Skein #35: Special Effect Yarn Produced with a Blend of Fibers

28.5 m 28 g 1000 m/kg
3 w/cm 8 w/in
Size Determination: Thick
Wool, silk and ingeo

Merino top, bombyx silk top, ingeo top

Reason for choice of this sample:
The white silk and blue ingeo are similar in size, lusture and texture. The neps in the silk are even an interesting addition to a color blend that would otherwise be a texture problem in a plain silk yarn.

Blue ingeo top from Carolina Homespun — San Francisco, California
Black Australian Merino top from Virginia Farm Woolworks — Annangrove, NSW, Australia
Bombyx silk top from LookChina — Cramerton, North Carolina.

Preparation for spinning
The blue ingeo and white silk were repeatedly picked and carded to a nearly uniform sky blue and made into small rolags. The black Merino required no preparation.

Equipment Used
Wool hand cards, cotton hand cards, wood dowel, flyer spinning wheel

Type of spinning
Short forward draft

Direction of Twist

Number of plies

Wet blocked

Suggested uses
This yarn is similar to popular knitting yarns, but the modest thick and thin is more practical than many. The sky-colored binder will show best in a simple pattern where the black Merino can be a solid backdrop, such as a plain knit bulky sweater or hat. Like the commercial yarns, it cannot withstand heavy use or regular laundering.


Maximum 54 points

Examiner 1: 45
Examiner 2: 45

Another special effect yarn is declared boring. I consider this a special effect because it's obviously not a traditional yarn. Maybe because the knitting stores are now full of this sort of thing, everybody thinks "special effect" must practically tap-dance across the table. I get pretty cranky on this point because nobody seems to want to talk about just what makes a yarn "special."

Examiner 1 "would have liked to have seen the focus of this yarn be the blend." Examiner 2 was less kind. I actually thought it was, I selected the commercial Merino top because it was the blackest, flattest thing I had. It vanishes into the background and what you see are the little specks of sky-colored binder. Also, there are three very different kinds of fiber in this yarn, two mixed together and one in another ply. I personally think that combining fibers by different plies is still a type of blending, but this is handspinning heresy.