7 Tips for Knitting with Energized Yarn

When Spin Off contributor Amy Tyler took a workshop with Rita Buchanan back in 2003, she discovered that energized yarn intrigued her. Handspun-energized singles have active twist and produce three-dimensional effects when knitted. But all of the pent-up energy can make working with the singles a challenge. Below are Amy’s tips for knitting with energized yarn.

1. How nice that you do not need to wash or finish your singles before knitting! You can just knit right off the bobbin. I put my bobbin on a lazy kate and put the lazy kate on a table next to me. Sometimes I tension the bobbin to help control the willful singles; sometimes that is not necessary.

2. Use a knitted or cable cast-on. I learned the hard way that using a long-tail cast-on with energized singles can be problematic.

3. Weave in the cast-on tail after knitting a few rows; otherwise, it will untwist and drift apart.

4. After weaving in the cast-on tail, it can be difficult to identify the right side of the fabric. Use a locking stitch marker (or safety pin) on the right side of the fabric to help keep track.

energized yarn

Knit Amy Tyler’s companion project, the Energized Cinder Blocks Cowl, which is available in the Spring 2018 issue of Spin Off.

5. You may need to knit more slowly and pay more attention to your knitting when using energized singles. (If I don’t, I make more mistakes.)

6. If you do make a mistake, take stitches out one at a time instead of ripping the stitches out.

7. When you wash or block the finished knitting, do so lightly; do not stretch the fabric.


Amy Tyler spins and plays with both energized and balanced yarns. She shares her enthusiasm for spinning yarns in workshops around the country. You can find out more about her fiber work and teaching on her website and blog: www.stonesockfibers.com and www.stonesockblog.blogspot.com.

Editor’s note: Due to editorial oversight, several errors were introduced into the version of Amy’s article that appeared in the magazine. We sincerely regret the error and appreciate the opportunity to set the record straight here.

Download Amy Tyler’s entire updated article, “3-D Effects with Energized Singles,” which was featured in the Spring 2018 issue of Spin Off. To knit the three-dimensional stitch patterns shown in Amy’s article, download the charts, or knit Amy’s companion project, the Energized Cinder Blocks Cowl, which is available in the Spring 2018 issue of Spin Off.

Featured Image: Each of the samples above is knitted from Z-spun singles into swatches of 32 stitches by 44 rows. From top: Samples 1 and 4 knitted on US size 2 (2.75 mm) needles. Samples 2 and 5 knitted on US size 3 (3.25 mm). Samples 3 and 6 knitted on US size 5 (3.75 mm). Photos by George Boe


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One Comment

  1. CAROLYN M T at 11:36 am April 11, 2018

    Thank you Amy. I always enjoy your articles. If anyone can get me to swatch . . it is you.

    You put so much into your articles, you really get me thinking about possibilities.

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