What Do We Call Beginner Yarns?

the best makeshift yarn bowl…

Following PlyAway, I always come home renewed with lots of good ideas. Today, I wanted to talk about the term “art yarn.”

I had a great class with Devin Helmen this year. Devin has been spinning on spindles for more than thirty years. He is published in both Ply and Spin-Off magazines and has some great perspectives in the fiber world.

One of the things that we talked about in class was the use of the term “art yarn” to describe beginning yarns. Devin said, “The people who make art yarn use deliberate techniques.  It is demeaning to them when we call our mistakes art yarn.” Those who design art yarns have put years into mastering techniques that they apply in a certain way to get a certain result. We need to honor their efforts.

Well, this makes sense to me. And I’ve been calling beginner yarn art yarn for several years now, but it may be time to change that.

So, let’s have a conversation.  If we are reserving the term art yarn for deliberately designed yarns, what words and phrases can we use to celebrate beginner yarns?  Beginner yarns are important, imperfect though they may be. We want spinners to be proud of their first yarns because it marks the beginning of their journey as a spinner.

What words could we use to celebrate beginners without devaluing our experienced artists?

You can find Devin on Instagram under the handle figgythistle.

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2 comments on “What Do We Call Beginner Yarns?”

  1. Christine Long-Derks Reply

    What’s wrong with calling them “beginner yarn”? I really appreciate this discussion as most of my creations are true art yarns, with techniques I’ve spent a lot of time and effort practicing to achieve the results I’m aiming for.

    Also LOVE the shoe technique!!

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