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What kind of yarn should I tuft with?Updated 7 months ago

High-quality tufting machines can handle a wide variety of yarn types and weights, depending on the texture and look you're going for. Some things to keep in mind when choosing a yarn to tuft with: 

  • Is your tufted piece intended as a wall hanging, or as a floor rug in a high-traffic area? In addition to considering the aesthetic of your piece, when choosing a fiber material be sure to take into account the wear your rug might be exposed to. 
  • Yarn made with natural fibers are best. Wool and cotton yarns are more durable, promise a longer life, and shed less than synthetic-based yarns, like acrylic. Learn more about the properties of Reflect, our own line of natural yarn, below. 
  • If you’re using yarn that comes as a ball, skein, or hank, we suggest rewinding this onto a cardboard yarn cone using a yarn winder in order to easily feed it into your tufting machine. Learn more about yarn feeders here
  • Using a thinner yarn can create a thinner pile and expose the backing cloth. We generally recommend threading your machine with two strands of yarn if tufting with Reflect Wool or Eco-cotton, but if your yarn is thin, like Reflect Recycled Wool or Banana Silk, you might thread three or four strands. (Learn more about Reflect Yarns below, and check out our suggested yarn quantities here.)  
  • Turning up the speed dial on the tufting machine can compensate for a too-thin pile, especially if you continue to tuft while moving the machine along the cloth at a slower pace. A higher speed creates more tension and tighter spacing between each tuft, which makes for a fuller pile. 
  • Experiment! You might play with tufting thin strips of fabric, running different yarn textures through your machine simultaneously, or tufting with alternative materials. Just keep in mind that loop-pile machines more easily tolerate alternative fibers than cut-pile machines (since the scissors on cut-pile machines can’t always adequately sever materials other than yarn).
  • Keep in mind that high-pile pneumatic machines, like the AK-III, are only compatible with yarn.

Our in-house Reflect Yarns, available in four sustainable materials and a spectrum of hand-selected colors, are suitable for a wide range of tufted projects. 

Reflect Wool is a sturdy, sustainable yarn made of 100% New Zealand wool and small-batch dyed in the U.S. It’s perfect for use in both cut and loop-pile machines, as well as the KRD-I and the high-pile AK-IIIWe recommend tufting with two strands at a time


Reflect Eco-cotton is a strong and undyed cotton yarn made entirely of recycled textile waste. Tufting with two cones of Eco-cotton at a time creates a dense tuft when used in either cut or loop-pile machines, the KRD-I, or the high-pile AK-III. Be sure the scissors on your cut-pile machine are sharp and your machine is well-oiled when tufting with Eco-cotton, since it can be a little tougher to cut than other yarns. Note that, because Eco-cotton colors are derived from the original source materials, colors are occasionally discontinued. We recommend buying as many pounds of a given color as you think you’ll need for your project while supplies are in stock. 


Reflect Recycled Wool (currently no longer in stock) is produced from a blend of 100% recycled wool and viscose. Because Recycled Wool is spun more tightly than Reflect Wool (above), you’ll want to tuft with three or four cones at once, or use it in combination with Reflect Wool or Eco-cotton to create variations in color, pattern, or texture. Recycled Wool can be used in any tufting machine. 


Reflect Recycled Wool - Glow in the Dark 

(currently no longer in stock) is made of the same materials as the other Recycled Wool yarns, but is closer in thickness to Reflect Wool due to a different dyeing process. We recommend tufting with two strands of Glow in the Dark at a time. In order to ensure that your yarn glows before tufting with it, leave the cone under a bright lamp for several hours, then test it in a dark room. Since only the part of the cone that’s been exposed to light will glow (i.e. the outer layer of the yarn cone), be aware that not all of the yarn will glow as you tuft. Once your rug is complete, you’ll need to “charge” your entire tufted piece again to ensure even luminosity. 


Reflect Banana Silk (currently no longer in stock) is an earth-friendly, plant-based fiber made from the post-harvested banana trees. It’s thin, extremely strong, and naturally shiny, which makes it ideal in loop-pile wall hangings, rugs intended for low-traffic areas, or as an embroidered accent. In both loop and cut-pile machines, Banana Silk is easiest to use when threaded in combination with more substantial yarns like Reflect Wool or Eco-cotton. Due to its capacity to fray, cut-pile Banana Silk tufts should not be used in floor rugs that see regular foot traffic. 


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