What Is a Staple Yarn?

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close-up of staple yarn
close-up of staple yarn (Image: Michelle_Elle/iStock/Getty Images)

Staple, or spun, yarn is produced from short-length fibers called staple. With the exception of silk, all fibers that come from wool, flax, cotton or other natural sources are staple fibers. Man-made fibers, such as polyester or acrylic, can be cut into short lengths and spun together to create staple yarn.

Filament Versus Staple

When referring to textiles, staple is the opposite of filament. Staple fibers are usually short enough to be measured in centimeters or inches, while filament fibers are considerably longer and can measured in yards or meters. Man-made fibers can be either filament or staple. When cut into staple, man-made fibers look and feel more like natural fibers.

Appearance and Uses

Staple yarn must be twisted more tightly than filament yarn so the fibers will hold together. It often has a dull, flat appearance and may feel rough or fuzzy to the touch. The strands of yarn are usually wider in diameter than yarns created from filament fiber. Staple yarn is often used in clothing production and carpet manufacturing, as well as for crocheting and knitting.

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