It's been a pretty quiet week here at The Yarn Barn as Robbie and Carrie are enjoying a much needed week away to celebrate their 22nd wedding anniversary (yay! congratulations!)
Emma and I have been holding down the mill, processing some rug yarn and felt sheets, and taking advantage of the unusually quiet mill to do some yarn experimenting.
Over the past few weeks, you've seen our experiments with dyeing and new fiber blends like angora and merino, but something we haven't dabbled with too much is texture.
If you're a hand spinner, you know that its almost inevitable that you're yarn is going to have some texture to it, and you learn to manipulate the roving to achieve a desired texture or color-way.
However, in mill spinning, the machines are in control and these machines are programmed to create consistent even strands at all times, so it takes a little extra effort and experimentation to get well-made textured yarns.
So this week Emma and I have been playing around with techniques that can give our yarn a more organic, hand-spun feel and so far we've come up with two blends that we both love!
The first yarn, dreamt up and executed by Emma, is a thick & thin yarn with a blend of merino and angora that has some serious squishiness!
In hand spinning, thick & thin yarn seems to happen naturally. On an industrial spinning machine, its hard to create one strand with thick and thin parts, so you have to spin separate thick and thin strands and ply them together to create the bubbly texture. We tried this technique and out came a perfectly uneven yarn that could make an adorably fun little hat or cowl!
,The next experiment was something we've both been wanting to try for a while: Single strand yarn.
Single strand yarn is yarn that consists of only one strand of spun fiber. Most yarns are plyed, meaning several strands of fiber are twisted together to add durability and keep them from unraveling. However, it is possible to create a yarn with one strand, as long as you set it correctly.
The draw of using this type of yarn ( at least for me) is that it adds a certain simpleness and rawness to the fabric you create, that you just can't achieve with a plyed yarn.
The nature of single strand yarn can be very finicky and we weren't sure it would work for us, so we just ran a very small batch to try it out. We started with merino and tussah silk, which we dyed in the raw, dried and then processed and spun. At first the yarn coming off the spinner was extremely twisted, but after being washed and dried, it straightened out very well!
Here's some pictures I snapped during the process :)
I actually love this yarn so much! It's everything I look for in a yarn: unique, soft, versatile, and very strong for not having been plyed.
Emma and I had a lot of fun experimenting in the mill and we encourage everyone to try their hand at using new yarns. Whether you be a hand spinner who is looking for new spinning techniques, or a fiber artist looking for fun yarns, try something new and get creative. It's really cool to see where fiber can take you!
Anyway, thanks for reading and enjoy your week! Stay tuned next week for more from us here at The Yarn Barn!
P.S. Be sure to wish Robbie and Carrie a Happy Anniversary when you see them next :)