Thin? It’s All Relative

Moreno Big Yarn 1 sm Our latest issue of PLY is all about spinning thin yarn. When I think about thin yarn I think about that finer-than-fine yarn, that’s really thread, some spinners can spin.

I say some spinners because so far I’m not one of them.


As I read through this issue I realized that thin is relative. I usually like to spin fattish yarn, aran weight or worsted so my particular thin is a 2-ply fingering weight yarn. One person’s thin isn’t another person’s thin and it doesn’t have to be. I’m happy with that. All of the knitting I’m doing lately is for fingering to aran weight yarn, so my thin-for-me yarn is perfect.

I’m sure I could spin finer if I had a burning desire or a particular project where I want to use a finer yarn. Actually, there may be finer yarn for me in the near future because my current fingering weight yarn isn’t quite fine enough for the stitching I’m getting more and more excited about.

ply blog fine

How fine will I go?


Spinning, Stitching and Sampling

Anyone who has talked to me or spent any time with me in the past year knows I’m a little nuts for hand stitching right now. I started embroidering samplers and clothing that I wear. My stitching love quickly turned into, “what if I spun my own yarn/thread to stitch?” and boy, oh, boy have I been sampling stitching yarns.


Spinning for stitching

I’ve been spending my time spinning fine and finer, experimenting with different fibers, different twists, manipulating color and stitching with it all.


Sample it

Here are four small stitch samplers done in four different wools, with two different ply twists each. I love how different each fiber is. I liked the Shetland as an around fiber, the Wensleydale was especially beautiful with extra twist and the alpaca was the biggest surprise to me – easy to stitch with and really lovely in both twists.



Top left: Shetland, top right: BFL; bottom left: Wensleydale, bottom right: alpaca

The two different ply twists I used were balanced or just under and more than balanced – sock-twist tight and more. The looser twist was better for filling stitches or any stitch I want to spread out or look soft. The extra twisty twist was better for outline stitches and any stitch I want to stand up, like for lettering. Here’s a satin stitch example with Shetland, left is balanced and right is more twist. See how the balanced ply twist yarn spreads out and fills the circle softly and the tighter twist is all about crispy lines?


Shetland satin stitch – softly twisted, left and tightly twisted, right.

This is just scratching the surface of the spinning and stitching I’ve done. I’m afraid I may have passed on my new passion to a few other spinners in my Beginning Spinning for Stitching class last weekend at the Intrepid Spinner Retreat.