you hear the words "art yarn," what comes to mind? I'd guess that most people
imagine crazy, wild yarns with large foreign objects sticking out willy-nilly.
And yes, while art yarn often features fun experimental textures and objects,
it can also be quite sophisticated.
week we'll explore plying with beads, an easy art yarn technique that can add a
bit of chic sparkle to your next project. The easiest and most obvious way to
add beads to handspun yarn is to thread them directly onto high-twist singles
or commercial thread and then secure them by plying with another singles.
What you'll need: handspun singles, beads (or
buttons or other elements with holes), and very even handspun binder or
- If you decide
to use commercial thread to hold your beads, keep in mind that the thread will
show in your finished yarn—choose a thread color similar to your plying singles
if you'd like it to blend in, or go with something fun like metallic thread if
you want to add a bit of razzle-dazzle.
- If you choose a handspun singles to hold the beads, make sure it is even and
durable, and keep in mind that beads may have sharp edges that could abrade
1. Thread all of the beads you plan to use on your thread or singles before you
2. Place the plain singles and beaded singles/thread on a lazy kate and begin
3. When you reach a spot where you would like to place a bead, simply slide one
up toward the orifice and into the point of twist (A).
4. Continue to ply, allowing the twist to run over the bead and secure it. As
you continue plying, the twist between the two plies will help encapsulate the
bead and hold it in place—if you have threaded your beads on handspun (B), then
the fiber may fill the hole in the bead a bit and keep it more snug than if you
are using thread (C).
instructions, tips and photos are from the upcoming Interweave book Get
Spun by Symeon North. Here's a quick preview from the book's editor,
Anne: There are probably as
many opinions about art yarns as there are spinners. My favorite thing about
Symeon North is the way she welcomes all of them to the party. In her book, Get
Spun, Symeon teaches skills that
begin with fundamental spinning principles: how to spin thick-and-thin yarns
that don't fall apart, how to dye different kinds of fiber in just the colors
you want, how to use a drumcarder to create beautiful color and texture
effects. But even though she emphasizes understanding how and why fiber turns
into a particular kind of yarn, her true goal is to help you spin the yarn that
you want. The close-up,
detailed photographs show a range of different techniques to mix and match for
yarns that are simply elegant or riotously fun. Use these ideas to create your
own work of art in yarn!