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Chenille

Chenille can refer to a yarn with a soft fuzzy texture, items knitted entirely from such yarns, or items incorporating tufts of such yarn for decoration. Chenille can be made from cotton, wool, silk or rayon.

Chenille is the French word for caterpillar whose fur the yarn is supposed to resemble. It was independently invented by at least two or three fabric producers in Great Britain in the 1800s, each employing different methods.

Fabric is woven and cut into strips, those strips are tufted (made to frizz up) giving Chenille its fuzzy look. The strips are then woven or embroidered into a fabric.

In the 1920’s and 1930’s chenille tufted bedspreads produced by cottage industry in the state of Georgia were a nationwide fad. Bedspreads were printed with patterns and families embroidered the spreads with tufted yarn.

Today chenille yarns are popular with knitting hobbyists and chenille upholstery is frequently used on sofas and recliners.

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