A basic bouclé yarn is a 3-ply yarn with a core yarn, a singles for looping, and a binder yarn. In the video Building Blocks of Spinning, Sarah Anderson explains that bouclé means “to buckle” in French. Some fibers result in the large, open loops of a classic bouclé, while others collapse and form more textured bumps. Some spinners use commercial yarns for the core and binder and showcase the handspun in the looping yarn. Why make a bouclé yarn?
Great for adding texture in weaving or knitting.
The textured nature of bouclé obscures stitch patterns. Can be tough to knit with (or rip out).
Sarah advises using one of the slower whorls on your spinning wheel for plying. “Take your time and don’t rush,” she says.
A basic bouclé yarn consists of three plies. Photo by George Boe
Two Steps in Plying Bouclé Yarn
Plying Round One: Ply S. Maintain tension on the core and keep the twist built up in the core between the wheel and your hand. Let the looping yarn coil around the core yarn without forming large loops. Sarah says that the biggest mistake in bouclé is letting the looping yarn coils get too big. At this stage, your yarn will not look like a finished bouclé.
Plying Round Two: Ply Z. The hand that holds the first ply arranges the loops. The binder yarn anchors the coils of the first ply so the loops won’t slide.
Now you’re on your way to plying like a pro!
Originally published February 20, 2017; updated November 28, 2022.