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Yarn Study Group Resources

Between weave-alongs, I offer the opportunity to gather on a weekly basis to talk about yarn as it relates to weaving. Each week we have a topic that I cover at the top of the hour. Below is a list of each week’s topic and the associated resources and other resources mentioned during the conversation.   I’ll update the page after each session.

Study Guide: A Weaver’s Guide To Yarn


Preference and Introduction of A Weaver’s Guide to Yarn for more information about how I approached writing this book.

Other Resources Mentioned 

Evaluating Yarn for Warp (Yarnworker YouTube video)

Full On Coasters Pattern

December 2018 Newsletter that shows some Bin of Misconception projects. This was the “post” that eluded me.

The Leavings of Weaving, Winter 2017 Knitty column featuring the Thrums Buns

Raw Materials by Stephany Wilkes

Vanishing Fleece by Clara Parks




wraps examples
The wraps on the left are wrapped using very little tension. The ones on the right are wrapped under tight tension.

See pages 10-13 in A Weaver’s Guide to Yarn

General Resources

Meet the Sett Checker (blog post, explains the process of using wraps to determine sett)

Yarn Substitutions (blog post)

The Weaver’s Trifecta: Yarn, Sett, Beat (blog post)

Take-Up, Shrinkage, and Elasticity (blog post)

Getting Multiple Setts from a Rigid Heddle Reed (blog post)

Guesstimating Sett a Case Study and excerpt from Weaving 301 and Summer 2020 Design-Along. If you haven’t already done so, you can enroll for the design-along for free using this private link):

Other Resources Mentioned 

The Xenakis Technique by David Xenakis available for free on the XRX website

Weaving With There Rigid Heddles by Rev, David B McKinney

Textures and Patterns for the Rigid Heddle Loom by Betty Linn Davenport (referenced page 67)

Gift from the Hills: Miss Lucy Morgan’s story of her unique Penland School with LeGette Blythe

Winter Weave-Along Information



See page 13 in A Weaver’s Guide to Yarn

General Resources

Many of the resources from our last session are relevant to today’s session.

Other Resources Mentioned

Sett’s Effects(blog post)

sett checker with DK weight yarn
This is a cellulose based DK weight yarn on a sett checker. It is sett a little open in an 8, somewhat balanced in a 10, and close in a 12. All of these setts are usable depending on your structure, weft choice, and beat.



See page 15 in A Weaver’s Guide to Yarn

General Resources

Evaluating Yarns for Warp (YouTube video)

Other Resources Mentioned 

Take-Up, Shrinkage, and Elasticity (blog post)

Weaving for Wee Ones (Blog Post) I’d consider this advise light, not a particular deep dive into the subject.



See page 16 in A Weaver’s Guide to Yarn

Note: This is a general conversation about yarn content and considerations when selecting warp yarns. We will dive deeper into specific fibers and construction types at a later date.

General Resources

Woolen (upper left) and worsted (lower right) or as I like to call them fuzzy and smooth, are the classic yin and yang of the yarn world. Between these two extremes are many variations that we will explore more in the style chapter. 

woolen and worsted

Yarns that are tightly plied and smooth are traditionally thought of as good weaving yarns. Tender, loosely plied, or softly spun yarns are often shunned. There is a trade-off between these two extremes. You want yarn that will be strong, but you may also want it to be pliable. Your choice depends on your end use. Shown here are a singles (left), low 2-ply twist (center), hight 3-ply twist (right).

single, low and high ply twist

Other Resources Mentioned 

I posted this in an earlier session. It highlights how elasticity can affect your choices. Take-Up, Shrinkage, and Elasticity (blog post)

Knitty column that outlined my sampling approach before the Swatch Maker Looms appeared on the scene. How to Make Great Cloth, scroll down to the “Sampling” section.


During our design seminar last summer we looked at an excerpt from Weaving 301 that walked through setting a chainette yarn. (I incorrectly called it a “cabled” yarn, see below.) It highlights some of the ways a yarn’s style can play out.

Cabled vs Chainette: A cabled yarn in handspinning terms is a yarn plied from two plied yarns. (From a yarn manufacturing perspective, they apply this same methodology in a very precise way to create a yarn that take on a more spiraled appearance. It is sometimes called a corded yarn for this reason.) Berroco Summer Silk is not this, it is a chainette construction which is a much more descriptive term a yarn that is machine knit in a tube-like form. I need to dust off my spinner’s speak!



See page 16 in A Weaver’s Guide to Yarn

General Resources

When To Use Which Finish (blog post)

Other Resources Mentioned

Packing Material (blog post)


March 26: Choosing Yarns For Weft

See page 17 in A Weaver’s Guide to Yarn

Shown here from left to right: Same warp yarn sett at 12, 10, and 8 e.p.i. Each one is woven with a different yarn and beat to create three unique fabrics.

three swatches showing various wefts on various setts using the same warp yarn

Other resources mentioned:

Geeking Out: Wool Yarn (blog post) includes some information on Superwash. Also see page 66 of A Weaver’s Guide to Yarn.


April 9: Color Vocabulary

See page 18-19 in A Weaver’s Guide to Yarn

General Resources

Printable color wheel from page 18.

Here are a few color theory resources. Note the Amazon links are not affiliate links, I don’t get a kickback;) If you have a favorite independent book seller check to see if they have these books in stock.

Pages 19-20 of Weaving Made Easy show the way various hues, tints and tone to increase or decrease value contrast. (The originals are now in the Denver Museum of Art!)

The book I learned most of my color theory and application from Color and Fiber by Patricia Lambert, Barbara Staepelaere, and Mary G. Fry. It is out of print, but you can find used copies on the internet.

A seminal book on color theory is Interaction of Color by Josef Albers, the husband of Anni Albers the celebrated weaver.

Although geared toward the knitting, spinning dyer, Dyeing to Spin & Knit by Felicia Lo has an excellent chapter on understanding color complete with yarn wraps that you can envision as warps.

Perhaps the seminal modern color theory expert when it comes to weaving is Tien Chiu of Warp & Weave. Her classes while focused on the floor loom weaver and the use of fine yarns are easily applied to the rigid-heddle weaver.

Other Resources Mentioned

Ghost Ranch Scarf

Weaving Iridescence by Bobbie Irwin

Gloria Carrico, who teaches weaving at Wester Kentucky University and is participant in the study group, sent me her shared her color slides to share with the group. They have some nice visuals that go along with the definitions A Weaver’s Guide to Yarn.

May 21: Color in Practice

See page 21-22 in A Weaver’s Guide to Yarn

General Resources

“In visual perception a color is almost never seen as it really is—as it physically is. This fact makes color the most relative medium in art.” –Josef Albers (Husand of Anni Albers), Interaction of Color

Swatches from right to left in same sized solid warp and variegated weft in a sett of 8, 10, and 12.

Same swatches fulled.


Other Resources Mentioned

Twill Be Done Weave-Along lesson on reading a weaving draft

Swatching Structures Other Than Plain Weave (blog post)

Warp and Weave Tien Chiu’s website

Warp & Weft A Conversation About Color with Cameron Taylor-Brown, a WEBS event

Amy D. McKnight just dropped a load of videos on 3 shed twills on her YouTube channel. Three-shed twill are in the air!

May 27: Weft Color Choices

This information isn’t in the guide, but I felt like before we left our discussion about color we should specifically talk about color considerations when selecting weft yarns.

These are the swatches from our Variegated Yarn Challenge. They are a good example of how color choices play out in the weft. Each swatch is woven using the same warp in a different sett using a weft of differing weights and values relative to the warp and each other.

From left to right: Warp yarn doubled in an 8-dent for a sett of 16, woven with a lace-weight, low value contrast weft; a sett of 10 woven with a fingering-weight, medium value contrast weft; a sett of 12 woven with a high contrast, lace-weight, high contrast weft.

All of these swatches have potential it is just a matter of how you want your yarn to read. High contrast tends to produce more drama, a medium contrast puts the focus on the warp yarns, and low contrast creates a more etherial color relationship.

Here are the same swatches with the saturation removed so you can see the value contrast a little better.

Here is how this plays out in a balanced weave. These are swatches from the Ruana Weave-Along

October 14: Decoding Yarn Information

See page 28-29 in A Weaver’s Guide to Yarn

This is a wrap up of the Selection chapter. I’ll talk briefly about deciphering information in a weaving pattern and yarn substitution.

Here is an example I’ll be talking about from page 55 of Handwoven Home. These are the yarn specs for the Linen and Lace Cafe Curtains.

Warp: 4-ply DK-weight, viscose-linen blend (1,409 yd [1,288 m]/lb: 882 yd [807 m]; indigo blue.

Shown in Classic Elite Firefly (75% viscose/25% linen; 155 yd [142m]/3 oz [50g] skein): #7793 Denim.


Geeking Out: Yarn Substitutions

Liz Gipson Widgets
terms to know