by Dayna Mankowski / THISyarn
Understanding the properties and characteristics of a yarn can help guide you to a project.
Fiber Content: this may not always be listed on an art yarn. If it was spun from a complex batt, it may contain; wool, silk, sparkle, alpaca, angora, and more. Wool has ‘memory’ and can bounce back into shape. Alpaca and silk add softness and drape, but if it is mostly these fibers, it can lose it’s shape, so it wouldn’t be good for a project that gets lots of wear and tear.
Softness: This is important when making things for yourself and others that is to be worn next to the skin (cowls, scarves, hats and some sweaters). Take the skein of yarn to your neck or back of wrist- sensitive areas. If it is soft enough, think of making something cozy for your neck, wrists, or head. This varies greatly- one person’s scratchy is another’s soft!
Texture: If the yarn has lots of add-ins or locks, “texture”- you want to think about how to showcase this. Ideas are to use larger needles and elongated stitches.
Yardage: Remember, if using highly textured yarn and large needles (35-50s), you can make a large infinity scarf or cowl with 30 yards or less! If you want a larger project, look to your stash or other commercial yarns at your LYS.
Things to remember:
All Art Yarns are not meant to be used in wearable garments! There are many creatively spun yarns that contain hemp, nettle, horsehair, etc that would be perfect for baskets, rugs, and other home projects.
Give yourself permission to play - that means swatch! Get your hooks and needles or loom out and play a bit. Try different sizes and stitches to see what looks good.
If you love a handspun skein and have the means to purchase it, do it! A project will always follow if you cannot think of one at that moment. More regrets are due to not purchasing one of a kind skeins when you had the chance.