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Fun with Yarn



Yes, that’s Christmas yarn. Even better, it’s fat, fluffy, low twist Christmas yarn. One of the requirements this year for the Olds College Master Spinner program (I’m in year three) is to spin a fat, fluffy, low twist yarn. And I’ve done it! In red and green merino, none the less!

Spinning fat and fluffy is hard work. When we start spinning, we spin fat and slubby yarn mainly because that’s all we can do. If it holds together, we cheer. I still remember the first time I spun knitable yarn. “I can knit with this! It’s knitable!” I practically bounced off the walls, I was so thrilled and proud.¬†With experience, though, yarn gets thinner. And thinner. And thinner. Until one’s default yarn is what’s known in the hobby as “frog hair.” Then trying to spin thick is an exercise in frustration and failure. The thick yarn we spun in the beginning is an unattainable ideal.

One of the challenges this year is to vary the yarn we spin, from an ultra-thin, highly twisted yarn to fat, fluffy, low twist yarn. It’s all in knowing how to use the different ratios of our spinning wheels and coordinate how quickly we draft with how slowly we treadle. It’s also knowing what fiber to use. My first efforts involved longwools, which are naturally sleek and didn’t hold together. A YouTube video by the Wool Wench (I love that name) convinced me to try a different course. Shazam. Fat and fluffy!

I have far more failures in this project than I do successes, and that’s okay. Learning is all about trying and failing and growing through experience. Thank you, God, for making us fallible. Failure is good.

Enough failures, and you end up with Christmas yarn, ready to use for the office Christmas party.