All About Crocheting with Wool Yarn

Hey y’all!

I’m continuing my series about the different types of yarn, what they’re good for, and answers to some frequently asked questions, this one is about wool yarn!

Wool yarn is warm, soft (with the right quality), and fairly absorbent without feeling wet! This makes it a popular choice among crocheters.

Read on if you want to know more about crocheting with wool yarn!

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links and I may receive a commission if you purchase through them, at no extra cost to you.

Why Wool Yarn?

Wool yarn is made from the fleece of sheep and occasionally other animals like alpacas and goats. And it’s great for absorbing moisture.

“The cuticle cells provide a tough exterior, protecting the fibre from damage. The cells have a waxy coating, making wool water repellent, but still allowing absorption of water vapour. The water-repellent surface makes wool garments naturally shower-proof and also reduces staining because spills don’t soak in easily.

Wool can absorb up to 30% of its weight in water without feeling wet. It also absorbs and retains dyestuffs very well, helps remove sweat and absorbs odours” (Science Learning Hub)

Citation: Wool Fibre Properties. Science Learning Hub. (n.d.).

Wool yarn advantages


Wool is an excellent insulator and can keep you warm in cold weather. It has natural thermal properties that help regulate body temperature by trapping warm air close to the body.


Wool can absorb moisture (up to 30% of its weight) without feeling wet, making it a good choice for things like sweaters and socks. It also helps keep you dry by wicking sweat away from your skin.


Wool yarn is naturally elastic, which means it can stretch and bounce back to its original shape. This elasticity makes it great for garments that need to maintain their shape, like socks and fitted sweaters.


Wool is a long-lasting and durable fiber, this makes items that have been made with wool yarn resilient and able to withstand wear and tear.


Wool can be incredibly soft, especially when spun from certain breeds of sheep, like Merino. It feels comfortable against the skin and is often used for making scarves, hats, and blankets.

Environmentally Friendly:

Wool is a renewable and biodegradable natural fiber, making it an environmentally friendly choice for crafting. It can be sustainably sourced from sheep, goats (cashmere and mohair), and other animals.

Odor resistance:

Wool has natural antibacterial properties that help prevent odors from developing. This makes it a good choice for things like socks.

Fire resistance:

Wool is naturally flame-retardant, and it has a high ignition temperature. It doesn’t melt or drip when exposed to flames, which makes it good for things like coasters.


Wool yarn comes in various weights and textures, making it suitable for a wide range of projects, from fine lace shawls to chunky winter sweaters.


Wool takes dye well, resulting in vibrant and long-lasting colors. It’s a popular choice for hand-dyeing projects.

Natural UV protection:

Wool offers some protection against harmful UV rays, making it a good choice for outdoor garments and accessories.

Wool yarn disadvantages


High-quality wool yarn can be more expensive than synthetic or other natural fiber yarns. The cost can vary depending on the breed of sheep, processing method, and yarn brand.


Some people may be allergic to wool and experience itching, redness, or skin irritation when wearing or handling wool items.


Wool requires more care and maintenance than some other fibers. It is often recommended to hand wash or use a delicate cycle with cold water to avoid felting or excessive shrinkage. Special wool detergents may be needed.


Some wool yarns have a tendency to pill, especially in areas that experience friction, such as underarms or cuffs. Regular maintenance with a fabric shaver or lint remover may be necessary to keep the surface looking smooth.

Color Bleeding:

Certain wool yarns may bleed color when washed or exposed to moisture. To prevent color bleeding, you may need to use a color fixative or wash items separately.

Not Vegan-Friendly:

Since wool is an animal-derived fiber, it is not suitable for those who follow a vegan lifestyle.

Merino Wool:

Merino wool is known for its incredible softness that’s often compared to cashmere. It’s very warm without being too heavy. And it also has a nice drape and elasticity to it. These make it perfect for projects such as scarves, shawls, and baby blankets.


Lambswool is derived from the first shearing of a young sheep, making it especially soft and luxurious.

Alpaca Wool:

Alpaca wool is prized for its warmth and silky texture, which makes it ideal for scarves and hats.

This yarn can come in varying proportions of alpaca fiber, often labeled as baby alpaca (the finest and softest), superfine alpaca, or simply alpaca. Be aware of the fiber content to understand the softness and warmth of the yarn you’re working with.

Shetland Wool:

Shetland wool is known for its fine fibers and is often used for delicate lace projects.

Tweed Wool:

Tweed yarn contains colorful flecks or nubs, creating a rustic, textured look, great for classic and earthy designs.

Wool yarn project ideas

Cozy Blankets:

Crochet a warm and inviting wool blanket to snuggle under during chilly evenings.

Winter Accessories:

Make some stylish scarves, mittens, and hats to keep you toasty all winter long.

Textured Shawls:

Explore intricate stitch patterns and create beautiful woolen shawls.


Hand-crocheted sweaters provide a unique, personalized addition to your wardrobe.


Create adorable stuffed animals and toys using plush wool yarn.

Tips for crocheting with wool yarn

Gauge Matters:

Pay attention to gauge to ensure your project turns out the right size and fit.


Block your wool projects to shape and set the stitches. You can follow this tutorial by DoraDoes if you need tips on how to block your work!

Hand Wash:

Wool yarn is often best hand-washed or machine-washed on a gentle cycle in cold water to prevent felting.

To hand wash, fill your sink or basin with cool water, add some wool detergent, soak it and give it a good squeeze (don’t wring it!), put it on a towel and roll it up to get out the excess water, lay it out to dry.


Store wool yarn in a cool, dry place to prevent moth damage.


Experiment with colorwork techniques to create stunning patterns with your wool yarn.

Wool Yarn Frequently Asked Questions

Is wool yarn itchy?

Wool yarn can be itchy depending on what type you’re using. It depends on the type of wool, the processing method, and individuals sensitivity.

Different types of wool can vary in terms of itchiness. For example, fine wools like Merino, Cormo, and Rambouillet are known for their softness and are less likely to cause itching. Coarser wools, such as those from some heritage breeds, can be itchier due to the larger diameter of their fibers.

The way the wool is processed can also affect its itchiness. Wool that has been carefully processed to remove lanolin (a natural oil found in wool) and other impurities is generally less likely to cause itching. Superwash wool, which has undergone a treatment to make it machine washable, can sometimes feel less itchy as well.

The fineness of the yarn used in a project can make a difference. Fine-gauge yarns with more plies tend to be softer and less likely to itch, while thicker, single-ply yarns may have a coarser texture.

People vary in their sensitivity to wool. Some individuals are more prone to experiencing itchiness when wearing or working with wool, while others may not be bothered at all. Itchiness can be influenced by factors such as skin type, allergies, and personal tolerance.

Does wool yarn stretch?

Yes, wool yarn is stretchy. It can stretch up to 30% when dry and up to 50% when wet, before returning to its original shape.

Because of this, projects made from wool yarn are pretty durable. They hold up against repeated stretching and bending without breaking or losing its shape.

This stretching ability also makes it very comfortable for garments that you wear, since it’ll stretch with you.

Why is wool yarn so expensive?

Wool yarn is often more expensive than other types of yarn because of the labor-intensive nature of producing yarn from wool. As well as costs related to making sure the sheep are treated well.

The quality and type of wool can vary significantly depending on the breed of sheep. Some high-quality wools, like Merino or cashmere, come from specific breeds that produce finer and softer fibers. These breeds are often selectively bred for their wool quality, but they may yield less wool per sheep, making it more scarce and expensive.

Raising and caring for sheep is an ongoing expense. Proper nutrition, healthcare, and humane treatment are necessary to ensure the well-being of the animals and the quality of their wool.

Shearing sheep is a skilled and labor-intensive process. The wool must be carefully removed from the sheep without damaging the fibers. After shearing, the raw wool requires cleaning and processing to remove impurities like dirt, grease, and lanolin. This processing adds to the overall cost.

Some types of wool are relatively scarce. For example, cashmere wool comes from the fine undercoat of cashmere goats, which is limited in supply. This scarcity can drive up the price of cashmere yarn.

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