People often view thread and wool as two completely different textiles from yarn. However, in reality, they are actually a type of yarn, albeit with different characteristics than what you’d usually call yarn.
Thread, in particular, is a type of yarn commonly used for sewing. Compared to the yarn used by knitters for knitting, a thread is a bit thicker. But while it’s a bit different from the typical knitting yarn, it’s a type of yarn nonetheless. So, an interesting question comes to mind: Can you knit with thread?
Surprisingly enough, you can knit with thread. Though it’s important to keep in mind that not all threads are knittable—only specific types like embroidery floss and crochet thread.
Of course, there are a couple of things you need to keep in mind first. Otherwise, you may use the wrong type of thread. To start with, you must understand the difference between yarn and thread.
What Is the Difference Between Yarn and Thread?
Before anything else, keep in mind that thread is a type of yarn.
The term “yarn” specifically refers to a collection of interlocked fibers that people use for all kinds of activities. These include knitting, weaving, crocheting, sewing, rope making, and embroidery.
For that reason, it doesn’t make sense to differentiate yarn and thread, as it is akin to differentiating meat from pork or beef. So, in this case, yarn will refer to the type of yarn commonly used for knitting.
There are really only two main differences between knitting yarn and thread:
- Usage: Knitting yarn is, of course, used for knitting and perhaps even crocheting. Meanwhile, a thread is commonly used for either sewing, embroidery, or crochet, but rarely knitting.
- Thickness: Thread is much lighter and thinner compared to knitting yarn.
So, there’s really not much difference between the two. However, though there are only two main differences, they have a huge impact on the knitting project. Thickness, in particular, is one of the distributing factors that affects a knitting project’s quality or, in some cases, chances of success.
If you use yarn that’s too thick to knit a sweater, for example, there’s a good chance the sweater will end up too dense. Put simply, thickness is an important factor to consider before you start knitting.
To put it into perspective, Craft Yarn Council (CYC), the association that represents the leading yarn companies knitting, has a Standard Yarn Weight System. It is a linear system that categorizes yarn weight and thickness. Currently, there are eight categories numbered 0 to 7, 7 being the thickest.
If we were to measure the thread thickness using this system, it would be beyond 7, which is also considered Jumbo. And since that’s the case, it’s not a common practice to use thread for knitting.
However, it’s true that apart from thickness, knitting yarn and thread have countless similarities.
For one, both knitting yarn and thread are made of plant and animal fibers like wool, silk, linen, cotton, and hemp. Both yarn and thread also come in a variety of colors, types, and sizes.
So, it makes sense that you can knit with thread. But as stated earlier, there are limitations if you were to do this. One particular limitation is that there are only a few types of thread you can knit with.
Two Types of Thread You Can Knit With
Though thread is already a type of yarn, there are other types of thread according to several factors. For instance, as far as construction is concerned, a thread can be categorized into the following:
- Bonded Thread
- Core spun Thread
- Filament Thread
- Monofilament Thread
- Spun Thread
- Textured Thread
You can also categorize thread according to materials, such as:
Most importantly, a thread can be classified according to its functionality, and these include:
- Embroidery Thread
- Sewing Thread
- Crochet Thread
Among its numerous types, only a few are viable for knitting projects. There are two, to be precise.
Can I Knit With Embroidery Thread?
One of the types of thread viable for knitting is embroidery thread, also known as embroidery floss.
So, yes, you can knit with embroidery thread.
Embroidery floss is best known for its incredible versatility. That’s why it wouldn’t be strange to find someone who uses this material for all their needlework projects, be it embroidery or sewing.
Of course, knitting is no exception. Keep in mind, though, that being viable doesn’t necessarily mean being excellent material. Embroidery thread is still a bit too thin than most yarns used for knitting.
As such, you may have to make some adjustments, such as going for a knitting needle with three or four sizes higher than usual. Stranded embroidery floss is particularly handy for knitting since it’s thicker than your usual thread. And as such, its thickness is closer to the thickness of knitting yarn.
In addition, stranded embroidery floss comes in skeins containing six strands.
If it’s too thick, you can always remove one or two strands. While it’ll be a bit time-consuming, you at least have a bit of control over the thread’s thickness. As for needle size, knitters would typically use #2s or #3s. You can also try different-sized needles yourself to see which works perfectly for you.
Can I Knit With Crochet Thread?
Yes, you can knit with crochet thread. It’s one of the two options you have.
As the name implies, crochet thread is a type of thread you use for crocheting. It’s almost always made of extra fine cotton, and like most threads, it’s much thinner than the yarn used for knitting.
Unfortunately, though, it’s not preferred by most knitters, at least compared to embroidery floss.
That’s because crochet thread is mostly made of cotton, and cotton is known for its lack of elasticity, so it’s not ideal for sweaters where “stretch” is important. It mostly boasts smoothness and softness.
However, if you don’t necessarily need elasticity, crochet thread is the perfect material. It might be a bit thinner than knitting yarn, but not by much. To put it into perspective, a size 3 crochet thread would have roughly the same thickness as a #0 Lace Weight Yarn or #1 Super Fine Weight Yarn.
Why Would You Want To Knit With Thread?
Every knitter has different reasons why they use thread for knitting projects. But the main appeal is that using thread allows the knitter to add more intricate details to the project.
For example, if you want to add words or lettering to a sweater, the yarn might take up too much space due to its thickness. Thread, however, should be thin enough that you’ll still have a lot of space after you have added that detail. Knitting the letters is also likely going to be much easier.
Can You Use Any Yarn for Knitting?
Unfortunately, no, you cannot use any yarn for knitting. After all, you’ve already learned that thread is actually a type of yarn, and it’s usually not advisable to use it for knitting. Many other types of yarn will likely not go well if you were to use them for your knitting project.
For that reason, it would be for the best if you just stuck to yarn labeled with any of the following:
- #0 Lace
- #1 Super Fine
- #2 Fine
- #3 Light
- #4 Medium
- #5 Bulky
- #6 Super Bulky
- #7 Jumbo
If the yarn has these labels, chances are it’s suitable for both knitting and crocheting.
What Is Good Yarn for Knitting?
It generally depends on how you define “good.” The suitability of a knitting yarn will ultimately depend on the project. Here’s how it usually goes as far as yarn weight or thickness is concerned:
- #0 is best for super light items like dollies and other lace designs.
- #1 to #3 are best for small items like children’s toys, garments, and gloves.
- #4 is best for hats, mittens, and sweaters. It’s also the most commonly used type of yarn by knitters, as it’s suitable for most skill levels.
- #5 to #7 are best for chunky items like blankets and scarves.
You might also want to check the material of the yarn. Some of the best fibers for knitting yarn are:
- silk, and
Just like the yarn weight, how good the material is will depend on the project. For example, as mentioned earlier, cotton isn’t that elastic compared to other fibers, so it’s not suitable for a sweater.
Knitting is a flexible craft, and the fact that you can use thread, a textile that you would normally only use for sewing or embroidery, is a testament to this. However, it’s not completely flexible; you can use pretty much any fabric, be it thread or yard, to knit. There are also limits, and hopefully, with this guide, you know exactly which textiles you can use for your knitting projects.