The term novelty yarn is usually used to describe a kind of yarn that has an unusual texture or other unique features. Most are made of synthetic fibers, like nylon or polyester, but there are other types that are composed of all natural fibers like wool or cotton. Eyelash yarn, bouclé yarn, ribbon yarn, and ladder yarn are all novelty yarns that have unique textures. Self-striping yarn is a type that is dyed so it creates stripes of color when knit, crocheted, or woven.
Eyelash yarns, also called fun fur, are made of polyester fiber with a furry texture resembling eyelashes. These yarns are made of a thin central ply surrounded by short "hairs." They come in a wide range of colors, with the "hairs" sometimes being made of multicolored or metallic fibers. Garments made from this type of yarn have a soft, furry texture that obscures individual knit or crochet stitches, making it a good choice for a beginning fiber artist who wishes to hide dropped stitches or other mistakes. Eyelash yarn lends itself well to simple stitch patterns, so one of the most common projects to craft from it is a simple scarf that resembles a feather boa.
Bouclé yarns feature a nubby, bumpy texture. They can be made of any type of fiber and are usually composed of three plies, or strands, wrapped around each other. The bumpy texture is created by spinning one of the three plies more loosely than the other two. This single loose ply can often start to unravel while knitting or crocheting, causing the whole strand to split and snag on the knitting needles or crochet hook. Fiber artists who choose to create projects in bouclé must therefore use extra care to ensure the high quality of the finished product.
A ribbon yarn resembles ribbon. It is often made from synthetic fibers and tends to have great elasticity. Some varieties are flat, while others are tubular. Both types can be used to create garments with lots of stretch and give.
Ladder yarn resembles a ladder, with two flat threads representing the two sides of the ladder held together by a strip of material between them that represents the rungs. The material at the center can be metallic, beaded, or otherwise adorned. This type of yarn is more often used to create trim or embellishments than to knit or crochet entire garments.
Self-striping yarn is strategically dyed with long repeats of color that naturally create stripes. It may be made of any fiber or blend of fibers, and is most often used for making handknit socks.