June 2010

How to identify unknown fibers

If you have a ball of yarn and do not know the fiber content of the yarn, an easy way to distinguish the content is a burn test. As easy as it may sound, burn test is very dangerous and you should be very cautious conducting it. For safety reasons, do not perform the burn test on the ball of yarn. Instead, cut a 4" (10 cm) piece and do the test far away from the rest of the yarn and other flammables. Burn tests should be done by an adult with a bucket of water or a non-plastic sink with running water at hand. I cannot emphasize enough about safety.

The burn test will allow you to determine if the yarn is made of natural fibers or man-made fibers. Then, it would be easy to figure out how to take care of your garment made with that particular yarn. Below is a list of different fibers and how to identify them with the burn test.

To see a chart explaining all the details of the burn test check out: http://www.ditzyprints.com/dpburnchart.html

Nazanin S. Fard

Needlecraft University

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