Handspinning? How Novel!
One of my favorite things about weaving is that “novelty yarns” is a term of art . . . in a good way.
Aside from an eyelash-yarn craze early in the millennium, knitters mostly rely on consistent, smooth yarns for sweaters, shawls, and other projects, maybe with a little sparkle or thick-and-thin thrown in. But for weaving, art or novelty yarns have a place of honor. Weavers are a lot less likely to ask about art yarns, “But what can I do with it?” Textured (or art or novelty) yarns lend dimension, texture, and fun to plain-weave fabrics, adding dimension and elegance to what would otherwise be more ordinary cloth.
The Fall 2015 issue of Spin-Off is the plying issue, and plying is where the textured effects of novelty yarn take shape. The cover features Stephanie Stratton’s gorgeous “corespun squiggle” yarn, which pairs dyed locks with a sparkly binder to create a yarn that would be perfect for an eye-catching weft. Depending on the colors of the locks and the binder, this could be a subtle hint of texture or a flamboyant pop of color. (What you can’t see from the cover is how soft and silky the yarn is.)
Amy Tyler’s “pill bug” and intermittent-wrap yarns are perfect yarns for weavers. By varying the tension on one of the singles when plying, you can create subtly textured yarns that are intriguing but not intrusive. (The intermittent-wrap yarns would even make good warp because the overall yarns are still smooth.)
Traditionally, spinning and weaving go hand in hand, and there may be no better reason to be an art-yarn spinner than to have something exciting to weave. Check out all the ways you can ply better yarn for weaving, knitting, or anything else in the new issue of Spin-Off.