Use Your Stash: Using Knitting Yarns for Weaving

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If you’re a knitter looking to get into weaving, you might think you need to buy yarn specifically made for weaving. There are a lot of benefits to doing that: It’s much easier to warp from a cone than from a hank, for example, and with many more yards of yarn on the average cone than in the average skein, you can warp the whole loom without tying on a new length of yarn. But with the volume and variety of knitting yarns on the market (and the volume and variety of yarns located in many knitters’ stashes), there’s no reason not to make almost any yarn work for weaving.

Balls of Colored Yarn

Knitting yarns will fall into two categories: yarns suitable for the warp and yarns suitable for the weft. While just about any yarn can be used for the weft, there are some pretty specific requirements for what yarn would make a good warp.

CHOOSING A WARP YARN

THE FIRST, AND POSSIBLY THE MOST IMPORTANT FACTOR, IS STRENGTH.
A warp yarn needs to be strong enough to hold up under the tension of the loom. Fortunately, this is pretty easy to test. Take your desired warp yarn in both hands and give it a sharp tug. If it breaks, it’s probably not strong enough for a warp.If you can pull fairly hard and it still won’t break, it’ll probably hold up just fine. Most commercially available multi-ply wool yarns do OK as warp, as do most varieties of cottons, silksand linens. Most single-ply yarns are simply not strong enough.

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