Monday, January 14, 2013

Little Monster

When I first started looking into spinning a few years ago there was a lot of arguing about "art yarns". The spinning groups were basically split up into two categories: the more "traditional" spinners and the "art yarn" spinners. The more traditional spinners didn't understand the appeal of the lumpy-bumpy yarns that were made on purpose and preferred their smooth yarns. The art yarn spinners would get annoyed that their yarns were being called "beginner yarns" just because they were lumpy, bumpy, wild, and crazy.

It has toned down a lot now, but I still remember all of this going on. I didn't understand the appeal of crazy art yarns either. I thought they looked messy and the finished objects that were made out of them just looked tacky to me. But something about them made me keep them in the back of my mind.

A year ago I tried to spin some thick and thin yarn on purpose on a spindle and ply it into what is known as a coil yarn. It worked, but the thick parts were too thick and didn't hold together when I washed it. So, I decided to perfect making regular yarns that I knew I would use on a day to day basis.

Then I found the Novelty and Art Yarn Spinners group on Ravelry. It was fascinating to look at the different yarns in the group because they were made out of materials that I had never thought to use, like feathers and other scraps of yarn. I still didn't really like any of the finished objects that came out of the group because they just weren't my taste most of the time, but I loved looking at them. One of my favorite threads in the group was the thread called "Palettes: Before the Spin" which was about showing off what you were going to spin into a yarn. It was fascinating and I loved looking at the baskets full of different types of materials and fluff.

I wanted to know more, so I went onto YouTube and found fantastic videos about how to spin different types of art yarns. One of my favorites was made by a lady named Ashley Martineau and it was about how to corespin yarn. It was the first video I ran into and it quickly became one of my favorite videos. She spun everything from alpaca locks, wool roving, shiny firestar, and bamboo to things like recycled sari silk fibers, beads, and strings of sequins.

So, when I got my wheel for Christmas, I knew that I wanted to try out at least a corespun yarn. I gathered different materials including some of my wool locks, mohair locks, cotton lint, a piece of one of my batts, some small skeins of yarn that I had spun, and a couple of sample skeins of alpaca that came with two of my alpaca fiber bags. I chose a bright red crochet cotton core because I would be able to see it if anything didn't grab onto it and it was thin.

I knew the yarn was going to be lumpy and bumpy, but I didn't expect to enjoy spinning it this much. It came out wild and watching the fibers wrap around the core was fascinating. Even the cotton lint ended up spinning really nicely around the core.

I only got 14 yards out of the spinning, but that was because I was getting tired of manually wrapping the yarn I had spun around the bobbin because the orifice of my wheel was too small for the thick bits to actually go through.

This is the wildest skein of yarn that I have ever spun and it was really fun to do. I have no idea how it is going to knit up, but I am looking forward to knitting it. I think it might become a funky cowl.

I would love to do it again, but I really have to wait until I get the jumbo flyer for my wheel. The orifice is bigger and it would be easier for the thick yarn to go through. Until then, I'm just planning out different corespun yarns in my head. If you think you would like to try to spin an art yarn, but you aren't sure if you would like it then just try it out anyway. It is fun way to let yourself go and just let the fiber spin itself.

1 comment:

  1. I don't spin, so I can't speak to the different positions within the community. But, as a knitter, I think there is definitely a time and place for these funky novelty yarns! I've seen some pretty amazing cowls knit from chunky uneven varieties.