When we say hemp fibers, you probably think: macrame cord, household twine and strong rope. But did you know that hemp also produces beautiful yarn?
Eco-friendly, plant-based, breathable and strong, hemp yarn is a brilliant, if often overlooked, choice for knitting and crocheting. Until now.
In this guide, we'll explain more about how hemp yarn is made and its key uses, as well as reveal a selection of favorites from the Gathered team.
Whether you're looking for a reliable big brand or a small independent producer, pure hemp or a fiber blend, we've got you covered on our list of the best hemp yarns for crochet and knitting.
What is hemp yarn?
First things first: yes, the hemp used to make yarn is part of the cannabis family. But: no, it is not the same plant that is used to make the medicine.
The class of cannabis sativa we're talking about here is a cultivar also known as "industrial hemp" that has been grown for commercial use (for example, in animal feed, construction and textiles).
Technically, it still contains the psychoactive compound tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), but there is usually much less of it (typically less than 0.3%) and the amount present is so small that it causes no psychological effects. This amount can also be tightly regulated depending on where you are in the world.
For yarn producers, the important part of the hemp plant is the stem. A process called maceration is used to remove the woody inner pith from the stem, leaving the remaining fibers ready to be broken, separated and cleaned. The prepared fibers are then twisted together into roving before being spun into yarn – perhaps together with other fibers such as cotton, wool or bamboo.
Each step can be done by hand, but machines are used for mass-produced yarn.
What can hemp yarn be used for?
Hemp yarn stands out for its strength and durability. In terms of feel, hemp can be compared to cotton and linen. Lightweight, breathable and fade resistant, it's ideal for summer outfits and provides a beautiful fit and seam definition. This is especially true when mixed with another fiber such as cotton or bamboo.
Hemp softens when washed, but retains a certain stiffness; Therefore, open and lace patterns tend to work better than closed and textured seams. Open designs are also easier on the hands, as hemp yarn can be difficult to grasp.
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Because of its strength, absorbency and mildew resistance, we recommend pure hemp for household items including:market bagsecleaning or dishcloths. Hemp yarn can usually be machine washed and dried – but check the label first! – and does not form a pill, which makes it resistant and practical for the home.
Hemp is inelastic, which makes it a good choice for structured items like baskets and placemats, but it also affects how easily it works.
If you are used to making with cotton or linen, or if you mostly crochet, this may not be a problem, but for knitters it may take some getting used to. For extra stretch, you can choose a fiber blend instead of pure hemp.
14 of the best hemp yarns
1. Hemptic Hampesnor
Hemptique is a popular brand for making macrame and jewelry, but their high-quality hemp cords are also worth considering for yarn crafts. With the right design and stitches, it can be used for knitting or crocheting.
The string is firm and inelastic, making it suitable for home decor and accessories, so why not use it to prepare some rustic storage baskets and other homemade household items? You get 62.5 m of cable per 50g spool and there is a selection of solid and varied shades including this stunning earth color palette.
2. Lion mark hemp only
Sold in 85m/100g balls and a range of muted shades, Lion Brand Just Hemp is a bulky 100% hemp yarn that works quickly on 6.5mm hooks and needles. We think it would be great with everything from hoodies to bath puffs.
3. Patons hamp
With its blend of 55% hemp and 45% cotton, Patons Hempster is a brilliant hemp yarn for crocheting – although knitters will find plenty to love too. We're taken by the bold color palette, remarkable stitch definition and a good value of 174m/100g. This yarn is discontinued, so buy it where you can find it!
4. Adriafil WoCa
If you are new to working with hemp yarn, Adriafil WoCa is a good first choice. It's a beautiful blend of 70% wool and 30% hemp, combining the warmth and handling of the former with the durability of the latter.
You get 110m of yarn per 50g key and as it is a double knitting weight (DK) it can be used in a wide range of knitting and crochet recipes. WoCa comes in a collection of tweed colours, including timeless neutrals like black, white and grey.
Hand wash and cold iron to keep your projects in top shape.
5. Berroco Meraki
With its thick and thin texture and contrasting color spots, Berroco Meraki is a hemp yarn that is not afraid to be distinctive. Made with 71% cotton, 24% hemp and 5% polyester, and available in 120m/50g balls, this DK yarn is a fantastic all-rounder. T-shirts, cardigans, sweaters - you name it, they'll all look amazing!
6. He's such a Gang Buddy
Buddy Hemp is a favorite hemp yarn for crocheting and is an airy blend of 55% hemp and 45% organic cotton. Channel your inner hipster with trendy drawstring bags and open hem beachwear for the city and the beach. Shop in 174m/100g balls and 11 tempting colours.
7. Rowan hamp tweed
The mixed tones of Rowan Hemp Tweed make us think of autumn days wandering through the fallen leaves in thick, cozy sweaters and leg warmers. A fantastic hemp yarn for knitting, get the agrarian look with 95m/50g pellets and a 75% wool, 25% hemp blend.
Is hemp yarn environmentally friendly?
Hemp is super fast growing, which means it clears weeds and doesn't require pesticides. It has a higher fiber yield per
Another positive point is that the pith left over from the maceration process can be used for animal feed, mulch and other industrial purposes, so it does not have to go to waste.
Hemp is a sustainable, low-impact choice for anyone who cares about the environment. For the most eco-conscious hemp yarn, also look for a manufacturer with great green credentials – perhaps they're certified organic, use plant-based dyes, or work with other recycled fibers to create yarn.
What is hemp yarn used for?
Hemp yarn can be used for both knitting and crocheting, but the choice of yarn will be different for each craft because inelastic yarns are easier to crochet than knitting. Knitters may prefer to use hemp blends, while crocheters can choose from the yarns on offer - and maybe even try working with macrame cords.
For garments, we generally recommend a blend of fibers (hemp mixed with cotton, wool, linen or acrylic) as they will have extra stretch and drape, making them more comfortable to wear.
For household items, the combined qualities of hemp and cotton make these blends a popular choice for dishcloths and mops. If you're making bags and baskets, you'll want a stiffer yarn that gives it a lot of structure: pure hemp is perfect for this.
8. Heavenly hemp 100% hemp
Every purchase of this 100% hemp yarn from Heaven Hemp helps support Nepali artisans. Hand spun in the Himalayas, each 20g ball measures around 40m and there are 10 bold colors to choose from - our favorite is Rainbow.
9. Long Hemp Yarn
A beautiful yarn for summer tank tops and t-shirts, Lang Yarns' 100% Hemp Canapa uses a special dyeing technique to produce a fresh, faded effect. This finger weight yarn comes in 80m/25g balls and as it softens with each wash, it only gets better with time.
10. Creative Natural Rich Hamp Yarn
Decorate your home for the new season with hemp accessories made by Rico Creative Natur. This aran weight yarn works fast for almost instant results. It comes in a modern color palette in natural, neutral tones (plus a splash of mustard yellow) and good 100m/50g balls.
11. Traidcraft recycled hemp and silk
This earth-friendly yarn is handmade in Nepal from recycled hemp and silk fibers. Each 100g ball is 64-73m long (depending on fiber thickness) and has a kaleidoscope of colours. It is being sold to help Child Rescue Nepal so you can enjoy a beautiful yarn and also donate to charity.
12. Fio Eco-Stitch HAMPE
Looking for hemp yarn with lace? Stop looking. This beautiful 2-ply yarn from Eco-Stitch is made from 100% hemp and is sold in 250m/50g skeins. Show off the sparkle and fit with breezy shawls and scarves, or double up to wear it in your favorite sportswear patterns.
mounting with cotton
Cotton is another great choice for sturdy housewares and summer wear, and you'll find the best cotton yarn at Gathered.
13. Really good hemp
100% organic and 100% hemp, with rich colors and an excellent length of 137m/100g... this is really a very good yarn! Put the rough texture and durability to good use by turning them into washcloths and bath scrubs - perfect for thoughtful little gifts.
14. Wonky Weaver naturhampegarn
If you are looking for natural dyes, Wonky Weaver yarn is the right choice. Dyed and spun in India with vegetable dyes, their natural hemp yarn is made from 100% hemp and comes in a 100g skein. The white hue caught our attention, but also be on the lookout for indigo, marigold and the crazier red.
Consider your craft when choosing the ideal hemp yarn for knitting and crocheting
The best hemp yarn for you will vary depending on whether you knit or crochet. A non-stretch pure hemp yarn is perfect for 3D crocheted creations such as baskets, but would be more difficult to knit. Knitters may prefer to use blends that contain more elastic fibers such as wool, while crocheters can choose from available yarns.
It is also always a good idea to consider the ethical credentials of your chosen yarn. Does it contain organic or recycled fibers, do some of the profits go to charity, or does the company's green policy make you feel good? The best hemp yarn should make you feel good about the environment and your sustainable choice.
Go plant-based with Gathered!
More and more people are deciding to reduce or eliminate the use of animal products in our diets, clothing and hobbies. Buying hemp yarn is a good start, but there are many other plant-based options – and we can help you find them.
Check out our overview ofbest vegan yarnsfor more delicious fibers recommended by Gathered.