Why We Love Fashion Yarns
It’s no secret that I love fashion yarns. If a yarn has fun color changes, glitter, or is in some other way novel, you can bet I’ll try to rationalize buying a skein of it for an upcoming project. I know that these yarns are often referred to as knitting yarns, but I doubt there’s a yarn out there for knitters that we weavers can’t use, too. There are so many reasons to love weaving with fashion yarns; here are a few of my favorites.
First, a little can go a long way: Fashion yarns are perfect when you want to add a little extra somthin’-somethin’ to a woven piece. In Tom Knisely’s gorgeous huck scarf (in Handwoven January/February 2017), just a touch of fashion yarn makes an ordinary scarf into something extra special.
They make you really think about structure: different types of fashion yarns have different requirements. For example, if you’re using a variegated yarn in the weft, you’ll want to choose a weave structure that really shows it off, like this overshot scarf from Deborah Rutherford (also from Handwoven January/February 2017). The overshot pattern puts the yarn front and center so you can see the beautiful color changes. With more traditional yarns, I’ll choose a yarn for a specific project I have in mind. But with fashion yarns, I often design projects around the yarn, which is just that much more fun!
Fashion yarns are perfect for rigid-heddle weaving: To me, fashion yarns and rigid-heddle looms go together like strawberries and cream or peanut butter and pickles (don’t knock it ’til you’ve tried it). The nature of the rigid heddle itself makes it so much simpler to carefully warp up fashion yarns. This means you can more easily weave up scarves with ribbons running down the warp, or shawls bursting with bouclé, and who doesn’t love that? The rigid-heddle loom also lends itself to hand-manipulated techniques such as Danish medallions, leno, and inlay, which are all great ways to show off fancy yarns in both warp and weft.
Finally, they’re just plain fun! I love my 8/2 cotton as much as the next crazed towel weaver, because it’s so versatile and sensible. But sometimes I want a dessert yarn—something that’s fun and maybe a bit decadent. Give me yarns with beads, glitter, and funky textures. They bring me nothing but delight when I see them in the store. Then building that perfect project around them creates more wonderful feelings. And that, more than anything else, is why I love fashion yarns: they rarely fail to bring me joy.