It might be hard to imagine that yarn can be sourced from a camel! It is a high end, rare and incredibly luxurious soft yarn. I explore what camel yarn is, and ways to use it for knitting.
I reviewed, fact checked and updated this post on May 14, 2023.
Table Of Contents
- What Is Camel Yarn?
- What Do You Use It For?
- Common Blends Using This Fiber
- Where To Find It
- Interesting Facts
What Is Camel Yarn?
Camel yarn is an animal fiber sold at expensive prices. It’s not as popular because it’s expensive and hard to find, however, it’s warm, comfortable, and textured. Camel fibers are lightweight and great for creating a breathable fabric. With obvious hairs like angora fibers and Llama fibers, this doesn’t detract from the overall loveliness, in fact it adds texture and interest.
Where It Comes From
There are many camel species, however, most camel hair yarn comes from the Bactrian Camel (Camelus bactrianus.) These camels have two humps. Bactrian camels are native to Inner Asia, and they live everywhere from Russia to Mongolia. The Bactrian camel is a domesticated version of the wild Bactrian camel (Camelus ferus).
The wild Bactrian camel is critically endangered due to habitat loss. (They’re not used for fiber production). These are not the same as the much more common one-humped camel, the Dromedary camel. Its scientific name is Camelus dromedarius. It’s also called the Arabian camel or One-humped camel.
How It’s Made Into Yarn
Most animals used for their fibers are shorn, but camels lose their winter coat during spring naturally. Usually, the thin undercoat of the camel’s hair is gathered by combing.
Things you knit with camel wool are lightweight yet insulating, more so than many other fibers. The finest quality is produced by the baby camels (so watch out if it’s on sale!). It’s called baby camel wool. Coarser guard hairs aren’t used for knitting, but they’re for making rugs and bedding. If other luxury yarns interest you, here is a guide.
How To Wash Camel Yarn
Here are the care instructions for camel fibers.
- Gently handwash in cool water with mild soap for delicate garments
- Lay flat to dry
- Don’t machine wash, machine dry, bleach, iron or dry clean
Always check the yarn label for instructions specific to the yarn you’re using.
Does It Shrink When Washed?
Yes, but only if you expose it to a high temperature and agitate the fibers. So only use cold water and don’t wring or twist the wet garment.
How To Soften Camel Yarn
Washing it after you’ve finished knitting always helps!
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What Do You Use It For?
Wondering whether you should use it to make a project? Here’s why this fiber is used to make yarn. It’s often used for projects and things like throws, scarves, baby clothes, sweaters, beanies, hats, and cardigans.
It’s excellent for winter garments because it’s so soft, textured, and warm. However, because it’s excellent at thermo-regulated garments, it creates a warm yet breathable fabric. So it’s perfect for springtime knits! I wouldn’t recommend camel hair fibre for garments knitted for hot temperatures, though.
The outer fiber is also used to make bedding, rugs and pillows because the fabric is long-lasting.
Common Blends Using This Fiber
Here is a list of common blends using this yarn, and why they’re created.
- Camel/Silk – The addition of silk makes this a smoother, more lustrous fiber while still maintaining the warmth and softness of the camel.
- Camel/Cashmere – Cashmere softens the camel hair while maintaining its luster. It’s often used for garments that will be worn next to the skin.
- Camel/Mohair – The mohair creates a halo around the camel yarn, which makes it appear softer and fluffier.
- Camel/Merino – This is a common blend because the merino wool softens the yarn while still allowing it to keep its shape.
Where To Find It
Here’s where to find this yarn: sometimes, it might be at a yarn store or craft stores in your area or in online brand shops. Because it’s an expensive and rare fiber, it’s difficult to track down. It’s easier to buy if you don’t mind working with a blend.
Here are brands or manufacturers of camel yarns to try: Quince & Co, Malabrigo Rios, Lana Gotto, Double Sunday, Big Twist, Mayflower, the Lion Brand LB Collection, and Yarn Bee.
What’s The Price Like?
It’s an expensive fiber! For a 3.5oz or 100g you could spend anywhere between $25-$50 USD.
Want to know some fascinating tidbits about this material? Impress your friends with these fun facts.
- Camel hair is hollow, so it’s excellent at trapping heat and insulating.
- Camels have three sets of eyelids and two rows of eyelashes to keep sand from getting into their eyes.
- Camel milk has more Vitamin C than cow’s milk, and it’s also lower in fat.
- They were often used as pack animals in the far reaches of the Roman Empire.(1)
- Camels have thick lips that help them eat thorny plants other animals can’t eat.
- A group of camels is called a caravan or flock.
- Camels can close their nostrils to keep the sand out during a sandstorm.
- The hump on a camel’s back stores water and fat, which is used as sustenance when food is scarce.
- Did you know camels can travel as fast as a horse? They can go up to 40 miles per hour!
- A baby camel is called a calf.
FAQS About Camel Yarn
Is Camel Yarn Safe For Babies?
Yes, it’s safe for babies because it’s a natural fiber. There are no harsh chemicals or dyes used in the yarn, so it’s gentle on sensitive skin. So it’s soft and comfy enough for baby clothes.
Is Camel Yarn Ethical & Eco-Friendly?
The camel isn’t need to be killed for its hair, and the yarn is biodegradable. It’s also produced in small batches, and the camels aren’t shorn, but gently combed. Always do your research to ensure what you’re buying is ethically sourced exotic fabric.
What Can I Make With Leftover Camel Yarn?
You can make anything you want! Since it’s such a luxurious fiber, make something special like mittens or a cowl.
Is Camel Yarn Itchy?
No, it’s not itchy because it’s a soft fiber and it’s gentle on the skin.
Is Camel Yarn Good For Clothes?
Yes, it’s good for clothes because it’s warm and it’s also moisture-wicking. It’s also stain-resistant.
Is Camel Yarn Good For Winter?
Yes, it’s good for winter because it’s super insulating.
Is Camel Yarn Good For Summer?
No, it’s not good for summer because it’s a bit too warm.
Do Camel Yarns Pill?
No, they don’t pill.
Can You Dye Camel Yarns?
Yes, you can.
Is Camel Wool Soft?
Yes, it’s soft! The undercoat hairs are approximately 16-20 microns.
Is Camel Wool Hypoallergenic?
Yes, it is. Camel wool is a great luxury alternative for those with wool allergies.
Is Camel Hair Warmer Than Sheep Wool?
Yes, it is. Camel wool fibre is hollow, so it does a great job of trapping heat and insulating. It’s also finer than most merino wools.
Camel Wool Vs Cashmere
They’re great fibers with different properties. Camel wool is warmer and more insulating, while cashmere is softer, more widely available and less expensive.
Camel Wool Vs Alpaca
Camel wool is warmer and more insulating, while alpaca is softer, less pricey, and lightweight.
Happy crocheting or knitting! Hope you enjoyed this article. Do you have questions? Please leave them below!
- Tomczyk, Weronika. 2016. “Camels on the Northeastern Frontier of the Roman Empire.” Papers from the Institute of Archaeology 26 (1). https://doi.org/10.5334/pia-485.