Best novelty yarns
Looking for something different for your next knitting or crochet project? Then check out our list of the best novelty yarns!
If you're looking to add some special yarn to your stash, then you've come to the right place! You may already have a favourite DK or 4ply yarn, but there's a whole world of fun and novelty yarns out there for you to try! But what exactly do we mean when we say novelty yarn? Essentially we're looking at yarns that will create a textured or visual effect that you wouldn't get with a regular yarn - from eyelash yarns to faux fur yarns and glittery sequin yarns to super-fine mohair yarns - there's loads of unique yarns available. Because of the nature of these special yarns, they're often hard to classify as a standard yarn weight, so you may find them listed as 'Fashion yarns' by some retailers.
If you fancy trying some novelty yarns, here's just a few of our favourites! And if you're looking for more advice for your yarn purchases, why not take a look at our pick of the Best cotton yarns or the Best hand-dyed yarns.
1. Sirdar Alpine Luxe faux fur yarn
One of our favourite developments in novelty yarns recently has got to be the trend in faux fur yarns, like the amazing Sirdar Alpine yarn. It creates a realistic fluffy and furry texture, and as it's made from 100% Polyester it's not only fur free but also free of any animal fibres at all, so even vegans can enjoy the furry feeling. It's surprisingly easy to crochet with as there's a solid strand that is hidden under all that fluffiness, and it works up similar to a super-chunky weight yarn. But if you're wondering what you'd use it for, there are loads of options - from a simple fluffy pompom, a super-snuggly scarf or collar, or even to add some furry texture to your amigurumi animals! There's 14 furry shades to choose from, with some fabulous animal inspired tones such as polar bear, lynx and seal!
Buy Sirdar Alpine Luxe faux fur yarn now on Amazon
2. King Cole Tinsel Chunky yarn
Next up is what we call an eyelash yarn, which is a similar structure to faux fur yarn above, but with a very different end result. Basically, an eyelash yarn is where you have one central solid strand that you crochet or knit with, but that strand has lots of fibres or threads coming off it which create the texture - they can be a bit fiddly to work with at first as it's easy to catch those 'lashes' in your stitches, but you soon get used to it. This King Cole Tinsel yarn has a shiny metallic effect that looks just like classic Christmas tree tinsel, and we particularly love the festive red and green mix! It would look fantastic hooked up as a festive wreath, but you can also find it a wide variety of solid and mixed shades which are great for adding texture to all sorts of different projects!
Buy King Cole Tinsel Chunky yarn on Amazon
3. Unique Yarns Co Glow in the dark yarns
When it comes to yarns that are truly unique, then you've got to check out the amazing Unique Yarns Co. Specialising in creating crochet and knitting yarns that really push the boundaries, be that from the fibres they're made from or the dye processes they use, they never fail to impress us with their incredible products. One of our favourites has to be their glow in the dark yarn, a dk yarn which surprisingly is made from 100% wool, and is available in a few different glowing colours (although we love that classic green glow!)
Buy Unique yarns co glow in the dark yarns on Amazon
4. Recycled Sari Silk chunky yarn
As well as yarns with interesting textures or dye effects, we're also big fans of novelty yarns that use recycling to create interesting fibre effects. This recycled Sari Silk yarn by HeavenHemp is a chunky yarn spun from recycled fibres from Sari production, creating a silky yarn full of colourful character that shimmers in the light - we love using it to make crochet bags and containers.
Buy Recycled Sari Silk chunky yarn on Etsy
5. Wool and the Gang Mixtape yarn
Here's another yarn that uses upcycled fibres to create an interesting and unique yarn. The Mixtape yarn from Wool and the Gang uses upcycled T-shirt scraps to create a fabulous eco-conscious shoe-lace style ribbon yarn. This chunky style of yarn is one for your big hooks and is perfect for using on projects that you want to have a sculptural element (bowls or baskets for example).
Buy Wool and the Gang Mixtape yarn now from Wool and the Gang
6. DMC Nova Vita 12
If you like the sound of an upcycled super-chunky yarn, then you might also like the DMC Nova Vita 12 yarn. This yarn is quite unlike anything we've come across before - it features a tubular structure of a woven outer cord with a thinner inside cord, and is made of 80% upcycled cotton and 20% polyester. It would be fabulous for Macramé, or hooking up your super-size crochet projects with a 10mm hook (or even bigger!)
Buy the DMC Nova Vita 12 from TheKnittingNetwork.co.uk
7. Stylecraft Pearls
Want to really experiment with your crochet texture? Then you should take a look at Stylecrafts Pearls yarn! It's an interesting pompom yarn that is similar to 'thick and thin' yarns that vary in thickness and weight throughout. In this case, a thin main strand which has a unique bobble/crimped appearance is interspersed with fluffy pompoms, and will create different effects when worked on different sized hooks or needles.
Buy Stylecraft Pearls from TheKnittingNetwork.co.uk
8. Wool and the Gang Take Care Mohair
When it comes to fluffy fibres, you can't really beat a classic mohair yarn! While some may think of Mohair as belonging to vintage fashion (or even the punk era), it's also a really interesting way to bring some added texture and charm into your crochet. This Take Care Mohair from Wool and the Gang is super-fluffy and can be used by itself to create super-snuggly items, however we're a fan of using it in conjunction with other more standard yarns to add a whole extra level of character!
Buy the Wool and the Gang Take Care Mohair from WoolandtheGang.com
9. King Cole Cosmos Glitter thread yarn
We'll admit it - we're suckers for anything shiny! So of course we love the King Cole Cosmos yarn. Not only is it a beautiful metallic thread, but it is also adorned with sequins throughout, giving you some spectacular sparkles. It is very much a thread rather than a yarn, so you'll find it difficult to crochet with it by itself, however combine it with a complimentary DK or Aran yarn and you're going to hook up something rather special!
Buy the King Cole Cosmos Glitter thread yarn on Amazon
10. Hand spun bobble yarn
Here's another fabulous pompom bobble yarn that is perfect for creative crocheters and knitters, however this one is also hand-dyed and hand-spun on a drop spindle by highly skilled artisans in Chile. We love that the way the colours span across the yarn as well as the the pompoms thanks to the pompoms being directly spun into the yarn before its dyed. Plus, it's supplied by WildWoven who are a member of BAFTS (British Association of Fairtrade Shops and Suppliers), so you know your purchase is doing some good too!
Buy Hand spun bobble yarn on Etsy
11. Unique yarns co fluffy paper yarn
Here's another incredible yarn from Unique Yarns Co. This fluffy paper yarn adds a whole new twist to eyelash style yarns, with a central cotton core and evenly spaced long "wings" of cellulose creating a soft and fluffy fibre unlike any you'll have come across before. Because of the fibre content it's super-lightweight, and again can be worked by itself or in conjunction with another yarn to add a fantastic decorative effect.
Buy Unique yarns co fluffy paper yarn now on Etsy
12. James C Brett Zodiac ladder yarn
We've got another yarn that really appeals to our sparkly yarn obsession! The Zodiac yarn from James C. Brett is described as a ladder yarn, which is essentially just like it sounds - two strands that are connected by rungs (in this case sections of colours), plus there's also a metallic thread running throughout for extra sparkle! It's quite similar to ribbon style yarns, but is a lot lighter and less bulky, making it great for delicate accessories like shawls or jewellery, or adding some fancy edging or fringing to a crochet or knitting project.
Buy the James C Brett Zodiac ladder yarn from WoolWarehouse.co.uk
13. Hand dyed Mohair Kidsilk yarn
If you like the idea of adding some Mohair into your knitting or crochet projects, but want something really wild, then you could always try this Hand dyed Mohair Kidsilk yarn by Elizabeth Pawle. With a luxurious blend of 72% kid mohair and 28% silk, you'll not only get super-soft fluffy fibres from this yarn, but also an eye-popping burst of colourful neon speckles too! We love it!
Buy the Hand dyed Mohair Kidsilk yarn on Etsy
14. Heavily embroidered Sari Silk ribbon
Ok so maybe you're intrigued by some ribbon style yarn, but want something that is eco-friendy and upcycled, as well as being full of character and preferably with plenty of sparkle?! Then don't worry, we've got you covered - you're going to love this Heavily embroidered Sari Silk ribbon from YarnYarnYarns! Made from chiffon silk saris that were for special occasions like weddings and festivals, they have loads of embroidered details, beads and sequins that help to make each skein truly unique!
Buy the Heavily embroidered Sari Silk ribbon on Etsy
15. Hand dyed slub yarn
If you're feeling like some of these yarns are a bit too outrageous for you, then don't worry, here's an example of a more standard yarn but one with some extra charming features. This hand-dyed yarn from JAMESMAKESYARN is a beautiful example of a hand-dyed sock yarn with fantastic colours and speckles, but it's also what we call a slub yarn. Slubs are lumps or knots of thicker pieces in your yarn, which may also be called nubs (or even neps, but these are technically something slightly different), which when crocheted or knitted help to add an extra dimension of texture into your fabric. Traditionally these would have been viewed as imperfections and removed, however when used intentionally they can create amazing results!
Buy this Hand dyed slub yarn on Etsy
16. Red Heart reflective yarn
At first glance you might not notice the reason for us including this last one in our novelty yarns list, but shine a light on it and you'll soon see why - it's reflective! This bulky weight yarn in solid colours has a reflective strand worked into the twist, which shows up incredibly well when exposed to flash photography or vehicle headlights, making it a great yarn for winter hats as you'll be sure to be seen in the dark evenings!
Buy Red Heart reflective yarn from Amazon
We hope you’ve enjoyed our pick of the best novelty yarns, don’t forget if you need any help with your crochet stitches you can always check out our crochet for beginners guide. And if you’re looking to treat yourself, check out our list of the best crochet hooks and the best crochet kits for beginners.
Matt Spiers is a crochet artist and designer who has been overseeing Gathered's crochet articles for over 2 years. He previously worked as Digital Assistant for Simply Crochet magazine and is our in house video editing pro. What started as a hobby a decade ago led to Matt developing a passion (and then a career) with crochet. As well as still regularly writing and designing for Simply Crochet magazine, Matt is a crochet artist in his own right, having displayed and created crochet installations at festivals and fibre events across the UK. You can keep up to date with Matt at @onemancrochet on Instagram.