Tackling some simpler aspects of ‘art yarn’ spinning

OK, I know – this is a classic example of running before learning to walk, but I burn to spin some fancy yarns. So this page will chart my forays into hand spinning ‘art yarn’.

Not having many family commitments over the long bank holiday weekend recently I fired up my Ashford Traveller wheel and spun a fine yarn in Romney and another, thicker end in cream Jacobs wool.

I’d read up a bit on the principle beforehand and from what I could see it involves plying two or more yarns, feeding the yarn in at different angles so that one wraps around the other. In this case, as I wanted a loopy, bouclé slub I planned to exaggerate this effect.

Starting to ply the two singles.

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Building the boucle slub
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Working the finer singles back and forth builds up a slub
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Some slubs were more successful than others
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The yarn built up fast on the bobbin

It seemed surprisingly easy which probably means I was doing it wrong!
I tried to balanced the tension of both yarns for the straight section in between the bouclé slubs and then when I got to where I wanted a bouclé slub, I released the tension on the fine single, and changed the angle of its feed to 90 degrees to the thicker single. I also moved the fine single backwards and forwards whilst it built up its twist into a slub. Encouraging the fine single to travel back and forwards as it loosely looped around the thicker yarn is what built a core to the slub, and has served to lock the slubs and their bouclé loops in place.

I made a video of the process which may explain it better.

The yarn off the wheel and hanked ready for washing
After washing, the fibres have softened and filled out, and the yarn is really rather nice!

So I’m quite pleased with my first organised and intentional attempt at a simple ‘art yarn’. Maybe next time I will dye the singles first and then ply them in this way and see what happens. Before I get much further along I think I will have to think about a jumbo flyer that will allow the thicker yarns through onto the bobbin.

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