The word chenille is the French word for caterpillar. This name was given to chenille because of the unique way that chenille yarn is created.
Chenille yarn is created by twisting shorter threads of yarn called pile threads between two core threads of yarn. The shorter pile threads then poke out atright angles. Its these pile threads poking out that gives the yarn a fussy, tufted appearance that looks rather like a caterpillar.
Chenille is most commonly manufactured from cotton but it can also be created from materials such as polyester, rayon, wool and even silk.