Looking for tips on yarn type - any help appreciated!

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sejmills wrote
on Jan 6, 2013 11:31 AM

Hi all -- I'm looking for yarn to use to crochet neckwarmers for athletes - I'm new to crochet but am looking for a wicking or 'technical' yarn that won't get soggy with sweat and won't hold odor.  Any ideas?  

Thanks so much.

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Chester2010 wrote
on Jan 28, 2013 3:11 PM


There is a lot of info about weights and ply, etc. here.  I'll copy what I think applies best to your question.  I do not know if there is a yarn that repels odor, but I would watch for ease of machine wash and dry.

Vegetable fibers:

  • Cotton is the fiber surrounding the seeds in a cotton pod. Usually white but there are green and brown varieties. Cotton is heavy, dense and inelastic; although it will regain its shape after washing, its ability to do so decreases over time. It is comfortable to wear in a cool climate but not a hot one (the opposite of wool) and is slow to dry once wet. It makes a weaker yarn than silk or linen but is stronger than wool.


  • Linen comes from the flax plant. It is durable and stronger than any other fiber. Fabric made from it becomes softer and more beautiful with age. It absorbs moisture better than cotton and dries more quickly, making it more comfortable to wear than cotton in hot temperatures. It is easier to wash than wool and does not stretch or shrink.


  • Ramie is made from nettles (as in the Fairy Tale "The Swan Princes," where their sister had to gather nettles and spin them into yarn.) It is often used as a substitute for linen since it is less expensive but shares linen's good qualities.


  • Rayon is a fiber produced from natural ingredients by artificial means. Cellulose from wood pulp or cotton is treated chemically until it may be drawn into filaments. Rayon is a weak fiber but it is absorbent, dries quickly, and stretches (although it does recover some when dried in a automatic dryer.)

Synthetic fibers:


  • Nylon is lightweight, strong, elastic, resists abrasion, does not stretch or shrink (except at high temperatures,) and is easy to wash. It is usually combined with wool to impart its strength and elasticity to the wool. Pure nylon is available as a 'knit-along' to strengthen sections of a garment that will encounter wear, such as elbows and sock heels.


  • Polyester is the most common type of synthetic fiber. Fabric made from it retains its shape. It adds strength and resilience to natural fibers. Polyester is very easy to wash and is more comfortable to wear than many other synthetics.


  • Acrylics are the most common synthetics in knitting yarns. They are resilient, moderately strong, somewhat inelastic, feel good to the hand and are light in weight. Acrylics are easily made to imitate natural fibers so they are sold as alternatives to wool. However, acrylics cannot wick away moisture from the body so their warmth diminishes when wet. The fiber burns readily unless treated and will shrink in moist heat. Acrylics are often used to achieve novel textures and characteristics that are not available with natural fibers.


  • Metallics (described above) are best used as a 'knit-along' with another, stronger yarn.

There may be specialty sport-fabric yarns somewhere, but my guess is that they would be expensive.  Did a google search "antimicrobial yarn."  Some interesting reading there.  Not really for the consumer market.


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Char55 wrote
on Jan 28, 2013 6:07 PM

Found this site that claims a blend of soy and polypropelene in it's yarn ''wicks away" moisture, but it's kind of pricey.


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