Amy Tyler: Inspired by energy and movement

Spinning and Knitting mentor Amy Tyler will be joining us again at SOAR (Spin-Off Autumn Retreat), which will be held October 20-26, 2013 in St. Charles, IL. Amy has a unique approach to design and spinning instruction, which you can learn more about on the Spinner's Connection blog. Her SOAR workshop, Spinning with Millspun Yarns, is bound to be full of inspiration and technique. Here, Amy shares a bit about her explorations into spinning with commercial yarns. ~Kate 

Three scarves spun and knit by SOAR mentor Amy Tyler using millspun yarns energized with Z-twist. Photos courtesy of Amy Tyler.

I am so looking forward to SOAR 2013! The three-day workshop I'm teaching is Spinning with Millspun Yarns. The idea is to make the most of both your yarn stash and your fiber stash.

We start out by respinning millspun yarns, adding twist to make energized yarns. The concept is similar to Kathryn Alexander's energized singles. This strategy of adding twist to millspun yarns has really captivated me. I've spent much of the past three months engrossed in knitting with these yarns.

A number of years ago, I designed a series of scarves knitted from energized singles, "A Study in Zig", published in Spin-Off Magazine Spring 2006. I created six iterations of scarves that took advantage of the biasing effect of energized singles. The scarves zigged and zagged, creating interesting two-dimensional fabrics.

Now I'm working on knitting with energized yarns that create three-dimensional fabrics. To do this, I've spent a good amount of time exploring how different knit stitch patterns behave when knitted with energized yarns. Some stitch patterns don't do anything exciting. Other stitch patterns really have that wow-factor. I've recently finished three scarves that show some of this three-dimensionality. They were all knitted from millspun yarns to which I added Z-twist. 

Wavy, three-dimensional Checkerboard Scarf.   Box in Box Scarf. Two-Way Pennants Scarf in respun variegated sock yarn.

Another example of a rayon millspun yarn that Amy plied with a handspun singles of a blend of Corriedale wool and silk. 

In the process of creating these yarns, I've had to explore the effects of amount of twist, the weight of the millspun yarn, and the needle size used for knitting. It's been a fascinating fiber journey, and I look forward to sharing the details in the workshop!

These energized yarns are only the first yarns we will make in Spinning with Millspun Yarns. We will also create 2, 3 and 4-ply yarns by re-spinning yarns. And we will spend time combining handspun and millspun together. These strategies are great for reviving yarns in your stash that you may have lost enthusiasm for. I hope you will join the fun!



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