Close up of chenille yarn duck

Tips for Using Chenille Yarn

If you’ve shopped for yarn, scrolled Instagram, or watched YouTube lately, you’ve probably seen this crochet trend – chenille yarn! Sometimes called blanket yarn, this fiber has been around for years, but all of the sudden it’s everywhere! Recently I tried it for the first time and learned a LOT in the process. I’ve gathered all my best tips for using chenille yarn, and hopefully they will help you as you try using it, too.

I’ll be honest right up front and tell you that adjusting to chenille yarn wasn’t a seamless process for me. Despite designing crochet patterns professionally for years, some of my skills just didn’t transfer. But even though there were many aspects of using chenille yarn that I did not enjoy, I ended up loving my finished project (using a super cute duck lovey pattern by Mama Haekelt). It was worth it in the end, so let’s tackle these issues one by one.

Tips for Using Chenille Yarn

Issue One: Chenille is Messy

Oh my goodness, chenille is like-butter soft, but is it ever messy! I used Loops and Threads “Chenille Home Slim” yarn. This yarn constantly shed off of cut ends, however there was very little shedding once the yarn was crocheted into a fabric. My project used fairly tight single crochet stitches, so I could see there being more shedding in a project with looser stitches.

If you’re dealing with a lot of shedding, I recommend not wearing black pants and getting a lint roller while using it. This is not the yarn you want to work with when you have to dash off and be presentable somewhere! Seriously, just accept that chenille is going to shed a bit and keep on trucking.

Issue Two: Chenille Yarn Breaks Easily

This may have been the characteristic of chenille yarn that annoyed me the most. I never realized how many different ways my typical crochet habits pull on the yarn until I switched to chenille. The pattern I was following, done in chenille too, called for a magic ring. But no matter what I tried, my chenille yarn just would not pull the magic ring closed. The yarn would either snap and break or just not budge.

To compensate, I was able to make the initial ring opening very small. Then, because the yarn was so fluffy, the stitches that I worked into the ring filled this small opening almost completely. Other options: chain 2 and work all your stitches into the second chain, as though it’s the magic ring. Or, wrap a length of worsted weight yarn with the chenille yarn as you make your magic ring, then pull it closed using the worsted weight yarn’s tail.

Issue Three: Chenille Skeins Fall Apart

I thought I knew what I was doing when it came to large, unwieldy skeins of yarn: keep that yarn label on and use the center pull method. Well, I tried this with my first skein of chenille yarn. And the center pull was almost impossible to find. Once I did, you know the story…yarn barf. It was so tangled that I was forced to use the other loose end (not from the center). And once I started down this road, the skein eventually fell apart and became a huge mess.

I’ve used another skein since, and was easily able to use the center pull method, so my advice is to go that route as much as possible. But if it’s difficult, I’m sorry to say you may just have to re-wind the yarn yourself to avoid the falling-apart, yarn-barf disaster I dealt with.

Messy chenille yarn - tips for keeping the skein intact
Messy, barfy yarn

Issue Four: The Ends are Hard to Weave In

Okay, I know I said the most annoying thing about chenille yarn was how easily it breaks. But now that I’m thinking this over, the most frustrating part of this yarn may be dealing with its ends. Especially if you’re like me, and you really like to make sure your ends are secure. This may be the actual reason why so many current, popular patterns that use chenille yarn are also designed to be “no-sew” patterns – using these yarn ends to attach pieces is nearly impossible.

The ends of chenille yarn fray and the fiber just falls off, which makes it even more important to properly secure them. Threading these ends onto a typical yarn needle just did not work. So what did I do? As much as possible, I knotted my ends inside of the project and crocheted over them for a full round, to make them securely disappear inside of the piece. For final ends, I used my crochet hook to weave the end through many stitches, then pulled it deep into the stuffing.

As mentioned before, I also crocheted pieces directly into the project, rather than sewing them on. And when I did have to sew two pieces together? I used worsted weight yarn in a matching color, NOT the chenille yarn. This worked surprisingly well – that good old worsted weight yarn disappeared right into the fluff.

Tips for using chenille yarn when it breaks
Chenille yarn is very difficult to thread onto a yarn needle

Issue 5: Chenille is Unforgiving…Or is It?

Frogging can be a nightmare with this yarn. The yarn seems happiest in a completed stitch, and can really resist being undone (in fact, I broke the yarn or stripped the fuzziness off of it a couple of times while trying to frog). It was easier to use my fingers to gently pull apart any stitches I needed to undo.

Even though it’s a pain if you realize you’ve made a mistake and need to frog, the thickness of chenille yarn hides many imperfections. So in some ways, it’s extremely forgiving, even if you mess up a little while following a pattern. It’s so fluffy it just looks cute no matter what!

So, Would I Use Chenille Yarn Again?

Absolutely, I would use chenille yarn again…but not daily or weekly. The yarn is so soft and the final results are so cute, that I think it’s worth some of the headaches. I may not be the biggest fan of chenille, but I can definitely see how it’s become so popular.

I hope you’ve found these tips for using chenille yarn helpful! If you’d like to see a comparison of a few popular crochet yarns, check out this video by Elise Rose Crochet. For more crocheting resources, click here. And let me know about your experiences with this yarn in the comments!

Cute duck made with chenille yarn
This adorable duck lovey was made with this pattern by designer Mama Haekelt

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Pin image for Pinterest sharing tips for using chenille yarn

© 2024 Crochet to Play
All rights reserved. Designed and written by Jennifer Percival.  This pattern is property of Crochet to Play.  The written pattern and images are for personal use only.  Please do not redistribute, transfer, or sell the pattern or images, in part or in whole. Thank you.

2 Comments

  1. Hi Jennifer, you’re the very first person I’ve written to on Pinterest but, after reading about using chenille yarn for crocheting, I’m so grateful for all those pointers both negative and positive! I’m a self taught crocheter way back in the days before the internet – particularly utube – was invented, but love to make little amigurumi figures and love to work with cotton.
    Every time I see a wonderful little figure that someone has made, I keep thinking how gorgeous they look and how I’d love to try using it. I’m still undecided!! Marilyn x

    1. Thank you, Marilyn! I know what you mean – there are so many adorable projects made with chenille yarn! It’s at least worth a try, even if you’re still loyal to cotton like me. Cotton is my favorite fiber!

      -Jennifer

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