Heathered Yarn – Guide To This Yarn Material & Best Uses

By Jodie Morgan

| Updated:

Looking for a unique, colorful yarn with a gorgeous texture? Heathered fibers might be the perfect choice. I explore what heathered yarn is, and ways to use it for knitting.

Heathered yarn up close in violet purple and white

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

Table Of Contents

What Is Heathered Yarn?

Heathered yarn is an animal/plant/synthetic fiber sold at moderate prices. This fiber is popular because it’s colorful, fun to knit with, unique, and is used for many projects. Easy to wind either by hand or using a winder. For helpful info on yarn winding tools see my guide. They’re usually two-tone and great for adding interest to your projects.

Where It Comes From

It comes from many fibers, most commonly wool, but also cotton, acrylic or more luxury fibers like silk.

How It’s Made Into Yarn

Heathered yarn is made by spinning two or more different colored fibers together. The resulting yarn is heathered or flecked with both colors. This gives the finished product an interesting and unique color palette that can’t be achieved with a single yarn. It’s also called heather yarn.

How To Wash Heathered Yarn

Always check the yarn label for instructions specific to the yarn you’re using. Synthetic fibers like nylon can often be put in the washing machine. Animal fibers are better to hand wash except if the label says “superwash”.

Does It Shrink When Washed?

It depends on what fibers the yarn is made of. For example, wool shrinks when washed in hot water, but acrylic doesn’t.

How To Soften Heathered Yarn

Washing the different colored yarns after you’ve finished knitting always helps!

Pin For Later

Heathered Yarn Pin

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 clothing, accessories, and home décor items. It’s excellent for making colorful socks.(1)

Heathered yarn is perfect for making hats, sweaters, and blankets because the tight weave resists pilling. It also often keeps its shape better than regular yarns. I don’t recommend using a design with complicated stitches with heathered yarns, as stitch definition isn’t great in heather fabric.

Also, when it’s a dark-colored yarn, it’s difficult to count stitches. So it may not be great for a beginner.

Here’s a great discussion with yarn expert Clara Parkes about Heathered Wool.

I love how many different colors of yarns can be spun together to give depth and interest.

Where To Find It

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 heathered yarns to try: Manos Alpaca Heather, Premier Yarns, Lion Brand, Bernat, Caron, or King Cole.

What’s The Price Like? This fiber is available at a moderate price.

FAQS About Heathered Yarn

Is Heathered Yarn Safe For Babies?

Yes, it’s safe for babies because it’s made of natural fibers. I always recommend buying OEKO-TEX certified yarns.

Is Heathered Yarn Ethical & Eco-Friendly?

It depends on what blend of fibers the yarn uses. Always do your research before buying.

What Can I Make With Leftover Heathered Yarn?

You can make smaller projects like dishcloths, headbands, or scarves.

Is Heathered Yarn Itchy?

No, it’s not itchy because the fibers are tightly spun together. However, some people have an allergy to wool.

Is Heathered Yarn Good For Clothes?

Yes, it’s good for clothes because it doesn’t shrink and it’s colorfast.

Is Heathered Yarn Good For Winter? 

Yes, it’s good for winter because it’s warm and has a tight weave.

Is Heathered Yarn Good For Summer?

Yes, it’s good for summer because it’s made of natural fibers that are breathable.

Do Heathered Yarns Pill?

No, Heathered yarns don’t pill.

Can You Dye Heathered Yarns?

Yes, you can dye heathered yarns.

How To Spin A Heathered Yarn

Here’s a tutorial on how to spin a heathered yarn by Fiber Love Diary on YouTube.

The information in this video on the fascinating process will be a great help!

How To Make A Heathered Yarn

Usually, you dye the fibers and spin them together. If you’re new to fiber making, I recommend starting with two or more colors of pre-dyed fibers. That way, you avoid a difficult extra step.

If you’re making it for yourself, ensure you choose your favorite color! One a solid color, and the other a semi solid color. That way you get a nice heather effect with the different colors.

What Is Heathered Cotton?

Heathered cotton is made from spinning two or more different colored cotton fibers together. The resulting yarn is flecked with both colors.

What Is Heathered Cashmere?

Heathered cashmere is made from spinning two or more different colored cashmere fibers together.

What Is Heathered Wool Felt?

Heathered wool felt is made dyeing two or more different colored wool fibers and they’re blended together. Felted wool is when the fibers are matted together, which create a different texture to regular wool. The stitch work doesn’t show, but the rich color blending creates a lovely effect.


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


  • Balke, Kerstin. 2021. Knit Soxx for Everyone: 25 Colorful Sock Patterns for the Whole Family. Mechanicsburg, PA: Stackpole Books.

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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