That's not your usual yarn ball, either - one reason I picked it up in passing at Michael's. This is Martha Stewart's 65% cotton 35% hemp yarn. HEMP?! Yes, the non-cannabis variety of hemp has been used by mankind for many things for 6,000 years. The most notorious use, of course, is hanging rope. Yet, according to Hemp Basics, LLC (web address below), hemp fiber is stronger and softer than cotton, lasts twice as long, and won't mildew.
Martha Stewart Crafts (with Lion Brand Yarn) has this claim for the product: "This versatile, natural blend - soft, absorbent, and machine washable - is a smart choice for garments, knit or crochet, baby blankets, and even household projects like washcloths, place mats, and dish towels. It works up nicely on the loom."
I'm enjoying experimenting with this slightly more expensive yarn. As you can see in the picture, the yarn twists of itself, making it interesting to work. I had heard of fibers being twisted together to form yarn, but this is the first time I ever got to feel it. The yarn is slightly thicker than regular cotton and has a different feel. As you can see, it works up well in a simple seed stitch. I'm looking forward to trying out its wear qualities.
A number of sources for hemp yarn are available on the web. Martha Stewart's blend appears about the cheapest of the lot. I think it well worth trying out, especially for long wear household products.