Yarn Blends to Love – Handwoven January/February 2019

WHEN YOU LOVE WEAVING and your job is about weaving, it’s hard not to take it with you when you go on vacation—even when that vacation takes you to two of the most gorgeous and interesting places you have ever been: the Grand Tetons and Yellowstone National Park. I was prepared to enjoy myself with my sisters and our husbands, but was totally unprepared for the absolute splendor of the mountains, the ever-present yet somewhat elusive wildlife, and the otherworldliness of the geyser areas. As a weaver, I was intrigued by color combinations created by minerals and organisms in the hot pools, the patterning left by decades of calcification, the way the sunlight hit the river in the afternoon, and the scruffy pelts of bison.

We stayed outside the park in a beautiful cabin, enjoying wine on the deck in the evenings and dinners together. It was the best of both worlds: comfort and laughter mixed with the beauty and serenity of the natural world.

Handwoven January/February 2019

Deanna Deeds used a cotton/wool blend for her Sweetheart Baby Blanket woven in diversified plain weave.

I was still thinking about my trip as we were putting this issue about yarn blends together. Some of the blends our designers used are well-known, such as cottolin and silk/wool. Then there are others that push the envelope a bit, combining fibers we wouldn’t normally think of as compatible: cotton and wool, silk and bamboo, lyocell and wool. It turns out the fibers are compatible and, just like the trip, they are blends of two—and sometimes more—very different things that create something special.

Handwoven January/February 2019

Sandra Hutton’s A Winter Confection scarf uses a blend of silk and bamboo. Photo by George Boe

The Handwoven January/February 2019 issue has a beautiful selection of five scarves and shawls woven with yarn blends by Anu Bhatia, Deb Essen, Nancy Dunlap, Sandra Hutton, and Pattie Graver. Deanna Deeds wove a sweet baby’s blanket with a cotton/wool blend; Jenny Sennott wove a table runner in a triple blend of rayon, linen, and cotton; and Sarah Resnick wove her Sunset Towels using a new cottolin yarn.

Handwoven January/February 2019

Sarah Resnick used a new cottolin for her Sunset Towels. Photo by George Boe

In keeping with the theme, Sara Goldenberg describes her technique of picking yarns when designing in the Idea Gallery, and Sara Bixler uses weft-twisting techniques in her rug accompanying our Traditions article about Shaker weaving. Fiona Whyte has done some traveling of her own in the mountains of Portugal, where she discovered the fiber arts that she writes about in Spotlight. Deb Essen explains how to adjust your sett and draft when working with different types of yarn, and Tom Knisely riffs on good and bad combinations in life and in the fiber world. For The Draft, Madelyn van der Hoogt explains how to design Swedish lace. In Endnotes, Sara Lamb writes about the advantages of being a weaver who spins.

Some combinations are magic. Enjoy this issue about weaving with some of the yarn blends that enrich our weaving world.

Weave well,

Featured Image: Nancy Dunlap’s Fusion Sparkle Shawl combines many yarns of many types into one beautiful shawl. Photo by George Boe

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