Friday, 16 September 2011

Adventures in Paperland - Paper Yarn

Last week I came across a You Tube video which showed you how to make paper yarn.  I have to say this is not the first time I have visited this technique but I think it was the drop spindle that put me off.  My attempts without the spindle have been so, so, I twist the strip of paper between my figures and it becomes a loose yarn with absolutely no integrity.  Interesting none the less.

I would say the last time I researched and experimented with paper yarn was about 2 years ago.  I found it frustrating that I couldn't actually do what I wanted to do with it, namely crochet or knit and eventually bought some from PaperPhine, which is absolutely gorgeous.

The way I work when I experiment is to try not to invest in new tools and materials, if possible. No, I look around at what I have and try and re-create something similar.  So, after a little research, I found you could make a drop spindle using a pencil with a rubber, a small hook (like those used for the old style net curtain wires) and some corrugated cardboard).  I know this sounds a bit like Blue Peter, but yes, these are all things that I have, not necessarily lying around the house there was a trip to the shed as well.

I cut a circular disc in some corrugated cardboard, and small nick in the centre and pushed the pencil through, success.  But then when I tried to screw the hook into the rubber it all fell apart. Blast!  Back to the drawing board.  Again, I cut a circle of card, but this time I used a barbecue stick from a previous workshop which had some wire attached at the top in the form of a loop.

The next challenge was to master the technique.  The way the lady in the video demonstrated it was to roll the spindle on her thigh to get it spinning.  Mmm it looked way too visually dramatic for my liking and a lot of wasted energy.  My technique was to twist the stick at the bottom to get it spinning and bingo I was spinning my first bit of yarn.  This attempt was better but a little hit or miss.  The spindle wasn't stable enough and I found it was frustrating having to thread the paper strips through the loop at the top.

Looking at the shop bought drop spindles I found they are usually made of wood.  This led me to the conclusion that the spindle needed the weight to function effectively..  I needed to duplicate this in some way.  So the final spindle was made using an old hard back book cover (very fitting), a piece of wooden dowling and a curtain hook.  Success!

First batch was between a 4ply and double knit thickness.  So, I had a play using a flower loom.  What a wonderful effect it created.  Very difficult to work with, snapped a few times.  I even stitched it using the yarn.  I didn't like the stark whiteness though.

Next batch, I managed to spin a 2ply or size 10 crochet thread.  This time I changed the colour of the yarn with coffee to soften it.  Once I had spun a small batch, I successfully crocheted with it, although it did snap a couple of times.  This doesn't seem to make much of a difference as it doesn't unravel like conventional wool or yarn.

Conclusion:  I am happy that I have discovered another way to re-use paper which can be incorporated into my creative toolbox.  If I can get it fine enough I would love to attempt to wind it on a shuttle and do some tatting..... time will tell.


Seba Dizajn said...

The paper yarn looks fabulous, am almost tempted to give is a go myself. A possible winter project... thanks for sharing your methods here & the pencil, rubber & hook spindle sound perfect to me!

Creative_take said...

Looks brilliant, can't wait to see it in the 'flesh' Great images too must have a play!

Rhymes With Magic said...

How did you prepare your paper for spinning? What size was it?

She loves a good yarn said...

Just read this post and all I could say was good grief! Then had to explain to DH the reason for this comment and he said something that I cannot type! What a fantastic ue of paper!

Greenby Nature said...

Apart from cutting the paper into strips there is no other preparation needed.