Oh my goodness, dear friends. I never thought I’d actually enjoy spinning ‘textured’ yarns. But I am enjoying it immensely, so for the month of February, I’m going to focus on this major learning curve! I hope you’ll join me.
I completely fell into the adage that textured yarns are just a waste a fibre because there is no use for them. I had totally written them off. Man, was I wrong about them … completely. What caused me to change my tune? Part of the beginning spinning course that I will be teaching at the Sweet Georgia Yarns’ Studio will include a class devoted to introducing textured yarns. As well, it was an opportunity to review the new Craftsy class, Spinning Art Yarns, by Jacey Boggs Faulkner.
Thankfully, I had a 1.5oz batt in my stash that I had been ‘saving’ for no particular reason. It contained merino dyed various colours of sage, teal and ochre, sari silk waste and bits of thread, and tons of firestar.
One of the techniques that I have long been wanting to learn is core spinning. Core spinning is exactly what the name implies – the yarn has a core and the spinner spins around it. I chose some old 2-ply fingering from my stash that I will never use up in a million years as my core and pulled out my jumbo/bulky flyer for my Lendrum. I took a deep breath … and pressed play on this particular section of the Craftsy class*.
*I should mention that I had watched the Craftsy class quite a few times (5-6) by then and needed to actually sit down at my wheel to start applying the learning that Jacey shares through-out her course. It was swirling around in my head but getting it into my treadling feet and working hands is another feat all together.
I divided up the batt into roughly 8 sections to spin from and lay them aside.
Jacey’s instruction is so clear and concise. She walks through each step of the process for you and repeats herself again and again. I knew her teaching method from the Drafting from Worsted to Woollen course and knew to expect this again. She even kind of makes fun of herself when she looses ends or breaks things or spins in the wrong direction – she’s very real. I personally really appreciate this honest and genuine way of teaching one another.
My first skein of textured yarn, ever. A really interesting process.
After I’d broken up the batt, I worked on her instructions to ensure my hand placement was correct. I can honestly say it was moments until I got it! She was so clear that I just knew what to do and I found myself wondering why I’d waited so long to try core spinning in the first place. I will say however, that I was completely in the right frame of mind to try this: I am ready to take my spinning to another level by perfecting some of these techniques that will help improve my ‘normal’ spinning.
My jumbled mess on the bobbin wasn’t nearly as bad as I thought it would be! And lo and behold, I have quite an awesome yarn at the end of it all!
I wound it off onto my niddy-noddy and washed it as she describes in the course.
I don’t think textured spinning is for the faint of heart. There is no way that I will be able to ‘master’ this type of spinning anytime soon but having a resource to help me learn is fantastic. That’s actually why I like the Craftsy platform so much. I have much to learn – thick n’ thin is my next aspiration once I practice my core spinning some more. I think this will be a great way to work through some textured, interesting batts that I’ve been putting off spinning because I wanted to really show them off. This will be a great way to do so (and use up some stashed fingering that is taking up room!).
Thank you to Craftsy for allowing me to have this course for review – it is wonderful. I think my only complaint is in the camera work when Jacey talks about the skeins compared to the knitted samples. I would have liked a close up of each to really see what the fabric might look like knitted up, as well as the details in the finished skeins. I found these shots hard to see since the camera wasn’t zoomed in particularly closely but instead kept the entire work surface in view.
For the foreseeable future, this little skein will live on my branch above our fireplace as an example of learning and spinning. I keep my ‘prized’ skeins up there until other skeins take their place or they are knitted with when I come up with a project. It’s a great place for me to meditate on my results, plan future projects and visually enjoy the finished yarn.
Left to right :: Corespun merino & firestar, Sweet Georgia Yarns Polwarth hand-pulled roving from November 2014 club, Humming Bee farm Corriedale 2-ply (first spin on my Hansen in July 2015).
I’m already working in my next skein of core spun yarn – this time a deep stash batt from Edgewood Garden Studios. It is really fun and I’m enjoying every minute of it. I’ll keep you posted on my results and then also my foray into thick and thin!
The intact Edgewood Garden Studios batt prior to breaking it down into tiny battlings or nests.
What do you like about textured yarns? Have you tried them yet? If so, please share your experiences.
That branch above your fireplace is a great idea for displaying yarns. I love looking at my yarn, especially handspun, and I’ve been trying to add some more display options around my tiny flat. Beautiful work.
Heavily textured yarns aren’t something I’ve really done (at least not on purpose ;) because I only spin on spindles at the moment which means you need to use your hands differently. But someday I know I will take the plunge.
I think that yarn is gorgeous! Love it!