Yarn is the joy and sometimes the bane of handweavers. Choose the right yarns, and a project sings. Choose the wrong yarns and, instead of weaving a handsome pattern, you can spend a lot of time and money producing a nondescript mess.
Just as a master chef knows how varied ingredients, preparation methods, and heat will work together to produce a succulent dish, knowing the relationship of yarns and weave structures enables you to create a sumptuous fabric. If you weave projects exactly as written, you will likely get good results. But what if you have to substitute yarns? Or what if you want to design a project around some particularly lovely yarn. There are so many things to consider: the grist (length/weight), elasticity, strength, shrinkage, even color. How will it work with other yarns in the project? Is there enough size difference to make an overshot pattern distinct? Is there enough color contrast to make a color-and-weave pattern pop?
To help you find the right yarns for your weaving projects, we've put together a free eBook, Hand Weaving Supplies: A Guide to Choosing, Designing, and Weaving with Yarn. You'll learn from Madelyn van der Hoogt how to figure your yarn needs for a project, so you don't run out of that lovely yarn at the wrong moment. Marilyn Murphy gives loads of pointers for designing and weaving with a new yarn, together with a scarf pattern that you can use with some scrumptious yarn in your stash. The eBook also includes the Weaver's Guide to Yarn, with sett information for the many popular weaving yarns plus instructions for determining sett, a reed substitution chart, formulas for metric conversion, and a directory of grists and setts for using knitting yarns in weaving. It's a resource you'll want to keep handy in your weaving studio.
Whether you want to weave from a recipe or whip up a frothy creation from your own imagination, knowing how to choose and design with yarn will make you a happier, more successful handweaver. When you choose the right weaving supplies, you'll be well on your way to producing just the fabric you want.