Years and years of yarn

Yarn according to Britannica: Yarn, continuous strand of fibres grouped or twisted together and used to construct textile fabrics.

For how long have people been making yarn?

The oldest traces of yarn date back some 20,000 years. The first trace of a spindle dates back to 5,000 BC, followed by the spinning wheel around 4,000 BC.

People figured out that they could make yarn out of what plants, animals and insects offer (think of linen, cotton, wool and silk). Today, there are lots of different materials and substances used to produce yarn.

Milk yarn, anyone? It is actually possible to make yarn out of milk proteins. This was explored already in the 1930’s but it is only in more recent years that a method has been found that does not involve chemicals. It is also a way to make use of milk that is not suited for consumption and would just be wasted. You can read about the German company QMilk here, and watch this video about Anke Domaske, the designer and microbiologist behind this invention, or this video where she suggests that biopolymers could make also the electronics industry more sustainable in the future.

If weaving symbolises life and how life evolves, yarn making is the technology it builds on.

No matter what, we will continue making and using yarns.

As for myself, I have sometimes twisted different yarns – polyester, silk or cotton – for small projects. I like mixing colours, adding some yellow here, a bit of blue there, perhaps making a bracelet, perhaps just testing an idea, perhaps just for the fun.

I have always liked the idea of mixing hard metals with soft techniques. This year, my theme for the A to Z challenge is “Metal meets textile”. From A to Z, I talk about work with metal wire, textile techniques like crochet and knitting, show some pieces I’ve been working on, share some thoughts on metal, textile and jewellery. I hope that you’ll find something of interest to you!

14 thoughts on “Years and years of yarn

        • I’ve had a look online, it doesn’t seem that easy to find, and it’s also pretty expensive. One source I found so far is a shop on Etsy called Bellatrista, but I don’t know it from personal experience, and perhaps you can find others too. What I know is that if I read one more description and see one more close-up of how silky it is, there is a risk I’ll abandon metal wire altogether… 😉


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