Who among us has not heard the siren call of fancy yarns, whether luscious silk or some hand-dyed or textured creation? My siren call came before I even learned to weave. Interweave’s Marilyn Murphy invited me to the 1996 Convergence conference, determined to get me hooked on weaving. In the Lunatic Fringe Yarns booth was a gorgous handpainted novelty warp, full of slub and ribbon yarns. I bought it and resolved then and there to become a weaver.
A few years later, I went to the Weavers’ School, wove some practice projects, and then warped up with that amazing novelty yarn, ready to weave a masterpiece. Unfortunately, I had somehow decided that the key to good selvedges was to crank up the warp tension until the loom groaned. “Zing!” went the ribbon yarns as they raveled. I also didn’t think about using a larger-dent reed to avoid abrasion. “Snap!” went the slub yarns as they caught and tore. I finished weaving the shawl only through the miracle of Fray Check (would that I had stock in that company), only to find that the stiff linen weft I had chosen made it more suitable for a dresser scarf than a garment. All in all, it was AFGE (another “fabulous” growing experience).
The January/February 2017 issue of Handwoven explores the possibilities of stress-free weaving with fancy yarns and the many ways they can kickstart our creativity. Tom Knisely brings us loads of fpractical tips and a charming scarf you’d never guess was huck, Deb Essen tells us how to turn a draft for thrifty novelty patterning, and Judith Shangold shares ideas for spectacular garment designs in simple cloth. Our fancy projects showcase the yarns, from Diane de Souza’s elegant white-on-white overshot scarf to Debbi Rutherford’s glowing name draft and Liz Moncrief’s satin bamboo towels. (Who would have thought?) I hope these projects inspire you to get fancy, too!