Lets talk yarn

Sometime ago (late 2007), when I first decided to try weaving, I got very excited and jumped online and purchased several cones of yarn. I had no idea about yarn count and so what I thought I was getting was totally different from what I actually got. The end result is that I have lots of cones of yarn that I have no idea what to do with.

The brown on the right has a count of 75/1 (100% lambswool woolen spun)

The natural beige in the middle is 120/2 (I have no idea about any other info any more except that it’s wool)

The blue is 2/18 (lamb/angora/ny/cashmere blend)

Then we have the purple 2/28 (again I’m lost as to what the wool composition is for this one)

Olive green 110/2 (100% Merino worsted)

and finally (not in photo) Black 80/2 (once more that’s all I know of it).

I purchased all those thinking that they would all be “2 ply” yarns (except the brown), all the same thickness etc, just like if I went into the craft shop and bought balls of “4 play” knitting yarn. I had no idea about count and how dramatic an effect on the size of the yarn that would be. These yarns aren’t the strongest either for the most part. I recall thinking that the olive green would be really strong because it’s used in military uniforms, it snaps under the slightest tension of single strands. I think I read somewhere that if a piece of yarn, when stretched makes a “thunk” rather then a “ping” sound, it shouldn’t be used as warp, these go “thunk”.

Now the point of this post is that I really want to use these yarns. I want to justify their purchase and create something with them, I just have no idea what or how. Should I give up trying to use them as warp due to being sort of fragile or should I use double strands? If I used something else for the warp, what would I use?

If any fellow weavers out there have any brilliant ideas, please please please let me know.

3 responses

  1. Tracey your yarn buying sounds a lot like mine!

    I have done very little weaving with wool yarns, but for all yarns, I always see how easy it is to break of a piece by simple pulling (have to admit I don’t pay much attention to how it sounds.) When in doubt, remember that there’s strength in numbers.

    As with all weaving the key is to sample! (I usually call these samples “mug rugs.” Even if the yarn turns out to be unsuitable as warp, you will still glean a lot of valuable information about it from the sample.

    Samples are a good way to experiment with wet finishing too.

    You have some lovely colors there. I would definitely be working on a way to use them all in the same piece!

  2. I’m not the greatest at project design…so take everything I say here with major grains of salt!!

    I sometimes weave with yarn that I can break fairly easily just by pulling. But I only weave short things that way – like a scarf. Plus I prepare for frustration and broken warp threads!

    If you want to avoid that, (which might be wise!!), I think any of your yarns would be fine as weft. They’re just too weak to be warp.

    So you could do something like the plaited twill scarves in Handwoven.

    I’m not well-versed in what all those numbers you posted mean….so I can’t picture how thick the yarn is.

    You could use multiple strands together. Weaving A Life has info about how to double yarn to use as weft.

    If you do combine the yarns, here’s some info from Sandra Rude.

    Hope some of this helps! I’d be hard-pressed to sit down and design something I know I’d like with that combination of yarn, but that’s because I’m not especially experienced with weaving.

    Look forward to seeing what you come up with (and to what other comments you get on this post)!


  3. Those yarns are reeeeally fine. I’ve got some in my stash that are similar – had a momentary lapse of reason when I bought them and haven’t been sure what to do with them since, since I’m not much of a fine threads kinda gal.

    You could definitely use your threads as weft rather than warp – no abrasion in the reed nor tension on the threads that way. You could double them up some to make them bulkier as well.

    Are you a spinner? You also could ply your threads together to make them thicker and stronger. I’ve also plied some of my fine 2/32 black wool with handspun singles when I want the strength of a plied yarn without covering up something fancy (colours, loopy bits, whatever) in the singles.

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