Chainette Yarn

Debbie Bliss. Paloma.

Every time I talk to my Granny about knitting in times of her youth, I realize how lucky we are. She grew up and lived most of her life in times of the Soviet Union when the stores, any stores, were empty and you couldn’t get such things as furniture/clothes, forget about yarn! I remember her stories how she was waiting for a friend to come from Moscow to bring her yarn – pink acrylic skeins, very rough and pure quality, but it didn’t matter, it was actual yarn that was enough for a scarf and a hat. She considered herself very lucky – most of the times, she was just unraveling old sweaters to reuse the yarn.

So, each new and unusual skein for me is the reminder to be grateful for such small and simple things in our life such as original and beautiful yarn that bring so much joy! And I love to celebrate it with yarn “photostories” πŸ™‚ One of my “fiber goals” for this year was to try unusual yarns, particularly the chainette yarn. It is quiet an unusual way to spun the fiber – the thread is basically a tube made of knit stitches, like a tiny i-cord.

Debbie Bliss. Paloma.

I have my precious skeins of cotton/silk blend by Rowan (that are waiting way too long to be turned into a sweater!) that are made using the similar technique, but very different from this Paloma alpaca/wool blend from Debbie Bliss. Rowan “flattened” the tube and wrapped it with thin silk thread; whether Paloma has a lot of volume and space inside the “tube”. Woolfolk yarn, that is on my must-try list, uses the similar technique to spun some of their gorgeous skeins.

Debbie Bliss. Paloma.

This technique creates a bulky yarn that knits incredibly fast, but the piece is so light Β and airy that it feel like it was knit in DK. I guess it happens thanks to all the air trapped inside the thread.

The exciting thing is that this kind of spun can be done at home! I had this idea for a long time – the tube thread can be made from a very thin (lace/fingering weight) yarn using the i-cord maker! It will take time, of course, but if you have lace weight yarn in your stash and are scared to cast on a garments with it, because it will take quiet a lot of time, you can turn it into bulky chainette skein that will be perfect for cozy sweaters and quick to knit accessories. To speed up the process check this incredible tutorialΒ  How To Knit I-Cord the Fast Way. How amazing is that?!

Debbie Bliss. Paloma.

I hope you are having a wonderful week and feel spring coming to your part of the world!

Debbie Bliss. Paloma.

Will see you at Yarn Along!


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17 Comments

  1. Thank you for linking to the video demonstrating making I-cord, Alina! That was terrific. I must get an I-cord maker now. And charge the drill! πŸ™‚

  2. What a lovely yarn, and that video for the embellish knit with the drill is genius!! I have an embellish knit, i will have to try that!!

    • I am glad you’ve found the link useful! I also have the embellished knit somewhere. I have an idea to try making i-cord on my knitting machine, I saw this technique on some website.

  3. That yarn is gorgeous! So lovely.

  4. What do you think you’ll make with this yarn? I’ve knit the hank I had into a hat, a few women at my yarn shop have knit it into gorgeous sweaters!

    • Actually, I’ve already finished the project. Won’t be able to post about it for awhile, but I am super happy with how it turned out!

  5. Very salutary reading about your Granny, Alina, and the hard times of her youth …. we take so much for granted nowadays, and it is good to be reminded that even something as basic as knitting yarn was hard to come by then. I’ve also been interested to read what you’ve said about chainette yarn. I have used some (Rowan pima yarn) and it was lovely to knit with and very soft and light to wear. But silly me, I’d never realised the process behind its making!

    • The interesting thing is at that times my Granny didn’t look at them as hard, because she really couldn’t compare it with anything else – the country’s border was closed and everybody around her was living exactly the same. But of course right now she understands how limited their world was in some aspects. And as for chainette yarn – it is possible to recreate something similar on the knitting machine, I think it is actually faster than with the i-cord maker.

  6. Although I was a little girl, I remember to those yarns used during the socialist era. It was impossible to buy a good quality skein, even if you could buy a little bit better skein, no way to get enough for a sweater or for something bigger. So we kids had really colorful striped and colorworked sweaters. But at the same time, there were yarn stores at every corner here in Hungary. It is still easy to find some terrible acrylic leftovers at flea markets.
    By the way, this yarn looks fantastic. I have never tried i-cord yarns, but always found them interesting. These ones would be great for some really big cowl.

    • I was also a little girl when the Soviet Union collapsed and the country was in the devastating state. I remember unraveling all these old sweaters with my Granny so I could have yarn for my craft class at school πŸ™‚ Yes, this yarn is wonderful for accessories – so light and warm.

  7. Such a good reminder to appreciate all the wonderful yarn we so easily have at our disposal! That yarn looks so interesting, would love to work with it one day.

    • You would enjoy it, Tahnee! Wonderful and very interesting fiber. I am definitely going to experiment and try to create i-cord yarn with my fingering stash!

  8. I love how the skein is cable-y and it looks so very very soft. Beautiful yarn and your square is lovely.

  9. I absolutely love this idea! I think that I have a few lace-weight yarns that would be perfect for this idea!! And then maybe I will actually turn them into something!

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