In today’s culture in which knitting has become immensely popular as a hobby and creative activity, the market for yarn has greatly expanded. Those that have moved beyond or have a preference for fiber hobbies other than knitting, such as felting, weaving and crochet, also drive the market for yarn. Despite the wide variety of commercial yarns available, the use of handspun yarn in projects can make the artisans work really sing.
Creating Handspun Yarn is a Selective Process
Each skein of handspun yarn represents the time and creativity of an artisan, sometimes more than one. Often the fiber is dyed by an independent dyer. This is someone that is selective about the actual type of fiber they are using. Independent dyers often choose high quality fibers such as long-staple cotton, breed-specific wools, and luxurious silks. Thus, instead of a knitter getting a skein containing “wool”, they can get a skein containing Bluefaced Leicester or Icelandic wool. Dyers are often masters at color theory and create blendings and combinations that are unlike anything available commercially.
An intermediate step between dyed fiber and handspun skein can be an artisan who is a expert at blending with specialize equipment. By taking handdyed wool, as an example, and using a drum carder to combine it with whole locks, handdyed silk, mohair, and sparkly fibers, an artisan can produce what is known as an art batt. This preparation of spinning fiber adds a bit more excitement and texture to the raw materials available to handspinners.
Hand Dyed Yarn Gives the Artist Complete Control
A handspinner, who may be dyeing their own fiber or obtaining it from a dyer, can then turn that unique fiber content and colorway into a one-of-a-kind skein. There are numerous techniques spinners use to spin singles and 2-ply, but also thick-thin yarn, coiled yarn, and highly textures an unusual art yarn. Handspun yarns, with all of this intention and skill behind it becomes art objects in and of themselves. And as with other handmade items, instead of having completely consistent thickness and color, handspun yarn often shows small to more intentional inconsistencies which add to its interest in any handmade scarf, hat or gloves.