Ribbon Yarn – Guide To This Yarn Material & Best Uses

By Jodie Morgan

| Updated:

Looking for a fun, unique yarn? Ribbon fibers might be the perfect choice. I explore what ribbon yarn is, and ways to use it for knitting.

Close up of Ribbon Yarn in soft pink colorway

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

Table Of Contents

What Is Ribbon Yarn?

It’s a synthetic fiber or cotton fiber sold at expensive prices. This fiber isn’t popular because it isn’t widely used, however, it’s soft, lightweight, fun to knit with, and has a nice feel. They have a wonderful texture and great for many crafting projects. It’s available in a wide range of colors.

Where It Comes From

Ribbon yarn comes from many fibers. The most common are nylon and polyester, but you can also find acrylic, rayon, and cotton ribbon yarns. Or sometimes, silk or plant fibers. Regardless of the various materials, it always feels like craft ribbon you might find at a hobby store. It first gained popularity in the early 2000s.

How It’s Made Into Yarn

Unlike most craft ribbon, it’s made specifically for knit or crochet projects. Sometimes they’re constructed to look like bias tape, have a tubular form, or they’re woven so they sit flat.(1) It’s not a fluffy yarn but it has a smooth texture.

How To Wash Ribbon Yarn

Here are the care instructions for ribbon fibers.

  • Handwash in cool water.
  • Don’t put it in the washing machine or dryer
  • Don’t bleach or iron it

Always check the yarn label for instructions specific to the yarn you’re using.

Does It Shrink When Washed?

Since almost all ribbon yarns need handwashing, as long as you use cold water, they won’t shrink. They may shrink if exposed to high heat.

How To Soften Ribbon Yarn

Washing it after you’ve finished knitting always helps!

Pin For Later

Ribbon 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 belts, tote bags, home décor patterns, baskets, headbands, thick scarves, ponchos, a summer top, blankets. It’s also great for weaving or macrame. It’s not a ruffled yarn, rather a smooth texture that has strength.

Keep it contained in a yarn bowl when you are knitting to keep it from falling onto the floor. Check out my post on these handy accessories.

It’s not the most durable yarn, so don’t use it for something that needs to withstand wear and tear. Ribbon yarn twists, so the stitches look uneven. If your pattern has stitch work, this isn’t a good choice! Use smooth needles for your next project with ribbon yarns, because it’s easy for them to get snagged.

Here is a video tutorial by Let’s Knit2gether on how to knit with this yarn. 

This excellent breakdown of this subject will help you!

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, and online brand shops. It’s usually sold in small yardages, usually 100 yards per ball.

Here are brands or manufacturers of ribbon yarns to try: Paintbox Yarns Recycled Ribbon, Berroco Gingham, and Hoooked Ribbon.

What’s The Price Like?

Ribbon yarn is one of the more expensive types to purchase. This is because it’s not as popular, so there’s less demand. It also takes longer to make because the ribbon needs to be dyed and wound into a ball.

FAQS About Ribbon Yarn

Is Ribbon Yarn Safe For Babies?

No, it’s not safe for babies because the baby’s foot could get stuck between the stitches as it’s usually a holey fabric.

Is Ribbon Yarn Ethical & Eco-Friendly?

it’s made of synthetic or plant materials. Many ribbon yarns are made with recycled materials! Ones made with new plant fibers are more sustainable than synthetic ones, so do your research before buying.

What Can I Make With Leftover Ribbon Yarn?

You can make things like hair accessories, trim for clothing, and decorative items

Is Ribbon Yarn Itchy?

No, it’s not itchy because it has a smooth surface.

Is Ribbon Yarn Good For Clothes?

No, it’s not good for clothes because it gets heavy when it’s knitted up, and twisted stitches aren’t comfortable to wear.

Is Ribbon Yarn Good For Winter?

Yes, it’s good for winter because it knits up with bulk, so it’ll keep you warm.

Is Ribbon Yarn Good For Summer?

Sometimes, it’s good for summer because the ones made with plant fibers keep you cool.

Do Ribbon Yarns Pill?

No, they don’t pill.

Can You Dye Ribbon Yarns?

No, you can’t.

Is Ribbon Yarn The Same As T Shirt Yarn?

No, they’re different. T-shirt yarn is thicker and more stretchy.

What Is Ladder Ribbon Yarn?

Ladder ribbon yarn is made with multiple strands of ribbon twisted together and joined in a ladder formation.

How To Keep Ribbon Yarn From Twisting

This yarn tends to twist and spin when you’re knitting. Use a yarn bowl or keep it in a bag to prevent it from tangling.

Is Tape Yarn The Same As Ribbon Yarn?

No, they’re different. Tape yarn is made with strips of fabric all joined together.


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


  1. Wikipedia contributors. 2017. “Ribbon Yarn.” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. December 10, 2017. https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Ribbon_yarn&oldid=814754121.

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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