The Ultimate Guide To Knitting With Bamboo Yarn

Have you ever tried knitting with bamboo yarn? The fiber is naturally lightweight and soft, which makes it a great choice for clothing, blankets, and more. However, there are some things you should know before diving in and starting your next project.

Bamboo Yarn & Master Knitting | Nerdy Knitting Podcast 1-12
Key Takeaways
– Bamboo yarn is an eco-friendly and sustainable option for knitters.
– Bamboo yarn is incredibly soft, lightweight, and breathable, making it ideal for summer tops and shawls.
– Bamboo yarn may not be the best choice for more structured projects, like sweaters or hats.
– Bamboo yarn can be slippery to work with, so it’s best to use bamboo or wooden knitting needles to prevent stitches from slipping off.
– It’s important to follow the care instructions on the yarn label to prevent stretching or damage to bamboo yarn projects.

1. Know What You’re Getting Into

If you’re a knitwear beginner, bamboo yarn is going to be your best friend. The fibers are incredibly soft and easy to care for, which makes it a great choice for beginners and kids alike. 

The fabric created from bamboo yarn is also much more durable than most other materials used in knitting. 

You can work on projects that require less frequent washing without having to worry about them wearing out too quickly.

Bamboo fabrics are made from the fibers of bamboo plants, which were once only used for paper products like napkins and toilet paper until people discovered how amazing they are for clothing as well! 

Because of this fiber’s durability and quick-drying nature (bamboo absorbs moisture faster than cotton), it makes an excellent material for summer clothes or items like blankets that need frequent washing but don’t require ironing afterward because they don’t wrinkle easily at all!

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2. Read Your Patterns Carefully

When it comes to knitting with bamboo yarn, one of the most important things you can do is read your patterns carefully. 

This is true not only for new patterns but also for old ones. Here are some things to check when looking at a pattern:

Gauge – If you don’t have enough stitches per inch or row per inch, your garment will be too small.

Needle size – This depends on how tightly you knit and also how thick the yarn is, so make sure you’re using needles that fit these specifications.

Yarn weight – This means how thick or thin a yarn is relative to other types of yarns made from similar materials; it’s measured in grams per meter squared (g/m2). 

A good rule of thumb is that if a company recommends using 8-10 stitches per inch with their product, then it might be best for beginners to go somewhere between 6-8 stitches per inch when working with bamboo yarns because they’re typically lighter than other fibers like wool or acrylics that come from animal furlocks (think sheep) or trees (think cottonwood trees). 

The smaller number here indicates less dense material compared to thicker materials like denim jeans which are about 15 g/m2!

TechniqueWhat to Look ForExamples
GaugeDetermining the correct size of needles and number of stitches to use“Gauge: 20 stitches and 24 rows = 4 inches in stockinette stitch”
Stitch PatternsFollowing a chart or written instructions for specific stitch patterns“Row 1: K1, *p3, k3; rep from * to end of row, end p1”
AbbreviationsKnowing the shorthand for different stitches and techniques“K = Knit; P = Purl; YO = Yarn Over”
SizingUnderstanding how to adjust for different sizes and shapes“Sizes: XS (S, M, L, XL, XXL)”
Special TechniquesPaying attention to specific techniques required for the pattern“Cable cast on”

Reading your knitting patterns carefully is important for any project, but especially when using bamboo yarn. This table outlines some of the key elements of knitting patterns to keep in mind.

Paying close attention to gauge, stitch patterns, abbreviations, sizing, and special techniques can help you avoid mistakes and ensure that your finished project looks great. Make sure to read through the entire pattern before beginning and ask for clarification if anything is unclear.

3. Keep Your Tension Consistent

To ensure that your knitting is even, you need to keep the tension of the yarn consistent. If you let it get too loose, then your stitches will be too big and they won’t fit together well. If you let it get too tight, then they will be too small and there won’t be enough space between them.

The best way to avoid these issues is to take deep breaths and hold on loosely as you sit down at the machine. 

If possible, try taking breaks every 10-15 minutes while working so that you can relax a little bit before continuing on with whatever project you’re working on (or just have some fun time off).

Dreaming of making a quilt but don’t know where to start? Our Ultimate Guide to Quilting is a great place to begin. Learn everything you need to know to create your first quilt, from choosing fabrics to tips on sewing and quilting.

4. Don’t Use the Wrong Tools

While you could use tools made of other materials, it would be a mistake to use them with bamboo yarn. The best tools for knitting with bamboo yarn are ones that have been designed specifically for the purpose.

The needles should be bamboo it would be hard to imagine a more perfect medium for making your stitches! 

The stitch markers should also be made from the same material. While the markers might not contribute anything directly to the quality of your project, they feel good in your hand and will help keep track of where you are in your pattern at all times. 

A swift always makes it easier to wind balls of yarn into manageable quantities, but even more so when it’s made from bamboo! 

The bowl can be as simple or as ornate as suits you best; just make sure that it’s tall enough for what you need and wide enough to hold plenty but not too much (so as not get tangled up).

5. Start with a Sample Swatch and Block it

A sample swatch is a good way to test the yarn and get an idea of what it will look like in your project. If you are knitting a garment, you can use gauge swatches to determine your stitch counts for each size. 

For example, if you’re making a sweater and want to make sure that it fits well on everyone who tries it on, then knit up some sample sizes and see how they fit!

Blocking can help smooth out any bumps or rough areas in your fabric by stretching it out so that the fibres relax and align themselves smoothly with each other. 

A blocked sample is likely going to be more accurate than an unblocked one because the fibres have been forced into position by being stretched out beyond their natural length during blocking (which causes them to contract slightly once they dry).

To block your swatch: place it flat on top of something non-porous (like plastic wrap or wax paper) so that it doesn’t curl up as much when wet; pin into place with straight pins; fill sink or tub with warm water; add tiny drops of mild soap if desired; soak until completely submerged under water then squeeze out excess liquid from both sides (do not wring); 

Roll up in towels until almost dry but still damp enough for additional stretching without breaking apart – let sit for about 20 minutes before removing pins/towels/plastic wrap so that all heat generated during this process goes back into itself not away from where needed most!

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6. Consider Alternatives to Bamboo Yarn

If you’re not a fan of bamboo yarn, don’t worry! There are plenty of alternatives to choose from.

Twisted stitches and cables work best with cotton, linen or another soft fiber. Wool is ideal for sweaters and hats that need to keep you warm and cozy. Silk gauze is a great choice for lace projects like shawls, scarves and even baby blankets!

So if you’re looking for something a little different than what we’ve covered so far (or if you just want more options), take a look at these materials: Cotton – It’s easy to find this material in any craft store because it’s inexpensive yet still very durable. 

The only downside is that it tends not hold up well over time; if possible try washing your finished project by hand instead of putting them through the wash machine cycle since heat may damage the fibers significantly over time which means less longevity out of your handmade items made with cotton yarns which means less enjoyment when using them later on down the line when they finally break down due to excessive wear).

Yarn TypeCharacteristicsBest for
CottonSoft and breathable, lightweight, machine washableSummer tops, lightweight sweaters, baby items
WoolWarm and insulating, elastic, structured, requires special careWinter clothing, blankets, cozy accessories
AcrylicInexpensive, easy to care for, versatileHome decor, hats and scarves, beginner projects
Soy and CornSustainable, eco-friendly, soft and lightweightBaby clothes, cozy accessories
HempDurable, breathable, eco-friendlyKitchen and bath items, bags, summer clothing

While bamboo yarn has many benefits, it’s not always the best choice for every project. Depending on the type of project you’re working on, you may want to consider some of these alternative yarn types instead. This table outlines the characteristics and best uses for cotton, wool, acrylic, soy and corn, and hemp yarns.

Each of these yarns has its own unique properties that can be leveraged for specific projects. By knowing your options, you can choose the best yarn for your project and achieve the best results.

7. Gauge is Important—Don’t Ignore It!

Gauge is the term used to describe how many stitches and rows you get in a given area of fabric. When you’re knitting with bamboo yarn, gauge becomes especially important because it affects your finished project’s size, which will determine whether the item fits you properly or not.

It’s easy to measure your gauge you just need some needles and yarn (preferably the same kind that you’ll be using for future projects). 

Start by casting on an even number of stitches (usually somewhere between 30 and 40), then knit a row or two in garter stitch before measuring how many stitches you have on each needle (do this by counting across every inch). 

The number of inches per inch should be exactly what it says on your pattern if it isn’t, then there’s something wrong! 

You may have miscounted your stitches when casting on; maybe one of your knitting needles is smaller than another; or maybe something else went awry during construction.

If you’re interested in woodcarving, our Ultimate Guide to Woodcarving Techniques and Tips is a must-read. Discover the different tools and techniques used in woodcarving, as well as tips on safety and finishing.

8. Bamboo is Soft Enough, So Avoid Using Softeners

Bamboo yarn is soft enough on its own, so avoid using softeners. While it’s possible to use a fabric softener with bamboo, it will cause pilling and possibly even damage the fibers. 

Silk and other luxury fibers are often used in combination with bamboo to create beautiful fabrics, but these can be too scratchy or textured for easy knitting. If you’re looking for a luxurious texture that would go well with your bamboo project, try adding cashmere or mohair instead.

Fabric SoftenerEffect on Bamboo Yarn
BounceCan soften the fibers, but may cause stretching
DownyCan soften the fibers, but may cause stretching
SuavitelCan soften the fibers, but may cause stretching
WooliteSafe to use, but not necessary for bamboo yarn

While bamboo yarn is incredibly soft already, you may be tempted to use fabric softener to make it even softer. However, this can actually cause stretching and damage to the fibers. This table outlines the effects that different fabric softeners can have on bamboo yarn.

While some may soften the fibers, they can also cause stretching and damage. It’s best to avoid using fabric softeners on bamboo yarn. Woolite is a safe option to use, but it’s not necessary given the softness of bamboo yarn already.Regenerate response

9. Don’t Use Scratchy or Textured Fibers Together With Bamboo Yarns

You’ll want to be careful when you pair up your bamboo yarn with other fibers. While there are many options, if you choose a scratchy or textured fiber for your project, it may feel uncomfortable against the skin and even cause irritation. Knitting with wool is also not recommended because wool can pill when it gets wet.

Animal fibers such as alpaca and angora will also become matted and fall apart after wear, so those should be avoided when working with bamboo yarns. 

Acrylics (and similar man-made materials) are also not a good choice – they aren’t breathable like bamboo fibers are, which could result in overheating issues for the wearer of garments made from these materials..

Ready to take your bead weaving to the next level? Check out our Ultimate Guide to Bead Weaving Techniques for everything you need to know. From ladder stitch to peyote stitch, you’ll learn all about the different techniques used in bead weaving.

10. Combine Silks With Bamboo Yarns for Best Results

If you’re looking for the ultimate knitting experience, then you’ll want to combine silk with bamboo. Silk is a great fiber to use with bamboo, as it’s soft and smooth, which will complement the softness of bamboo. 

With that said, silk will also help keep your knits from being too slippery bamboo yarns often have a tendency toward slipperiness that can be difficult to work with on larger projects like sweaters or shawls. 

In addition to these benefits, silk is also a natural fiber (compared with synthetics), so if you’re looking for eco-friendly materials in your knitting endeavors this may be just what you need!

11. Be Respectful Of The Fiber Characteristics In Order To Get The Best Results

In order to get the best results from knitting with bamboo yarn, it’s important to be respectful of the fiber characteristics.

Over-washing your bamboo yarn can be harmful and will cause it to pill. Be sure not to use too much heat when washing or drying your finished products either; this will also result in pilling.

When first purchasing a skein of bamboo yarn, carefully read all packaging information, including care instructions and suggested washing practices (i’ll discuss these more below). 

Remember that different vendors may have different recommendations for how best to care for their products it’s worth taking time before making a purchase!3a/3b/3c: 3 additional paragraphs about specific types of garment construction that require special care

Fiber Characteristics and How to Knit Them

BambooSoft, lightweight, breathable, eco-friendly, less elasticity and structureUse bamboo or wooden knitting needles; avoid pulling or stretching too much; machine washable but follow care instructions
CottonSoft and breathable, machine washable, less elasticity and structure, prone to stretchingChoose smaller needles for tighter gauge; avoid excessive washing or stretching; block lightly
WoolWarm and insulating, elastic, suited for structured projects, requires special careUse wool-specific detergents and cold water; hand-wash items; use wool wash or conditioner; spin-dry and lay flat to dry

By being respectful of the fiber characteristics, you can achieve the best results with your knitting projects. Different fibers have unique characteristics that require different techniques and care. By understanding these differences, you can ensure that your projects look and feel great.

This table highlights some of the key characteristics of bamboo, cotton, and wool fibers, as well as techniques to use when knitting with them.


Knitting with bamboo yarn can be a fun and rewarding experience. As we’ve said, it’s not for everyone but if you enjoy working with natural fibers and want to try something new, this is just the thing. 

Bamboo yarns are great for garments, accessories and home decor items like blankets and throws. 

They have plenty of texture and color options, so there’s no shortage of choices when it comes time to make decisions about what kind of project will use them beautifully!

Further Reading

Here are some additional resources to learn more about knitting with alternative materials:

ToniaKnits: Check out this blog post for tips on knitting with bamboo yarn and recommended patterns to use.

Pinterest: Explore a variety of bamboo yarn projects and pattern ideas on Pinterest.

New Wave Knitting: If knitting with cotton yarn is more your style, this guide is a great place to start. Learn everything you need to know from choosing the right needles to caring for your finished project.


What is bamboo yarn and why is it a good choice for knitting?

Bamboo yarn is made from the pulp of bamboo grass. It’s a sustainable, eco-friendly choice because bamboo grows quickly and requires less water and pesticides than other crops. Bamboo yarn is also incredibly soft, lightweight, and breathable.

Is bamboo yarn suitable for all projects?

Bamboo yarn is best suited for lightweight, breathable projects such as summer tops and shawls. Because it has less elasticity and structure than wool or acrylic yarn, it may not be the best choice for more structured garments like sweaters or hats.

How should I care for my bamboo yarn project?

Bamboo yarn is machine washable, but it’s important to follow the care instructions on the yarn label to prevent stretching or damage. You may want to hand wash your project to ensure its longevity.

Can I use bamboo yarn to knit socks?

While bamboo yarn is soft and breathable, it may not be the best choice for socks because it doesn’t have the same elasticity and durability as wool or synthetic fibers. However, it can be used for socks with careful consideration of its properties and the specific project requirements.

Are there any special techniques I should use when working with bamboo yarn?

Bamboo yarn can be slippery to work with, so it may be helpful to use bamboo or wooden knitting needles to prevent stitches from slipping off the needles. Additionally, because bamboo yarn is delicate, it’s important to avoid pulling or stretching it too much while knitting.