Learning to speak yarn

We’ve all done it, walked into an LYS or stumbled across a yarnie website and immediately been drawn to the color (or colors) of certain yarn. From that moment we know we have to have something made out of that yarn, but when you take it home and knit, sometimes the yarn just doesn’t seem right.

There are sock yarns, sweater yarns, shawl yarns on that wall, but all I can think about right now is that I need ALL THE COLOURS.

There are sock yarns, sweater yarns, shawl yarns on that wall, but all I can think about right now is that I need ALL THE COLOURS.

The sweater that sacks out, or the shawl that just won’t block.  The yarn seemed so perfect in the store, and now it’s just so blah in the finished object.

The best way to avoid this sort of mess it to learn about what’s behind the color, and learn how to speak yarn.  By speaking yarn, I mean to know by looking at the fiber content, the spin, the ply and the finishing, what kind of project will work best for that yarn.

Over the next couple of months, we will be taking you through some of the key characteristics of major fibers and yarns, as well as discussing Georgian Bay Fibre Co. yarns directly to figure out what each yarn is best suited to, and what you may want to consider before you buy that sweater quantity or single skein of something new.

This series has been inspired by a number of things, including a discussion of the BFL prickle on the Ravelry boards and yesterday’s announcement about the decision to discontinue Kilcoursie DK, Aran and Pengallie Fingering.  By the time the new superwash base is announced in mid-May you will know exactly why it was chosen and how it fits into the Georgian Bay Fibre Co. yarn family.

First up will be a post about sheep, because if you learn about the type of sheep that your yarn is coming from, you will begin to see how different breeds bring very different qualities to their yarns.

I hope you are excited about this series, and if you have any particular questions you want to make sure we answer, please leave a note in the comments section and we will do our best to work it into the series.


To start us off, I'm going to give a little example of when choosing a yarn for color, instead of its qualities, didn't work out well for me.

If you are viewing this on a blog reader, go over to the original post to scroll through the gallery.

For the full story about those crazy mittens, you can read the post about these yarns at  Lone/Maple Studio.