Yarns

If you are just embarking on your weaving journey you can get quickly overwhelmed with all the materials needed for your new hobby and- all the options- my goodness! and then- 8/2, 8/4 …what does it all mean? Let me share with you some of my favorite yarn and resources to get you on your way.

8/2 Cotton – Unmercerized

For the beginning weaver, 8/2 cotton is perfect to have on hand. There are so many color choices and this cotton a popular yarn for weaving dishtowels. Dishtowels are great projects for beginning weavers as you can experiment with different weave structures and color combinations without devoting tons of material. I should clarify- 8/2 is not just for the beginning weaver- veteran weavers love to use 8/2 cotton to weave dishtowels as well. Unmercerized cotton is absorbent and wears well during washing. When soiled, just throw your item in the washer and dryer and it’ll be just fine.

There are several brands of cotton, but by far I prefer Maurice Brassard Cotton. I pretty much now exclusively order Maurice Brassard. You can find this cotton in almost every size through the Woolery. It comes in so many color options.

8/4 Cotton- Unmercerized

8/4 is also known as rug yarn. The 4 strands in this yarn makes it super strong and therefore, ideal for rug warps. This yarn is twice the size as the 8/2 cotton. Not only is it the go to yarn for rugs, you can also use this yarn to weave baby blankets (popular yarn in Tom Knisely’s Handwoven Baby Blanket book). I’ve also used this yarn to weave placemats. This yarn also comes in many colors and, just like the 8/2 cotton, I purchase the Maurice Brassard brand from the Woolery.

6/2 Cotton

Seriously, this is my new favorite yarn for weaving baby blankets. I love, love, love the weight of this yarn. A little thicker than the 8/2 but not as heavy as the 8/4. The only issue is that there isn’t a whole wide range of color choice as there is with other cottons- it just isn’t as popular. I particularly like the brand of 6/2 cotton carried by The Yarn Barn of Kansas.

The Woolery carries the Bluegrass Mills line of 6/2 cotton. This also has a lovely feel to it.

Again- not as popular as 8/2 and 8/4, but it’s a dream to weave with. Give it a try!

Mercerized Cotton

Mercerized cotton (aka perle cotton) is a great yarn for placemats and table runners. There is a big difference between unmercerized and mercerized cotton. Be sure to read my blog post What’s the Difference Between Mercerized and Unmercerized Cotton? The shine of the yarn is so beautiful and I just love using it as the pattern yarn in overshot patterns. Because of how this yarn is processed it lacks absorbency so it’s not used in items such as dishtowels. The vibrant colors and the shine of this yarn makes it fun to weave. You can find mercerized cotton in many colors and sizes on the Woolery website. I also order mercerized cotton from Lunatic Fringe.

Cottolin

Cottolin is another great yarn for weaving household linens. As the name of the yarn suggests, cottolin is a blend of cotton (60%) and linen (40%). Cottolin is great for weaving linens such as napkins, tablecloths, and table runners. Linen, in itself, is stronger and less elastic than cotton. By combining the cotton and linen, you’ll have a slightly stiffer fabric than if using cotton alone. If you are weaving items, such as napkins and placemats, you may want this feature. You can find 8/2 Maurice Brassard Cottolin and 16/2 Maurice Brassard Cottolin on the Woolery website.

Tencel

Is it possible to have a love/hate relationship with a certain type of yarn? If so, that’s what I have with tencel. I used tencel to weave table runners for my daughter’s wedding. I wove over 25 runners most of which were 9 feet long. It took F.O.R.E.V.E.R. It was my first time using tencel and because of the number I had to weave, I had long warps (I wove three on a warp). Those darn threads were so prone to breaking! It was driving me crazy. Tencel seems to be prone to breakage under tension, but it’s softness and shine are hard to pass up. I still use tencel, but I keep to projects with shorter warps just to maintain my sanity. You can purchase 8/2 tencel from the Woolery.

Bamboo

I really, really like weaving with bamboo. It gives me the softness and shine that tencel does, but it’s much stronger under tension. If you haven’t yet tried weaving with bamboo, you’ll for sure want to give it a go. 8/2 Maurice Brassard Bamboo is also available at the Woolery.

Wool and Wool Blends

I spin my own wool yarn so I haven’t purchased tons of wool online. Last year I wove a scarf using Jaggerspun Zephyr and just loved it. This wool blend has equal proportions of merino wool and Chinese Tussah silk. It’s soooooo soft and the scarf is beautiful. This pattern for this scarf is from the book Next Steps In Weaving- What You Never Knew You Needed to Know.

It seems like wool, wool blends and alpaca deserve a whole separate blog post. Stay tuned- I’ll be sure to write one soon.