Wow! Yarn Design! That encompasses quite a few topics! I'll start with the most important aspect of yarn design: Your fibre choice and preparation!Fibre choice:
Everyone loves some next to skin soft merino wool. But did you know that not all wool is created equal, and not all yarn needs to be next to skin soft? Next to skin soft yarn does not wear as well as a coarser, less crimpy fibre. Wensleydale and Lincoln wool make wonderful rugs. So, with that in mind, what is the end use of your yarn? Toque and mitts? Well, you'll want that lovely merino or even BFL (Blue Faced Leicester). Heck, you don't even necessarily need to spin wool. There's Alpaca, cotton, bamboo, and silk, just to name a few.Fibre Prep:
There are many preparations available to hand spinners today. Commercially processed types include, but are not limited to: Roving, Sliver, and Top. Roving
(semi woollen preparation) is created from carding, and pulling the fibres into a long, rope like package. Fibres are not aligned at all, and there is a slight twist in the rope. There is a lot of air in this fluffy preparation.Sliver
(semi worsted preparation) is an intermediary step from roving to top. The fibres are more aligned, but not of similar lengths. They are often smaller in diameter and not as dense as combed top. Top
(worsted preparation) is a combed preparation that leaves almost only all the longest fibres, and it leaves them in parallel alignment. This is the most dense form of commercial prep.
There are also many hand prepared options as well. They include, but are not limited to: hand carded rolags, batts, hand pulled rovings, and hand combed top.Hand carded rolags
(woollen preparation) are made on hand cards. The fibre is out of alignment as much as it possibly can be.Batts
(semi woollen preparation) are fluffy sheets of fibres, often blends of different fibres, that have been prepared on a home sized drum carder. The fibres are not aligned. There are many, many ways to spin a batt. Truth be told however you spin it works perfectly. It'll make yarn if you put twist into it and draft it out.Hand pulled rovings
(semi worsted preparation) are generally made with a hackle. the fibres can be more aligned then not. Hand combed tops
(worsted preparation) are less dense then commercially preped tops. They are, however, similar to the commercially preped tops in that all the short fibres are removed and fibres are aligned.
Adding twist can be done in a few different ways, and it directly affects the type of yarn you end up with. There is an infinite spectrum of Worsted
yarns. Lets explore the most worsted and most woollen types of yarns. True Worsted
yarns by definition are worsted spun from hand combed top. Let's explore what exactly worsted spinning is. When you are drafting your fibre out to allow twist in, you create something of a triangle shape. In worsted spinning, you do not
allow the twist to travel past where you are pinching off and pulling out the fibres. You smooth the fibres down, squeezing any air out of the resulting make of yarn. This produces a dense, heard wearing, and smooth yarn. True Woollen
yarns are spun from hand carded rolags. Woollen spinning is the opposite of worsted spinning in that you allow the twist into your drafting triangle, and you do not pinch out the air. The air and the misaligned fibres are what give woollen spun yarns their characteristic fluffy and fuzzy nature. Woollen yarns are also a lot warmer then worsted yarns.The in betweens
are any mix up of prep type and spinning style. Spin a worsted preparation with a woollen draft, and you will get a lighter, less dense but still durable yarn. Spin a woollen preparation with a worsted draft and you'll still get some of the fuzziness, but your yarn will be dense.
With the basics covered, some more exciting ways of sprucing up your yarns involve plying with thread, adding beads, plying at different angles, core spinning, coiling... plying an over plied yarn on itself gives you a cabled yarn. Add bits of fluff or fabric between your plies.
And then there's colour! Play with colour combinations. Spin one colour after the other, and ply that singles with a solid coloured singles. What about wrapping one color of fibre around a singles to make clouds?
The possibilities really are endless! So go forth, create yarns! It doesn't matter how you do it, so long as you are putting twist into fibre, you are making yarn! Lesson 1 : Source your toolsLesson 2 : Drafting Lesson 3 : SpinningLesson 4 : PlyingLesson 5 : Skeining and setting the twistLesson 6 : Yarn design[url]