Chenille Yarn – Guide To This Yarn Material & Best Uses

By Jodie Morgan

| Updated:

Looking for a fuzzy, cuddly yarn? Chenille fibers might be the perfect choice. I explore what chenille yarn is, and ways to use it for knitting.

Chenille yarn in grey

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I reviewed, fact checked and updated this post on May 14, 2023.

Table Of Contents

What Is Chenille Yarn?

It’s a synthetic fiber sold at affordable prices. This fiber isn’t super popular, but it’s soft, has a lovely texture, cuddly, and warm. They’re bulky and great for quick knit projects. It’s available in all colors of the rainbow.

Where Does Chenille Comes From?

It’s made of rayon, cotton or synthetic: most commonly polyester yarn, but not usually acrylic fibers.

How It’s Made Into Yarn

First, they spin the fiber into long continuous threads. These threads are put through an ‘abrasive’ process, which fuzzes the fibers and makes them shorter. They’re put through a process called ‘heat setting.’ This make it durable and less likely to shrink or stretch when wet.

How To Wash Chenille Yarn

Here are the care instructions for chenille fibers.

  • Wash in cool water on the delicate cycle.
  • Use a mild detergent or wool wash.
  • Don’t use bleach or fabric softener
  • Lay flat to dry

Does It Shrink When Washed?

They don’t usually shrink, but check the care instructions on the label before washing.

How To Soften Chenille Yarn

Here is a quick and easy method to soften this yarn. Washing it after you’ve finished knitting always helps!

Pin For Later

Chenille Yarn Pin

What Do You Use Chenille Yarn 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 blankets, throws, pillows, scarves, hats, rugs, and carpets. Use it for anything soft, cuddly, and warm, so it’s perfect for baby blankets. To see what yarn to use, see my post here.

I wouldn’t recommend it for clothing like sweaters and shawls.

Here is a video tutorial by Lir from Ribblr on working with this yarn. 

This in-depth video is a must if you want to learn about how to knit with this textured fiber.

Here is a video tutorial by BeCozi on joining one skein of this yarn to another. 

The information in this video on joining these yarns will be a great help!

Where To Find Chenille Yarn

Here’s where to find this yarn: at a yarn store or craft stores in your area, at big box stores like Michaels, Walmart and Joann, or online brand shops. Here are brands or manufacturers of chenille yarns to try.

  • Bernat Yarn
  • Lion Brand Yarn
  • Red Heart Yarn

What’s The Price Like?

It’s usually an affordable yarn, though slightly more expensive than acrylic yarn.

Interesting Facts About Chenille

Want to know some fascinating tidbits about this material? Impress your friends with these.

  • The word ‘chenille’ means ‘caterpillar’ in French
  • Chenille work was popular from the mid 19th century into the 20th. (1)
  • The same word is used for a fabric, that was created before the yarn was.
  • A yarn often donated to Thrift Shops (2)
  • A chenille textile is often used for upholstery
  • They have a luxury feel without being expensive – so you can buy a pile of it for big projects
  • At certain angles, the yarn has a tendency to look an iridescent color
  • It’s used in textile art(3)

FAQS About Chenille Yarn

Is Chenille Yarn Safe For Babies?

Yes, I recommend this yarn for a baby blanket or clothes.

Is Chenille Yarn Ethical & Eco-Friendly?

This yarn is made of natural fibers like cotton and rayon, but there’s a huge amount of water required for cotton production.

What Can I Make With Leftover Chenille Yarn?

You can make a small blanket, hat, scarf, or rug.

Is Chenille Yarn Itchy?

No, this yarn isn’t itchy, it’s very soft.

Is Chenille Yarn Good For Clothes?

I don’t recommend it for clothes, but it’s great for blankets and other household items.

Is Chenille Yarn Good For Winter?

Yes, this yarn is great for winter home décor items like throws, blankets and pillows.

Is Chenille Yarn Good For Summer?

I don’t recommend it for summer, as it’s too warm.

Do Chenille Yarns Pill?

No, they don’t pill.

Can You Dye Chenille Yarns?

No, you can’t.

How Do You Keep Chenille Yarn From Worming?

Chenille yarns can “worm” their way out of stitches. If this happens, try knitting at a tight gauge. Sometimes it helps if you knit from the other end of the skein instead.

Can You Crochet With Chenille?

Yes, you can crochet with Chenille!

What’s The Difference Between Cotton And Chenille?

Chenille is a yarn, while cotton is a fabric. Chenille can be made from different materials, while cotton is only made from the plant of the same name.

Conclusion

Happy crocheting or knitting! Hope you enjoyed this article. Do you have questions? Please leave them below!

References

  1. “Skeins of Chenille Embroidery Yarns.” n.d. National Museum of American History. Accessed October 14, 2022. https://americanhistory.si.edu/collections/search/object/nmah_629913.
  2. Miller, Betty. 2022. “Assistance League’s Thrift Shop Spins a Yarn of Beauty and Support.” Patch. September 25, 2022. https://patch.com/california/martinez/assistance-league-s-thrift-shop-spins-yarn-beauty-support.
  3. Global Design News. 2022. “American Artist Nick Cave Creates New Adventurous Textiles with Bravado, a Vibrancy of Aesthetic Value, and Designs That Advance Social Justice for KnollTextiles.” Global Design News. October 7, 2022. https://globaldesignnews.com/american-artist-nick-cave-creates-new-adventurous-textiles-with-bravado-a-vibrancy-of-aesthetic-value-and-designs-that-advance-social-justice/.

About The Author

Jodie Morgan From Knit Like Granny

Jodie Morgan (Author & Founder)

jodie@knitlikegranny.com | Lives In: Regional Australia

Author: Jodie Morgan is a passionate knitter and blogger with 40+ years of experience currently living in regional Australia. Taught by her mother and wonderful grandmother “Mama”, she fell in love with crafting from a young age. When she’s not knitting, you’ll find her enjoying a cup of coffee with cream, or sharing helpful resources and tips with the online knitting community. Get to know Jodie and the team on our meet the team page.

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Frustrated Teacher Quits In Disgust, Sells The Farm, Moves The Family Halfway Across The World And… Starts Knitting

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