As a crochet instructor, I’ve frequently discussed yarn twist with my students. Many commercial yarns are S-plied, which is great for knitting, but some crochet students struggle with their yarn untwisting as they crochet with it. Although Z-twist singles are pretty easy to find, being able to make my own Z-plied yarn was the driving force behind learning to spin.
Spinning is now what I do to procrastinate, and the hum of my little Electric Eel Wheel Nano is my new favorite white noise. But I also love handspinning because I get to paint with fiber. My favorite spinning projects are those in which I combine mill-ends or bits and bobs or leftovers to create a cohesive, truly one-of-a-kind yarn. As a bonus, I get to crochet it into a fabulous project. Spun for my own needs, this Z-plied handspun doesn’t untwist when I crochet.
I started making tapestries, landscapes of color that simply demand to be hung on the wall. The linen stitch, composed of single crochets and chain-one spaces, is my preferred stitch for crocheting handspun tapestries. It creates a delightfully woven-looking textile that allows the perfectly imperfect irregularities of handspun yarn to shine.
I more than once considered adding buttons to this particular tapestry so I could wear it as a cowl instead of framing it. However, the beauty of this display method is that I could do exactly that; it’s easily removed from the frame. Does that make it wearable art? Sure! But then, that’s what many of our fiber-art projects are already.
I went into this project with purpose and imagination, blending my fibers at the wheel by holding more than one fiber in my drafting hand at a time. I really had fun blending from teal to orange with delightful little slubs of texture using art batts. I removed some of the darker colors in the Gothic Pumpkin batt, leaving some of the purple but taking out most of the black. I then split each color evenly, weighing them to be sure, and then divided those by half again so that I had four quarters of a batt.
I added Firestar into the mix randomly, occasionally allowing it to spin alone for more variety in the tonal sections. When I started adding in the Verdigris batt, I began with a smaller ratio of batt to roving and slowly increased it until I was using more batt than roving, fading the last of the roving out as I moved into the Gothic Pumpkin batt. I continued this process throughout both singles.
I blended at the wheel in the following order, creating two S-twist singles:
- ¼ Dark Aqua wool roving + Teal Firestar
- ¼ Dark Aqua wool roving + ¼ Verdigris batt
- ¼ Verdigris batt + ¼ Gothic Pumpkin batt
- ¼ Gothic Pumpkin batt + ¼ Carrot Orange wool roving
- ¼ Carrot Orange wool roving + Copper Firestar
After spinning the singles, I combined them into Z-plied gradient yarn, allowing the colors to shift and blend as they appeared during the plying. You could, of course, tweak it a bit by removing sections of one singles if the colors seem to be getting too far away from each other, but since this is really just a shift through two colors, I didn’t find that to be necessary.
Crochet Your Own
For complete project instructions on how to crochet Connie's vibrant handspun crochet tapestry, download the Summer 2021 issue of Spin Off. Connie even includes instructions for how to finish and mount the tapestry to make your own beautiful crochet wall art!
Connie Lee Lynch is a crochet instructor certified by the Craft Yarn Council and has been designing since 2009, delighting in exploring texture and color inspired by nature and the scenery that surrounds us. As an Army wife, Connie moves with her family every few years, constantly finding new inspiration and sprinkling her love for the fiber arts behind her as she goes! You can find her online at crochetcetera.com as well as on Ravelry.