Adventures in art yarn.

I’ve been in a spinny mood.

All in the last few weeks, I’ve finished at least four spinning projects—depending on how you look at it.

fullsizeoutput_eb5I would not count those two shiny orange skeins on the left, but they are included as finished products of the Yarn Revival, which began for me in April.

Next up is the original Rainbow Connection yarn. I dyed this merino top on Easter, and it inspired nearly all of my new colorways.


Apologies for the terribly blurry photo.


9CA4973D-E698-4A3C-9613-D575E24422C2I did a fractal spin with this one, and somehow, I completely misjudged the weight of the two plies. That’s okay. I ended up with a lovely chain-plied mini skein.

IMG_2003And the softest two-ply I had ever spun—up until that point (foreshadowing).

IMG_2007Then, at Mount Saint Joseph last weekend, my buds Kate and Maria were both spinning their new Fencerow Fiber braids.


Maria’s “Twilight” merino top, split and spun as a two-ply.


Kate’s two Rainbow Connection braids that had yellow ends, split and spun end to end , Also two-ply.

Not to be left out, I pulled out a Rainbow Connection braid (Pink, Purple, & Blue), which I spun as one single from end to end.IMG_2037At first, I wasn’t sure if I would ply it with another contrasting or coordinating single or chain-ply it. I have some merino/silk top in gorgeous blues that would have been beautiful plied against this, but it wasn’t already spun. And I wanted yarn, right then!


Maria and Kate spun theirs in a single day. It took me all weekend to get the four-ounce single spun. I’m slow. Which is okay. But the impatient two-year-old in me was throwing a hissy fit.

So chain-ply it was.

fullsizeoutput_ee1This has to be the bulkiest yarn I’d ever spun—up until that point (more foreshadowing). It was right at three hundred yards, and most of my four ounce braids come out between four and five hundred.

And then I came home.

I decided, since I was in such a spinny mood, I could ride that wave to finally get the light and dark BFL off the Matchless.

So I buckled down with the first season of Anne with an “E”—highly recommended, now streaming on Netflix—and made it happen.

fullsizeoutput_ebfAnd then it was time to ply. This yarn was always going to be a two-ply, so that was no mystery. What was a mystery was this wheel.

Let’s just say that my entire Monday was lost to learning all the fiddly bits about the Matchless: how to change the flyer and maiden, how to switch from double-drive to scotch tension, how to change the drive band, how to set up the lazy kate—each, its own little nightmare.

Most Matchless owners might disagree with me, but my spinner self was born and raised on a Lendrum—so wonderfully simple and comprehensible and manageable—and this finicky thing had me literally screaming.

Luckily I was home alone.

Eventually, I started plying, and if there is one thing I love about the Matchless, it’s its truly gigantic “bulky” bobbins, which have an inch or more in diameter on the Lendrum “jumbo” bobbins.

IMG_2065I don’t have solo photos of the BFL skeins because, let’s be real, I have a bit of a grudge against them, so kindly refer to the photo at the top of this entry to see the finished yarn.

I don’t see how people spin plain, undyed fibers all the time. I would go bonkers.

And in a way, I did after that BFL.

I finally pulled out those two ounces of rolags that I blended back at the beginning of the Yarn Revival. Remember these guys?

fullsizeoutput_ec4Well, I collected them all together and just started spinning, no rhyme or reason, just a willy-nilly single without a plan.

fullsizeoutput_ec3And then I remembered the random bit of thicker, white yarn on one of the BFL bobbins that I accidentally started plying with the brown single. (I have no idea where that white single came from, but I’m guessing it’s what I played with when I first bought the wheel, just to get a feel for it, and never took it off the bobbin.) I liked how it plied with the skinner, darker yarn—before I ripped it out, of course.

Maybe I could do something like that with this, I thought.

And then I remembered a bump of fluffy, white alpaca from Alpacas d’Auxvasse that Kim gave me way-back-when. I dove deep into the stash and ran back to the wheel. The next thing I knew…

IMG_2078My first ever art yarn!

Once I started I couldn’t stop. Well, I was able to stop making googly eyes at it long enough to spin more and more of the alpaca. I had not realized that it would take so much of it. Two ounces of a color single and all four ounces of the alpaca bump. Actually, I didn’t even ply in all of the color before I ran out of the white.

fullsizeoutput_ee3This, my friends, is the bulkiest and softest skein of yarn I have ever spun. I have no idea what I will make with it, though I think it is a fine thing on its own, but I know that when I made this, I fell in love.

My first set of rolags, my first time spinning them, my first time spinning alpaca, my first time spinning this kind of playful yarn. Puppy love, galore.

And then, in all that fibery and loverly goodness, I just started playing.


What if I made an extremely thick and thin single?



What if I knitted it? (On size US 8 needles because that seemed to somehow meet the thick and thin weight the yarn in the middle. And cast on with another yarn because casting on with this stuff seemed ludicrous.)


What if I plied colorful fluffy yarn…


…with a skinnier white single?

And then, well after midnight and knee-deep in crazy yarn, I went to bed.

But I did go to bed with some questions: What constitutes art yarn? Does it mean there is artistic technique involved in its making? Is it actually used for making garments? Or is it just pretty to look at?

These are all subjective concepts.

I think by now that y’all know I’m not too much into labels. Yarn is yarn, but this wild and crazy stuff is different from anything else I’ve ever made.

And boy, is it fun.


3 thoughts on “Adventures in art yarn.

  1. Art yarn is whatever you want it to be. Art is in the eye of the beholder. If you think your experiments in spinning meet your definition of art yarn, then it is art yarn. And certainly there is no other hank out there like it.

    (Also on my Knitting Bucket List: Knit a project out of a yarn that comes packaged in a hank. That has not been done yet.)

    Liked by 2 people

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