Inelastic Definition What Does the Word "Inelastic" Mean? And Why Should Knitting and Crochet Enthusiasts Care?

Definition: Not elastic. Will not recover its shape easily if stretched.

If you stretch a piece of elastic, it will easily recover its shape afterwards. An inelastic yarn or material is the opposite. If stretched, it would be slow to recover its shape, or it might not recover its original shape at all.


Cotton is an inelastic yarn.

Why Should Knitting and Crochet Enthusiasts Care About Whether Yarn Is Elastic or Not?

When substituting yarns, it’s important to understand how a particular yarn will behave. If your pattern calls for a yarn with a high level of elasticity, like wool, you may not want to substitute an inelastic yarn like cotton in that pattern. The inelastic yarn will behave differently than the elastic yarn. For that reason, it may result in a disappointing project in cases where the elasticity is an important part of the design.

For example, it is ideal to knit or crochet with an elastic yarn when you make a fitted sweater — because the shape of the resulting project is of utmost importance to the design.

But when you make a project such as a potholder, it’s far less important whether the yarn is elastic or not. The potholder will function well whether or not it holds its shape after being stretched. You can make lovely potholders using either cotton or wool yarn.

Hopefully, you now have a better understanding of the meaning of the word “inelastic”, and also a better understanding of why knitters and crocheters might care about a yarn’s elasticity. We hope this information is helpful to you as you plan your future knitting and crochet projects.

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This page was last updated on 11-18-2018.

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