What is this yarn made of?

When my Mom passed away a couple of years ago, I inherited large quantities of yarn which I put away in the cedar chest and forgot about. Now that I have retired, I’ve decided to take up my needles again for some humanitarian causes. My problem is that Mom was fond of buying yarn at discount places where the wrappers were removed.

Is there a way I can identify the yarn? I’m particularly concerned about identifying real wool as opposed to synthetics. I have some dim memory of Mom saying if in doubt, burn a small piece…that “natural fibers” would burn and smoke, but synthetics would just “melt.” Is that true, or am I scrambling things up again?

How do I do this? thanks in advance for any help.

You’re right. The burn test is usually recommended as the first test. That will separate the natural from the acrylics.

Here are two pretty good links that give a little more detail about the so-called “burn test”. You actually can identify a bit more than just natural vs. synthetic by burning a small sample of the yarn.

http://www.fabriclink.com/Burntest.html

http://www.griffindyeworks.com/fiber_burn.htm

Thank you both so very much. The two yarns I am most concerned about seem to be pretty straight forward wool.

As the kids would say, this is an “awesome” board which I have bookmarked.