Most Expensive Yarn For Knitting – Vicuna Wool & Other Yarns

Luxury types of yarns are expensive, but worth the investment. Which animal fibers make the most expensive yarn? Find out!

Expensive Yarn Feat Img

Note: If you click a link on this page and make a purchase, I may receive a commission, but at no extra cost to you. Learn More.

I reviewed, fact checked and updated this post on May 16, 2023.

Table Of Contents

What’re The Most Expensive Yarns?

1 Vicuña: True Luxury From One Of The Rarest Fibers

Vicuna - Most Expensive Yarn On Earth. Saved from extinction by the government and the law creating a protected reserve. The Vicuna fiber results in materials for a truly luxury project!

At USD 300 for 1 oz of lace weight, Vicuña is the most expensive. Vicuñas are camelids, and the wild ancestors of alpacas. A kilo of unprocessed fiber is usually 500 USD, but it can be valued at up to $4000! St. Croix Collections sold a sweater made with this fiber for 3,500 USD.

At elevations between 12,000-18,000 feet, these animals live in herds on the Andes Mountains in Peru. They’re half the height of alpacas. Incas revered the animal, and only royalty wore the fibers. By the 70s, vicunas were on the endangered species list. Despite the population recovery, they are illegal to hunt.

There are about 350,000 mature Vicuñas in the wild.(1)

Philip II, the most powerful king in history, slept with the fabric made from vicuna yarn. Some Hollywood stars and other famous people wore clothes with fiber from vicuna coats. Peru banned exports until 1994.

Vicuña is a rare animal hair fiber, and it regulates body temperature with interlocking scales. Vicunas produce one pound of fleece every three years! There’s a yearly export of four tons to Germany, England, Italy, and the US. One American company that uses this wool is the high end fashion label Loro Piana.

Vicuna fiber’s micron count (the width of each strand) measures 8-13. Finer than any fiber in the world! Vicuna wool is a beautiful cinnamon color.

Here’s an excellent video by Norman from Nimble Needles explaining why it’s so expensive.

2 Guanaco

Guanaco - Most Expensive Yarn KLG

At around USD 155 for 1 oz of laceweight, number 2 is guanaco fiber. Guanaco is a camelid native to South America, related to llamas. Many live in Chile, Argentina, and Ecuador.

These South American animals are endangered. Only certified breeders supply guanaco wool. Like Vicuna fiber and alpaca wool, only the soft undercoat hairs are used in the luxurious yarn.

3 Qivuit

Next is Qiviut (kiv-ee-ute), the Inuit term for the muskox’s fine undercoat, translated as “down” or “underwool.” The muskox is more related to a goat or sheep than an ox.

USD 150 for an ounce of laceweight wool. A natural grayish-brown color, Qiviut is one of the world’s most luxurious and warm fibers.

Qiviut has excellent fiber content qualities: it’s hypoallergenic, finer than cashmere, it doesn’t shrink or felt, soft, non-irritating, and it’s more durable than wool fibers. The fiber provides warmth in the winter while being cool and breathable in the summer.

4 Bison

Bison fiber is also a luxury wool with a price tag. At USD 64 for 1 oz of laceweight wool, it’s more expensive than cashmere.

Other Contenders

Cashmere wool is expensive (around $80 a kilo). Roving merino for bulky garments and blankets is expensive but not like rarer animal fiber. Silk is luxurious and has gorgeous drape and feel. Perfect for a lace shawl!

I have recommendations for cashmere, bulky merino, and silk.

Consider This In Expensive Yarn

Here are key decision-making factors to consider when choosing the best.

What Care Does It Need? It requires gentle treatment like handwashing garments.

What’s It Made Of? Rare animal fibers. Animals like Vicunas, Guanacos, Muskoxen, and Bison produce limited quantities of wool. Bulky yarn for arm knitting is wool or synthetic fibers.

How Much Yardage? Try smaller projects. A sweater made with this is astronomical in price!

What Yarn Weight Is Best? The yarn weight for these is laceweight. This is perfect for shawls, wraps for larger projects. Hats, cowls, and scarves suit one skein.

What’s Your Budget? You need lots of money for these expensive yarns, even for small projects. If they’re out of your budget, here are cheaper recommendations.

My Quick Recommendations 

For more details, read my reviews.

Loopy Mango Big Loop: Luxurious Merino Wool

A super chunky merino wool yarn for your chunky knits or crochet projects. This ball of fluffy yarn is perfect for blankets. One skein knits up a blanket measuring 28×40” (71×101 cm).

How Does It Compare?

  • Care Instructions – Gently hand wash and dry flat
  • Made Of – 100% merino
  • Yardage – 120yds (110m)
  • Weight – Super Chunky
  • Skein Weight – 38.8oz (1100g)
  • Suggested Needle – US 50 (25.0mm)

Pros

Cons

  • Pilling occurs
  • Limited colors

Luminance Hand Painted – Some Serious Silkiness

This gorgeous hand-painted 100% silk lace elevates your luxury knitting to a new level. With superior sheen and excellent drape, Luminance features crafted color combinations dyed by hand. The shades are rich neutral and deep jewel tones.

How Does It Compare?

  • Care Instructions – Handwash / Dry flat
  • Made Of – 100% Mulberry Silk
  • Yardage – 436yds
  • Yarn Weights – Lace
  • Skein Weight – 1.8 oz (50g)
  • Suggested Needle – US Size 000 to 1 (1.5-2.25mm)

Pros

  • For lace designs
  • Soft to touch
  • Delicate shine enhances the look
  • High-quality products

Cons

  • Colors vary

Lang Yarns Cashmere

Fine cashmere spun into a beautiful dk-weight. Perfect for baby bonnets, bootees, shawls, scarves, warm cowls, and mitts. The color palette is sophisticated.

How Does It Compare?

  • Care Instructions – Handwash and dry flat
  • Made Of – 100% cashmere
  • Yardage – 126yds (115m)
  • Weight – DK
  • Skein Weight – 0.9oz (25g)
  • Gauge – 4×4″ (10x10cm) = 22 stitches, 34 rows
  • Suggested Needle – 3.5mm (US 4) – 4.5mm (US 7)

Pros

  • Soft on your skin
  • Airy
  • Excellent stitch definition

Cons

  • Muted shades, no bright colors

Pin Now to Save for Later

Most Expensive Yarn KLG Pin

FAQS About The Most Expensive Yarn

Which Wool Is More Expensive?

Vicuña wool is the most expensive.

Which Knit Is Expensive?

A sweater knitted in these rare animal fibers is costly.

How Expensive Is Vicuna Wool?

It is the most expensive wool in the world.

How Much Does Vicuña Cost?

Vicuña fiber is around USD 300 for 1oz of laceweight.

What Sheep Has The Most Expensive Wool?’

Superfine merino comes from specific sheep to create a meager micron count.

What Is The Difference Between Vicuña And Alpaca?

A Vicuña is the wild ancestor of the Alpaca.

Is Expensive Yarn Worth It?

The incredible softness and airy light feel while being super warm is worth it. With care, these garments last decades.

Why Is Yarn So Expensive?

The raw material processing is time-consuming, and the rare animal fiber is not produced in significant amounts. So fewer skeins per creature.

What Is The Most Expensive Wool In The World?

Yarn from the fibers of the Vicuna is the most expensive wool in the world.

What Is The Best Expensive Yarn?

Of all the products we researched, reviewed and tested, we liked Loopy Mango Big Loop the best for chunky knitted blankets, Luminance Hand Painted for knitting lace, and Lang Cashmere for treasured knits that will be on your skin like cowls, scarves and sweaters.

Conclusion

These knitting yarns are unlikely in the average stash. They’re luxurious, and knitting projects from these yarns will be prized possessions.

References

  1. Biodiversity Assessment Unit. (n.d.). IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved April 1, 2023, from https://www.iucnredlist.org/

About The Author

Jodie Morgan From Knit Like Granny

Jodie Morgan (Author & Founder)

jodie@knitlikegranny.com | Lives In: Chiang Mai, Thailand

Author: Jodie Morgan is a passionate knitter and blogger with 40+ years of experience currently living in Chiang Mai, Thailand. 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.

Crunchbase | Flickr | LinkedIn | MuckRack | Ravelry | Substack | Twitter

Comments

  1. What would be the best yarn for a wrap (shawl) for a cool Florida night…any pattern suggestions…something somewhat simple…nothing too frilly?????

    Reply
    • Hi Karen. I recommend researching Summer knitted shawl patterns to determine what suits your taste. As for yarn, choose a linen, bamboo, cotton/linen blend or a silk blend yarn.

      Reply

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.