Bella Chenille, a soft and versatile polyester yarn

I’d like to introduce you to Bella Chenille Multi, one of the softest baby yarns I’ve ever had on my needles. This week we’ll look at its assets, some free patterns, and then I’ll teach you a few techniques which take advantage of this yarn’s squishy goodness.

Bella Chenille Multi features a predominant color and two or three complementary colors in dots along the length of the yarn.

Bella Chenille is a chunky weight fuzzy and lush chenille type yarn which when knit creates a velour or velveteen-like fabric because of the way the yarn is constructed. I had to struggle a bit to get this yarn to come apart enough to show the anatomy of how it’s built.

Anatomy of Bella Chenille, fuzzy strands are held in place by twisted plies of yarn.

There are two inner core threads and each consists of 2 plies with a tight twist. These inner core strands are twisted and as they are, the short fuzzy strands are caught in the twist and lay at a perpendicular angle to the inner threads. One would think that this would still make it easy for the short fuzzy fibers to come apart easily, but there is a heating process which sets the fibers in place and keeps the integrity of the yarn.

Yes, if you were to pull aggressively at the little tufts of fuzz, they would slowly loosen up and come out, but many a baby and toddler have snuggled with knit items made of chenille and they don’t have the strength to loosen the fibers. There are many commonly used acrylic yarns with short fibers that are not chenille and knit into baby garments that have a higher chance of releasing short fibers into the fingers of little ones, so you need not worry about Bella Chenille not standing up to the strokes and squeezing of baby fingers.

If you are a very tight knitter or tend to need to unknit your stitches a lot, you need to be aware that chenille yarns like this don’t fare well if you need to rip out your work repeatedly. The fuzz gets compacted when knit too tightly…which looks lovely in the finished fabric, but those compacted fibers do not spring back into place. If you have to reuse some frogged yarn, I would say that one re-use only is advisable, after a second or third ripping back and re knitting, the fabric starts to look a little shabby. Wet-blocking does help relax the compacted fibers a bit, but it’s not the same as knitting with the yarn once only.

Columns of stockinette show that the placement of the dots is truly random and there won’t be any unwanted pooling.

Did you know that “chenille” is derived from the French word for caterpillar? Makes sense, doesn’t it? Fortunately, Bella Chenille is completely bug free! It’s dyed three different ways.

There are Bella Chenille Multi that come in nine colorways (see below). There are also four colorways of Bella Chenille Dots which actually consist of evenly spaced segments of 3 or 4 colors.

In my opinion the Multi should be called Dots and the Dots should be called Multi because of how they are dyed, but what’s done is done. Then there are 21 solid colors, too.

Colorway names (from left to right) Tidal Wave, Candy Store, Sweetness

The above 3 colorways do not feature white prominently or at all while the remaining six consist of a white background with other sets of complimentary dots.

Colorway names (from left to right): Peach Pie, Tropical Mix, and Sugar Spots

Colorway Names (from left to right): Denim Patch, Toy Cars, Grape Jam

Bella Chenille is made of a very soft polyester. This makes it washable and non-allergenic. It’s listed as a super-bulky (#6) yarn and knit with US10.5 [6.5mm] needles or even larger, but you can work it with size US10 [6mm] needles and achieve a bulky (#5) gauge as well.

In each ball there are 131yds [120m] per 100g. You can machine wash it in warm water, but you’ll need to skip the dryer…too much heat mats the fibers, and you’ll lose the softness in the knit fabric.

The colors of the dots coordinate very well with many of the solid colors of Bella Chenille.

Tomorrow, we’ll take a close look at some tips for knitting this Bella Chenille yarn into dreamy projects.

This is part 1 of 5 in this series.

Go to part 2: How Bella Chenille enhances basic knit stitches differently than most yarns

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