How do I Choose the Best Denim Yarn? (with picture)

Mandi Rogier
Mandi Rogier
Fabrics made with denim yarn should be hand washed.
Fabrics made with denim yarn should be hand washed.

Choosing the best type of yarn always involves a thorough knowledge of the project on which you are working and a vision of what you want the finished product to look like. Denim yarn is a type of specialty yarn with a distinct blue coloring. This yarn can give a knitted or crocheted piece the uneven blue coloring of a piece of denim.

The most important thing to understand about denim yarn is that it is not actually made from denim material. It is similar to actual denim only in coloring and appearance. The texture, weight, and strength of denim yarn are in no way comparable to denim.

Denim yarn can be made from a variety of materials including cotton, wool, cashmere, microfiber, or a blend of these. When you choose the best denim yarn for your project, you will need to determine how soft you want the item to be. Cotton is the most common selection. Wool will be slightly warmer and softer. A cashmere blend will be very soft and smooth.

Next you will need to choose the specific color of denim yarn in which you are interested. Denim yarn comes in many shades of blue, ranging from deep navy to a pale, almost gray color. One concern with denim yarn is its tendency to bleed blue dye on onto the hands and needles or crochet hook of the crafter using it. The darker the color you are using, the more likely it is to bleed in this way.

Keep in mind that the color of the yarn you have chosen may fade over time and with washings. The first time you wash any piece made from denim yarn, you should wash it alone. You will probably want to wash the piece by hand to avoid stretching the fibers, though some pieces are deliberately washed in a rough manner to agitate the fabric in a process known as felting.

The final decision you need to make when selecting the best denim yarn is the gauge you want. The pattern for your project should tell you what gauge yarn and what size needle or crochet hook you will need. If you choose a gauge that is larger or smaller than the project calls for, the finished item will be proportionately larger or smaller as well. You will also need a different size needle or crochet hook to comfortably work with the yarn you have chosen.

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Discussion Comments


I don't know about whether they count as "denim" yarns, but I know a lot of companies, like Rowan yarn and Berroco yarn, make sort of tweeded and other kind of mottled yarns that could look like a denim or tweed fabric when knitted in the right sort of pattern.

If you want a different look but aren't sure about the denim yarns, this might be a good alternative.


@Monika- I have thought about projects like that too- it's a great way to recycle faded jeans! There are similar cool projects with things like t shirts and sweatshirts or sweatpants. It seems like such a simple process, I've been meaning to try it for awhile now.


When I clicked on this article, I thought this was going to be able "yarn" made from actual jeans! I saw a pattern recently where you actually cut jeans into strips and then knit with the fabric. It was for a purse, and I've been seriously considering trying it.

Anyway, this denim "look" yarn sounds pretty neat too. I have to admit, I love all things denim and I could totally see myself knitting a "jean" jacket for the winter time.


@JaneAir - I actually have a friend that made a knitting denim skirt and it looks great! One thing that I worry about as far as knitted skirts is the possibility of sagging in the behind area. My friend knitted her denim skirt at a tight gauge, and she hasn't had a problem with it.

Also, the yarn really does fade over time, just like a pair of jeans! I think if I were knitting a project with denim yarn, I would probably go with dark indigo because of the fading.


One thing to keep in mind about denim yarn is that it is often designed to shrink. Normally it will shrink about 30% lengthwise. So if you're going to use a denim yarn, you should use a pattern that's written for denim yarn!

Anyway, I know there are a few "higher-end" yarn brands that carry denim yarn. And a few of the cheaper "knock-off" brands do as well. I've been looking to make a knitted denim skirt for awhile, so I've been reading a lot of reviews.

It seem the only difference between the expensive and the less expensive denim yarn is just price! That's it. So I think I'm going to go with the cheaper yarn for my skirt.

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    • Fabrics made with denim yarn should be hand washed.
      Fabrics made with denim yarn should be hand washed.