the time we have to apply non-yarny and evocative words or just make them up. Yarn (and relatives like string) make me so happy. Rather like a drug. And although I haven’t sold my house to buy some luscious expensive yarn YET, I can see the sense of it which is surely the first sign of total addiction.

Recently I found ‘squishy’  to describe a lofty and particularly soft yarn. It says it well.  I’m always on the lookout for yarns with ‘grunt’ . You know, those independent ones that can stand on their own and weave into pure delight shaping into form or stiffness in their stride.  Aside from words which relate to the feel of the yarn such as crunchy, rough, fuzzy and nubbly, we’ve also added those that signal expectations when working with it – splitty, sproingy. Or really getting into it with ‘baby-bottomish’ and seductive. Other times we just give up and go with mystical unexplainable words which show up our poor yarn vocabulary, at least in English, such as ethereal and even ooooh.  As I’m typing this red spell lines are appearing everywhere telling me that the words are dangerously incorrect as they must be.


The shared scientific and practical way of describing yarns lies in WPI/WPC (wraps per inch/cm), yarn counts and tension information but these stop at thickness and behaviour in knit or crochet rather than real and emotional descriptions of the yarn. We want more. Do we have to be practical all the time – we need more yarn descriptors.


Does anyone know if other languages have more descriptive yarn words? Or is the knowledge of the enormous variety of yarns available around our world now so new in history that our language hasn’t caught up yet.

Image – See original.


One Comment Post a comment
  1. I use ” delicious”rather a lot…..!

    December 11, 2012

Leave a Reply

You may use basic HTML in your comments. Your email address will not be published.

Subscribe to this comment feed via RSS