Knitting Yarns and Weaving?

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Dear Tabby,

I’m a new weaver and I’ve been told you can’t use knitting yarns for weaving. I have a Cricket Loom and would really like to use some of my knitting yarn stash to weave.

–Uncertain

Dear Uncertain,

You can definitely use knitting yarns for weaving—with a few caveats.

You can use almost anything for the weft. The material (yarn/grass/plastic/paper) only needs to hold together long enough to be placed in the shed.

There are three main factors to keep in mind when choosing a yarn for warp.

First, it must be strong enough to sustain tension. To test for this, pull on the yarn. If it resists breakage, or breaks with a little “ping” it most likely will work for your warp. If the yarn just pulls apart easily, save this yarn for weft.

Especially on the rigid heddle loom, avoid yarns, such as a hairy mohair, that will be what I call “sticky”. In other words, you don’t want a yarn that will catch on its neighbors because you will be constantly having to clear the shed and be vigilant about unintentional floats.

The other factor in choosing yarns for warp, is choosing one that is not super stretchy, like an acrylic yarn. Again, you can use this yarn in the weft.

Have fun with your stash!

–Tabby

Schacht Spindle

Schacht Spindle Company, Inc. was founded during the back-to-earth movement of the late 1960's and its accompanying craft resurgence. Their first loom was a simple tapestry loom, a version which they still make today. Over nearly 50 years, Schacht has developed a broad range of high quality hand weaving and hand spinning tools, including their popular Cricket Loom and Ladybug Spinning wheel. Schacht’s mission is to create beautiful and well-designed products that enhance customers’ weaving and spinning experience through innovative problem solving, creative ideas, skilled woodworking and craftsmanship, and friendly, knowledgeable customer service. Schacht’s family owned business is located in Boulder, Colorado.