Did you know that chenille is the french word for caterpillar?
NO! Chenille is not made from insects, rather it's texture is like a soft caterpillar, the ones we may have called "fuzzy-wuzzy" when we were children.
The chenille yarn is manufactured by placing short lengths of yarn, called the "pile", between two "core yarns" and then twisting the yarn together. The edges of these piles then stand at right angles from the yarn’s core, giving chenille both its softness and its characteristic look. Chenille will look different in one direction compared to another, as the fibres catch the light differently. Chenille can appear iridescent without actually using iridescent fibers. The yarn is commonly manufactured from cotton, but can also be made using acrylic, rayon and olefin.
Chenille is actually named by the process it is created. It goes all the way back to the 18th century when it was crafted by cutting the fabric into strips. Later on in the 20's and 30's Catherine Evans revived the process and branded it "chenille" and the bedspreads became popular. In the 30's chenille was also used for carpets, throws and mats. It had a resurgence again in the 1970's and has also been used for clothing too.