22 Types of Fancy Yarns and Their Applications

Fancy yarns in textiles

Fancy yarns – fancy or faulty?
Let’s understand it by knowing the different types of fancy yarns and their applications in making different types of textile fabrics. In this article, Adita has listed 22 different types of fancy yarns.

What is fancy yarn?

'Fancy yarns' are those that have a decorative discontinuity or interruption in either colour or form, or both. This discontinuity is included to provide a more appealing aesthetic impact. Fancy yarns can be made from both natural (cotton, wool, and silk) and man-made fibres such as bright nylon, acrylic fibres with different shrinkage characteristics, trilobal polyester, bright viscose, triacetate, and cuprammonium rayon, or a combination of these.

Fancy yarns differ from basic single and folded yarns by having an uneven profile or unique construction. Abnormalities of various size and shape, such as neps, knots, loops, and snarls, are organised with varying distance between them in these yarns. Fancy yarns serve a variety of functions. The type of fibre used, its length, denier, cross-sectional shape, crimp, colour, lustre, dye affinity, shrinkage, and so on, can all be advantageous. For example, two or more fibres with different characteristics can be manipulated to produce interesting effects.

What is the objective of making fancy yarns?

Followings are the primary objectives of making fancy textile yarns. 
  • To impart aesthetic value
  • To make good use of faulty yarns
  • To upcycle or recycle waste materials and old pieces of fabric.

What is the principle behind this formation?

The basic structure of the fancy yarn is made by the following parameters.
  • The base or core yarn
  • The fancy effect yarn
  • The binder yarn.

To create the design, the fancy effect yarn is wrapped around the core yarn. The binder yarn secures the effect yarn to the base, preventing it from slipping as it is wound, woven, or knitted. Generally, fancy yarns have at least two of these characteristics.

How are the fancy yarns being prepared?

The majority of fancy yarns are made by specialised fancy spinners who use specially modified or custom-built machines. Marls, spirals, and gimps are relatively straightforward structures and may be produced on ordinary doubling frames or the ring spinning system. Gimp yarns require a binder and are therefore produced in two stages on the ring spinning system. 

Snarl, loop, and bouclé yarns are more exaggerated effects that require specialised feed systems. Some are made from 'fancy slivers,' which are small components in yarns spun by regular spinners while others are made entirely of continuous filament, with airjet texturing adaptations or extensions. The skilled programming of a jacquard-controlled weaving machine aids in the creation of a slub effect in weft yarns made from straight yarns.

System of Production
To make fancy yarns, different production systems are used based on yarn design. Here are a few commonly followed production systems for making fancy yarns.
  1. Feed System
  2. Ring spinning system
  3. Hollow spindle system
  4. Combined system
  5. Doubling system

Different types of fancy yarns

1. Marl yarn
A marl yarn is the most basic of the fancy effects, consisting of two yarns of the same count and twist but different colours or textures folded together to form a balanced yarn. A typical use of marl yarns is men’s suiting fabric to create a pinstripe effect.

2. Spiral or corkscrew yarn

A plied yarn is a type of fancy yarn with the distinctive smooth spiralling of one yarn component around the other. It looks a lot like marled yarn except here spiral yarn is overfed on one yarn. It can be manufactured using a doubling frame or the ring spinning system.

3. Gimp yarn

A gimp yarn is made up of three component yarns: the core, the effect, and the binder, and is manufactured in two stages. The core and the effect, which is usually overfed, are twisted together in the first stage, producing an intermediate yarn that resembles a spiral. The intermediate yarn is twisted together with the binder yarn in the second stage in the opposite direction of the twist used in the first stage. A gimp yarn is made up of a twisted core and an effect yarn wrapped around it to create wavy projections on the surface.

4. Diamond yarn

A diamond yarn is made by wrapping a coarse single yarn or roving with two fine yarn or filament components of contrasting colour, one in the direction of S twist and the other in the direction of Z twist. By extending and varying this technique, you can create multi-fold or 'cabled' yarns with a variety of effects.

5. Boucle yarn

This yarn is distinguished by a tight loop that protrudes from the body of the yarn at fairly regular intervals. These yarns are made up of three different yarns. The three parts of yarn are the core, the effect, and the tie or binder. The effect yarn is looped around a core or base yarn. To keep the loops in place, the third ply (binder) is wrapped over the effect ply. So, it is known as boucle yarn.

6. Loop yarn

The loop forming thread in this yarn creates prominent loops or circular ring shapes along the length of the yarn. Loop yarns are distinguished by the effect yarn's circular projections. They are usually made up of at least four component yarns: two cores, an effect, and a binder.

7. Snarl yarn

This is similar to loop yarn, except the looping yarn has a high twist, causing the loop to snarl. The loops created by the effect yarn fall under the influence of the untwisting stress in the yarn and form kinks due to the twist liveliness. The required snarl size and frequency can be obtained by carefully controlling the details of overfeeding and spinning tension, as well as the level of twist in the effect yarn.

8. Knop yarn

A knop yarn has prominent bunches of one or more of its component threads spaced at regular or irregular intervals along its length. It is typically produced using a machine with two pairs of rollers, each of which can be operated independently. One thread is delivered intermittently, while the other is delivered continuously. These bunches are formed when the excess effect yarn wraps around the core yarn at the same point. The yarn looks like a regular plied yarn between the knop sections. When using other yarns, the effect yarn overfeed is constant during production; when using knop yarns, the overfeed is controlled. The formation of the knop can be controlled by a device called knopping bar or a control bar.

9. Cloud or grandrelle yarn

Grandelle yarn is widely used in many textile mills. This is made by twisting two or more different coloured threads together. Typically, contrasting colours are chosen to highlight the Grandelle effect. There is no core yarn; both yarns alternately form the base and cover. It is created by using two pairs of rollers to alternate between fast and slow deliveries.

10. Stripe yarn

A stripe yarn contains alternating elongated knops, revealing a separate core. The sections of yarn between the knops take on the appearance of a multi-threaded marl yarn.

11. Slub yarn

A slub yarn is one in which slubs (thick places in the yarn) have been deliberately created to produce the desired effect, which may be slow and subtle or strong and sudden.

12. Nep and fleck yarn

It has a compact yarn structure with fibre cluster specks scattered along the base yarn structure. These yarns work best when the effect fibres and base yarn fibres have contrasting colours, but more subtle effects can be achieved when the effect fibre and base yarn have similar colours.

13. Button yarn

The ‘button’ is an intermittent effect, created by a sudden pause in the progress of the core yarns, which allows a build-up of the effect material, usually in this case a sliver or roving. While in yarn form it can offer a truly dramatic effect, it is less than straightforward to process into fabric, and in practice it is usually found in its more discreet manifestations. The exception to this is of course in hand knitting yarns, since it can be expected that a hand knitter will be able to devote the time and care required to achieve a successful result.

14. Chainette yarn

Chainette yarns are made by a miniaturised circular weft knitting process. The feed may be a filament or fi ne spun yarn, or may even include metallic laminate film, depending upon the characteristics desired. These yarns appear most often in fashion knitwear, although chainette yarns have been used in weaving and passementerie, and they have become extremely popular with textile artists and embroiderers as well.

15. Chenille yarn

It consists of a cut pile which may be made of a variety of fibres helically disposed around the two axial threads that secure it. Chenille yarns are traditionally used in the manufacture of furnishing fabrics and trimmings, fashion knitwear, and as decorative threads in many types of broad and narrow fabrics. There are several ways of making them. A chenille yarn has a very definite ‘nap’ – just like the velvet fabric that in some ways it resembles. This becomes clearer when, instead of the dense pile to which we are accustomed, we see a chenille that has a sparse and strongly differentiated pile.

16. Mock-chenille yarn

A mock chenille does not at all resemble a true chenille yarn in its appearance as a yarn, but when it is woven into a fabric it will give an effect very similar to that of a chenille. It will, however, seem much harsher in handle because it does not involve cutting the loops of the effect yarns and so it lacks the ‘velvety’ feel. It is in fact a doubled corkscrew or gimp yarn, and it is made by doubling together two or more unbalanced corkscrew or gimp yarns in the reverse direction with sufficient twist to form a balanced structure.

17. Pompom yarn

The most recent addition to the armoury of the chenille spinner is the development of an intermittent chenille yarn, often referred to as a ‘pompom’ or ‘marshmallow’ yarn. This yarn alternates sections of chenille yarn with a simple cabled yarn, and is targeted at the hand knitting market.

18. Cover yarn

A cover yarn is one in which a yarn at the core is completely covered by fibre or yarn wrapped around it. It is familiar to embroiderers, because many metallic embroidery threads take the form of a core thread with a metallic thread, film or flat ribbon wrapped around it, but the method is most commonly used to cover elastomeric yarns, which would otherwise be extremely uncomfortable to wear.

19. Metallic yarn

True metal threads, of the type used since antiquity for embellishment, are made by extruding metal to create a fi ne thread, called ‘wyre’, and then wrapping it around a former to create the characteristic coiled shape. Many metallic yarns are formed of slit laminated films, wrapped around a core, or lightly bound with a fine filament binder.

20. Eccentric yarn

An eccentric yarn is an undulating gimp yarn, often produced by binding an irregular yarn, for example, a stripe, slub, or knop yarn, in the direction opposite to the initial stage, creating graduated half-circular loops along the compound yarn.

21. Fascinated yarn

A fasciated yarn is a staple fibre yarn that, by virtue of the method used in its manufacture, consists of a core of parallel fibres bound together by wrapper fibres. The name derives from the ‘fasces’, bundles of rods bound together with an axe in the middle, which in ancient Rome were the symbol of a magistrate’s power. Yarns made under the airjet spinning method are of this structure, although they hardly class as ‘fancy’ in themselves.

22. Tape yarn

Tape or ribbon yarn can be made using a variety of techniques such as braiding, crocheting, warp knitting, and weft knitting. This material has recently gained popularity, particularly in fashion knitwear. It is also possible to use narrow woven ribbon, nonwoven tapes, or slit film in the same manner. Taps yarns are made in both tube and flat forms.

Fancy yarn types

  1. 2012(P)-IJERA_Nisarahmed (Technology, structure, and applications of fancy yarns).pdf
  2. Fancy Yarns for Fashion by: Chidambaram Rameshkumar (Bannari Amman Institute of Technology)
  3. Specialist Yarn and Fabric Structures: Developments and Applications Edited by R. H. Gong
  4. https://textilelearner.net/different-types-of-fancy-yarns/
  5. https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/engineering/fancy-yarn
  6. https://www.textileadvisor.com/2021/03/different-types-of-fancy-yarns.html
  7. https://www.textiletoday.com.bd/basic-idea-fancy-yarn/
  8. https://www.sutlejtextiles.com/blogs/blog-post.php?id=D5 
  9. https://textilevaluechain.in/in-depth-analysis/articles/textile-articles/production-processes-for-value-added-fancy-yarns/

About the Author: Adita Banerjee is pursuing her graduate degree in Textile Technology from the Government College of Engineering and Textile Technology, Serampore. She loves writing content and reading books.

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