Hi, I am new to this list and I try to find a group that matches my personal interests. At the moment I am working on a project about handspun material in handwoven fabric. I have tried to find some new ideas but I got stuck soon. As spinning and weaving is a timeconsuming thing I think you should use it for special purposes. There are abviously several possiblities:

1. overall effects due to colour and material blending like tweed,

2. spaced use to give  structural effects

3. spaced use to give colour effects

3. high twist yarns leading to crepeeffects

Does anybody have to add other ideas?

Greetings Felizitas


Aunt Janet (not verified)

I'm not sure what your question is here, Felzitas.  In what projectw would one use handspun yarns?  Well, you are right that they are special, but I think all handwoven articles are also special.  I'm working on a rug with all handspun wool weft in plain weave stripes.  Next rug will also be all handspun weft in double weave stripes, colors on one side neutrals on the other side.  When the rugs come off the loom, I'm planning a set of dish towels.  I'll use commercial cotton for the warp with my handspun cottons in the weft.

I've used my tightly spun wool yarns in backstrap bands, warp and weft.  I've used merino, Romney, Coopworth and other breeds.  The merino made a shiny smooth band.  The romney made a very sturdy belt..  These are overspun in the plied yarn to make them firm enough to hold up to the rigors of backstrap, and not get sticky sheds.  The less hard spun alpaca that I tried on backstrap wouldn't open sheds after an inch of hairy weaving.

I've woven ruanas with all handspun yarns, blankets, pillow tops.  My niece made some cute mini skirts made with fabric I wove of handspun, hand woven  We are planning to collaborate on clothing in the future.

So, what are you planning to weave with your handspun yarns?

Aunt Janet

felizitas (not verified)

I am not planning for a certain project but I am looking for ideas to use handspun in general.If you are breeding sheep your interest is to use your own material. I like to spinn but I have to buy all the material. Spinning is a lot of work and that efford should be shown in the handwoven. Yesterday I looked trough the journal handwoven again and I found an articles that express what I mean. "Showing of novelity yarns". This is the same question as for handspun. What is the best way to use it making it worth. Hopefully that makes my question clearer. Felizitas


Caroline (not verified)

Felizitas, many of the wonderful handspun yarns that you see are not suitable for warp yarn, and some are too softly spun for weft even, having been designed for knitting. If you have a pretty textured yarn, you would not want to hide it in a twill fabric, so a plain weave would take advantage of its special characteristics. Is this what you mean?

You would also not want to use soft spun yarn in a fabric that will have to wear and wear. Shawls and scarves need to be soft, as do baby garments, but bags, belts and most outwear clothing are better made from harder wearing and tighter spun yarns. You would need to spin them worsted style rather than woolen.

Different breeds of sheep produce differing grades of fleece, some more useful for some purposes than others. Sampling, reading up, then more sampling will help you here, as would joining a couple of spinning groups, where you have spinners, weavers and knitters to learn from.

Experience will help you make appropriate decisions, but please don't stop asking questions - sooner or later someone comes along with just the information you are looking for!

Hope this helps a bit!

cheers, Caroline

felizitas (not verified)

"If you have a pretty textured yarn, you would not want to hide it in a twill fabric, so a plain weave would take advantage of its special characteristics. Is this what you mean?" Thats it.

I have thought about the question that not all yarns are suitable as warp and I could mention the different use of woolen and worsted. Thank you so far.




bluetartan (not verified)


I think Caroline and AuntJanet have mentioned some very important points concerning handspun use. Yes you can treat handspun as a novelty yarn combined with commercial yarns or you can create a project using just handspun which yes is different and special if you like from commercial though it will in the end produce a product to hopefully be used and enjoyed of itself. This is the value.

The user will appreciate it or not, this is up to the user. One would hope the recipient of a handspun handwoven article could know all the hours of effort it takes to create the product but this often is just known by the creator. What the user will appreciate is the feel and the look or some other reason which is not up to us. Appreciation not always translated into price the user is willing to pay. Just know when you have made a product with love/passion for what you do it will be appreciated, this is the best payback for your efforts. 

May this be of some assistance to your research.


felizitas (not verified)

The point is: can I create something special with handwoven yarns which I cannot achieve with commercial. Handspun can be used as effect or for the entire project. I am not thinking of selling but a nonweaver/nonhandspinner should not just think, Oh its handspun and handwoven to make it precious but the effect itself should make it worth.

I think discussing with you brings me further and let me foccus more on  general facts than I did at the beginning. Thank you for that.



Aunt Janet (not verified)

I put some novelty yarn in a bumberet to interesting effect.  I used a lumpy bumpy yarn with other smooth handspun yarns.

I'm plannig to try weaving my supercoil yarns in the weft, hoping the coils will pop through the warp and look like beads.

I also have some nice brown boucle to weave for teddy bear fabric.

Cable some of your yarns and use them with fine yarns in thick and thin effect.

Use slubs and tail spun yarns in weft for fuzzy bumpy effects.

Pattern in the designer yarns between smooth yarns in stripes. 

Use slubby yarns in lace weaves, or wide sets.

Put beads on your handspun yarn, then weave with that.

I used overspun yarns to weave fringe in the middle of a ruana.


felizitas (not verified)

Wow, you have done a lot. If you use the special yarns in the weft do you use weft faced patterns?

I like the idea with the teddy material. At the moment I have done a series of 20 probes with overspun yarns.

Caroline (not verified)

Tapestry is a good technique for a special yarn - because its weft faced there is no warp yarn to take away attention, but not all special yarns look good in an all over pattern; sometimes less is more, particularly with multicoloured yarns. With many yarns just a couple of rows are enough to create interest in an otherwise boring fabric. The rows can be random, or they can be symetrical.

Try winding the yarns together around a book first as a sampler - it will give you a rough idea of how colours and textures go together. This is where the tiny looms like the weavette family, or potholder looms, even cardboard looms or bead looms come into their own, as making a sampler is quick and easy and does not take up much of your precious yarn.

There is a nice free weaving program called Weave Design that is very simple to use - you can design cloth, and print your project out, then use your sample loom to try it out. You don't need heddles if you have a basic loom; you will need the printout and a tapestry needle so you can darn the weft yarn over and under the warp yarn - that way you can experiment with all styles of patterns and yarns, not just plain weave and weft faced. Some combinations won't look very good, but you will never find the ones that look great if you don't experiment!

I don't have a url for Weave Design, but you should be able to find it easily using Google.

Good luck and have fun! You have a few suggestions now to play around with: please come back with photos so we can see how you are going and help with suggestions if you feel stuck. We are also here to cheer you on and encourage you when you have those down moments, we've been there, done that, too!

Aunt Janet (not verified)

I agree with Caroline.  You don't always need your weaving to have all designer yarn. I like to use it as accent.  In the bumberet it pops up in vertical stripes between collumns of plain weft.  So, no it doesn't have to be weft faced. 

What are your 20 probes of handspun?  I'm not familiar with your use of the workd probes here.

Aunt Janet

felizitas (not verified)

I started with the overspun single yarns in s and z in the weft. I attended last year a workshop where we did a lot of samples (sorry I got that for probes!) but all of them with commercial yars. I read Anne Fields book and wanted to try out the possibilities. So I set um ca. 3 m small warp and started to weave.

I will post some pictures later that day.

Caroline (not verified)

Felizitas, it would be great to see photos!

Anne Field? Were you trying out Collapse Weave? That would be very interesting! I have her book, perhaps this is the push I need to get me going!

There is a lot of room for experimentation with collapse weave. Did you try felting any of it? Were there any yarns that worked much better than others? Most commercial wool here in Australia is pre-shrunk, and felt-proof, and we do not have the wide variety of weaving yarn found in the States, so we have to learn to adapt and substitute too.

I am spinning my handspun to be used for weaving, but as I am spinning much finer than I would for knitting as well as much tighter, it is taking such a long time. I also prefer spinning with a spindle, which can take a bit longer too, but its so much easier to control the amount of overspin I need to put in. I'm learning a whole new technique for spinning weaving yarn, particularly for warp. I know I can spin fine enough, its keeping the yarn strong thats the trick, which is where the purpose for what the yarn will be used for becomes important, as that influences the fibre you choose, and how its prepared.

Aunt Janet is our resident champion spinner and very knowledgeable.

felizitas (not verified)

I promised to add some pictures. I am not sure if this is the place to post them.

Maybe you can tell me if there is a better place. The warp direction is horizontal! The pictures should be turned around.

I used 28/2  commercial merino in the warp and tried to overspun white and red wool, ca. 65000 m / kg. The blue is some tweed handspun. I used twill. Many samles deal with the difference of s and z, sett ...




Caroline (not verified)

Thats great Felizitas!  Very interesting! I'm sure others would be interested in seeing your work as well. You can add a project on the projects page ( the tab is at the top of this page), and you can put lots of photos up there - they can also be up to 2 Mb in size, so we can get a real closeup view of how the fabric is constructed. 

To find out how that works select a project, then click on the photo, it should come up in another window, and if you click on it again you get the close-up view.

You really having me thinking about this, as I have handspun singles that I can soon run through the spinner again if necessary, and some unshrinkable, unfeltable commercial 2 ply wool for warp. I have seen collapse weave done with wool and cotton in white, which looked very classy, but I love the colour and textures you can get using different yarns, and for samples I think colour would work better.

felizitas (not verified)

I have done several shawls with wool and cotton and there is still a project waiting to be done. I had a lot of experiments to get the right feeling how my washing mashing can be used for felting. I am in a German  internet group. The aim of this group is to select a subject and to weave samles and to distribute them amoung the members. So every year I get about 16 samples! We do not discuss a lot, you can ask questions. The great thing is the exchange and to feel the different fabrics. This year we have voted for deflected doubleweave and I will use this for differential shrinkage, wool and cotton again.

But here I was "just" interested in the use of overspun to get collapse, skrinkling(?) effects and it was nice to see thats possible. I have ordered a lace whorl and bobbin for my spinning wheel. When I get the stuff I will try more.  

The next step will be to try paper spinning. I have seen that with japanese kozo paper. Again there is not much literature around. I am not going to be an expert on any of those techniques but the aim is to sho the possibilities to combine the wheel with the loom.


Caroline (not verified)

There is a member of Weavolution, in either Belgium or The Netherlands, who has done some experimenting with paper spinning and weaving using tissue paper as well as newspaper and magazines. Her id is Jeannine, so you could message her, as I cannot find the thread where we talked about paper spinning. She also has a blog here:


She is not the only person who has spun with paper on here, but it was probably  9 months ago when we were talking about it, so the threads are well buried! She may remember who else has done this technique and how it was spun. Some people use spindles but I think she used her wheel.

Your exchanges sound interesting, but what a pity there are no discussions on technique!

jeannine (not verified)

thank you Caroline for remembering this. I found the link to the thread by running a general search on paper.

www.weavolution.com/node/4090  It was some time ago.look for post 10 and 13(esmecat) ,about spinning tissues.  I  have used my spindle to spin the paper of some magezines.It was rather time consuming so I did no more than an experiment.



felizitas (not verified)

Jeannine, doing your experiments, did you find a paper that was more suitable than others?

I have seen there is Kozo Japanese paper in 100% down to 10%. Its very expensive.


Aunt Janet (not verified)

I have done a little bit of paper spinning.  I did some wrapping paper with bright colors.  I have also spun kozo.  Kozo is great.  Handmade papers with long fibers work very well.  They will hold together better for weaving, too.  The wrapping paper broke easily and the kozo held together great.  You can make the Kozo yarn quite thin too. 


jeannine (not verified)

I have worked on a trial and error base.As newspaper is not strong enough when wet I then tried several publicitymagazines and folders. Some  quality of the paper is better, other is as weak as newspaper. I guess that tissuepaper with a high amount of cellulose fibers is also very suitable. I took the most colorfull page for a playfull effect.

Here in Belgium I have never seen Kozo paper.Just saw how it was made in a documentary about Japanese crafts on televison long time ago.I don't have time to do more experiments right now.

felizitas (not verified)

I have done my first experiments with newspaper. I cut it zig-zag into stripes . I could spin it dry, but it was better humid. A certain humidity made it smooth and let it twist together  well. At the turning points it was difficult. I would have liked this spots dryer. Anyway I got a nice yarn and use a left over warp for 10 x 20 cm fabric.                     

Aunt Janet (not verified)

That looks good.  What was the warp material?  What would be a good use for woven paper cloth?

felizitas (not verified)

The warp is Splytex. For the moment I cannot remember the count, but it is suitable for rugs, carpets ... The material is quite stiff. But it was easy weaving. No braking yarns.

Group Audience