All About Yarns for Weavers

Confession time: I’m a yarn-subber. I have never used the recommended yarn in any project I’ve ever made, neither knitting nor weaving. Usually, I don’t even choose one that’s close.

In his video The Weaver’s Yarn Companion, Tom Knisely says, “Please, try different yarns. Be a little bit experimental. Don’t always go by the recipe. Live on the edge a little bit and see what happens with that.”

I take that attitude to heart.

This has gotten me in trouble before. I once subbed alpaca for cotton in a knitted mitten project, and couldn’t understand why they stretched and sagged so much. Now that I’m weaving more and learning so much, I’m also starting to understand yarn better. As a result, my substitutions and experiments have been more successful lately. But there’s just so much to learn!

The Countless Varieties of Yarn

Understanding the different ways yarns are plied has a big impact on your ability to choose yarn for weaving.

A variety of plied yarns. You’ll learn how plying impacts your fabric in All About Yarns with Jennifer Raymond!

Yarn may be one of humanity’s oldest technologies, but it’s far from simple. Countless factors impact how your yarn will behave in knitted, crocheted, or woven pieces:

  • Weight of yarn
  • Yarn shape
  • Ply
  • “Energy” of yarn
  • Direction of twist
  • Fiber type / blend
  • Smoothness
  • And many more!

And that doesn’t even take color into account!

Of course, you can learn a lot about choosing yarn for weaving by reading and watching videos. But, if you really want to dive into the building blocks of yarn, there’s nothing quite like taking a class just about yarn. That’s why I’m so excited for Jennifer Raymond’s upcoming course on Craft University: All About Yarns.

Yarn Weight

Measuring yarn weight with the wraps per inch technique. Understanding yarn weight is essential for choosing yarn for weaving, as it determines your weaving sett.

What Will I Learn in All About Yarns?

Jennifer will be spending three weeks, from October 3rd to October 21st, diving deep into the world of fibers and how they’re spun into yarn. You’ll learn why some yarn substitutions work and others don’t, how to make more informed decisions when pairing the yarn to the project, and how to determine the identity of those mystery yarns in your stash.

This class is a must for beginning weavers like me, but also for intermediate weavers who want to improve their design acumen and their ability to confidently substitute yarns and choose yarn for weaving projects and original designs.

If you’ve inherited a bunch of unlabeled yarn, as so many weavers do, this class is a life-saver. Even if your whole stash is neatly labeled, there are many reasons why this class is especially important for weavers!

Choosing Yarn for Weaving

You already know that the high tension and friction put on warp threads raises the stakes when choosing warp yarns. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Here are some other factors that can impact your weaving:

  • Ply and twist direction of yarn impact interlacement
  • Weaving to square requires experimentation with yarn weight
  • Yarn “energy” can create tracking on washed plain weave fabric
  • Different weave structures require smart yarn choices to show up on cloth
  • Each type of fiber will weave and finish a little bit differently
Tracking can be a very desirable feature in weaving, but how do you choose weaving yarns to get that effect?

Top sample is unwashed plain weave, while the bottom sample has been washed. The diagonal lines you can see are called “tracking.” From The Weaver’s Yarn Companion.

Also, more even than knitters and crocheters, weavers often create items for hard-wearing use and for the home, such as hot pads, tablecloths, and towels. Which fibers will hold up to hard use? Which will make the most absorbent towel? You’ll get all the tools to answer these questions and more in All About Yarns.

Jennifer is a wonderful, humorous instructor with more than 20 years of experience as a crochet and knitting teacher. She prides herself on catering to many different learning preferences. Her teaching style includes handouts, broken down instructions, and lots of examples. You’ll learn by doing, with tons of swatching and sampling and the creation of your own yarn cards. Plus, she’s excited and ready to tackle your toughest questions about choosing yarn for weaving.

Sign up for All About Yarns today, and enjoy a course perfect for the modern weaver on-the-go! You’ll be able to access your course anytime, anywhere, from any device. Plus, you can learn at your own pace and on your own schedule, with no set class time.

I hope you’ll join Jennifer and take advantage of all the knowledge she has to offer!


P.S. Have you ever had a yarn-substitution-related weaving disaster? Share your story in the comments!

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