Advice Column: Ask Experienced Weavers

Dear EW,

Thank you so much to Amelia, Kristin and Sue for the advice regarding books for learning how to weave! I was happy to hear that my choice of books (D. Chandler, Learning How to Weave) was highly recommended by all! Also recommended were "The Big Book of Weaving" by Laila Lundell and a magazine called Handwoven. Definitely two good things for me to check out! Thanks!

So, I think I've got all my weaving "hardware" under control. But I could really use some advice about the "software" - the yarn.

Can you recommend some places - brick & mortar chain stores and/or online stores - where I could shop? Are there certain types and/or certain brands you recommend? Or maybe ones that you would encourage me to avoid? ;)

Thanks so much for your advice! :)

Gwen

top photo credit: snikrap

Post a comment 8 comments:

Sue said...

I'm from the Northeast, so I tend to shop at stores that I sometimes can visit in person. My two favorites are Halcyon Yarn and WEBS. I've also purchased yarn from Earthguild and Yarn Barn.

When I was just starting to weave, I bought a giant amount of yarn from RM Yarns because it was inexpensive and I could use it for sampling without feeling like I was spending too much.

Sorry I can't figure out how to put links in these comments!

If you don't want to wait for mail order, I think some people use crochet cotton from craft stores. I know you have to be cautious using knitting yarn for warp because it can stretch or break....and so far I haven't figured out how to use it successfully - so no advice from me on that!

Good luck!!

AmeliaSews said...

Gwen,

William had a chance to go to The Yarn Barn in Lawrence, KS when he was on a business trip and was really impressed with their selection and prices. I know they have an online store, but since we didn't order I don't know how their shipping rates are. We also have ordered from Camilla Valley Farm. Good prices, nice quality yarn, but pricey shipping (they're in Canada).

If you are interested in using cotton for a beginning project, it seems to be more sturdy for warp- the towels William made at Christmas used 16/2 cotton - very fine, lovely hand when woven, but 730 or so warp ends for a 25 inch wide towel. He is now working on some Dornick twill towels using 8/2 cotton, which is heavier. Less warp ends, weaves up fast. The towels are thicker, but I don't think offensively so. (It's hard to tell until they're off the loom and washed).

Looking forward to seeing what you decide to start with

skiingweaver said...

Hello there Gwen! I have much the same advice as Sue, probably because I'm in the same area as her. I like Webs ( http://www.yarn.com ), very much, and they give discounts when you order larger volumes of yarn. (And their store is fantastic, I about hit the floor the first time I went there, lol! Floor to ceiling yarn!!) They carry mill-end yarns sometimes, too, very very low amounts, so you can experiment and mess up as much as you want without feeling guilty... Halcyon carries lovely yarn and has great service, but is definitely pricey. I like Earth Guild yarns, too.(Used 'em in my piece in the current issue of Handwoven magazine!)

Wool might be a nice place to start because it's very forgiving - bumpy selvedges (edges) and uneven beating tends to come out in the wash. My daughter just wove her first complete piece on her little rigid heddle loom using Harrisville wool yarn [also available at Webs] - to my eye it looked like a hot mess (lol) on the loom, but after we soaked it in the sink and let it dry, it's actually quite nice!

Have fun!

skiingweaver said...

(I meant very low prices on those mill ends at Webs, whoops, didn't really make sense the way I said it!)

Lynnette said...

Hi there, not sure about this... but the yarn you photographed looks like knitting yarn. Although it can be used, it is really not ideal for weaving as warp, it is too springy and makes getting even tension very difficult. I'm in Canada, so my sources probably won't work well for you, but I can recommend Treenway Silks if your in that market.

Leigh said...

Hi Gwen,

Thanks for visiting my blog and leaving a comment.

I wholeheartedly agree with the books. As for yarns, I like WEBS too - try this for a link - www.yarn.com. I've gotten a lot of my weaving yarns there. I'm on a tight budget but they have great sales and clearance yarns.

Have you joined a local guild yet? Sometimes you can find more info on local sources, or even some internal guild sales.

Susan said...

Hi Gwen, Thanks for stopping by my blog Thrums. I would recommend that you buy weaving yarns on cones. They are much more suitable for weaving due to the way they are spun and are cheaper to buy overall.
Google Leclerc looms and at their main page click on Brassard yarns. They are a French Canadian weaving yarn business and have an amazing yarn sample book that you can order for $13.00 Canadian. From that you will see all the colours and the yarns sizes you can get and so help you to plan projects. The Canadian $ is less than your right now and so ordering from there will be cheaper.
Also, go to the Interweave Press web site and under 'weaving' search the additional info they list there and find the 'Master Yarn Size chart' It's a free download and will be immensely useful to you as you learn the sizes we use and you are planning projects. I refer to mine all the time.

All the best, Susan

Jane said...

Hi Gwen,

I love ordering from the Yarn Barn in Kansas. Their prices are very good, their customer service is outstanding, and their turn around for shipping time is fast.

My preference, however, is to go directly to our local yarn shops (LYS for short). I feel it's important to support them any way I can because they provide so much more than "just fiber." Most provide classes, expert advice, and a community of other weavers with whom to get acquainted.

Weave on -- I'm so excited for you!!!