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Jackie

You can tell acrylic fibers from natural ones by holding a match to the yarn, if it melts, it sure isn't wool. I don't know how to test for various kinds of wool though.

Brandy

So, I'm at work, and I've now spent about 2 hours looking for this post that the Yarn Harlot did (I swear it was in the last year) which describes all these different methods of testing the yarn for fiber content.
I was unable to find it... but I know it's there somewhere.
Good luck!

cari

Yep...burn it. Cotton makes a loose ash like you'd get from burning paper. I guess linen would do the same. Wool (and I assume other animal fibers) smell like burning hair. And acrylic melts like plastic.

=Tamar

For the burn test, you snip about an inch and use _tongs_ to hold it over the sink. Have a saucer of water to put the match out in. Wool will often put itself out, or at least go out quickly. *Let it cool* and crumble the ash. Natural fibers leave papery ash. Artificial make a little knob of plastic, and blends will make a knob that sort of crumbles. Test labeled yarns for comparison samples; they tell me you can detect some differences among natural fibers by smelling the smoke.

If you don't want to burn stuff, or aren't sure if you have a blend, try the bleach test: put snip of yarn into tiny amount of bleach (say a bottle cap), let sit overnight (put the bottle cap(s) in the kitchen sink before you put the bleach in). Look at what's left. If there's anything left, it's the artificial fiber in the blend. The caps are in the sink to make it easy to pour the bleach down the sink and wash out the caps. This is so you don't spill it on your clothes or shoes.

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