What is handspun yarn?
Before we get into the details of handspun yarn let us first look at spinning yarn in general. The spinning of yarn is a process where thread or yarn is made by drawing it out from lumps of fiber. The drawing process is done by pulling and twisting the fiber into long strands of yarn.
When early human civilizations started making yarn it would be done by hand, with a basic tool called a spindle. With the onset of hand-operated spinning wheels or charkha to automated industrial machines, the spinning of yarn has evolved.
So, we can say that handspun yarn is nothing, but yarn spun by hand using hand-operated tools or machineries like spindles or spinning wheels. If the yarn is made using semi-automated or fully automated machinery it is classified as machine or mill spun yarn.
Difference between handspun and mill-spun yarn?
The main difference as the names suggest is the process of how the yarn is made. One is done entirely by hand, with of course some basic tools and the other entirely by machines.
The second difference that’s quite distinctive would be the yarn itself. Handspun yarn being handmade is imperfect, and this rustic look gives it a unique character. Khadi is the perfect example that demonstrates the exclusive characteristics of handspun yarn.
Mill-spun yarn on the other hand is uniformly perfect.
Although in recent years there have been developments made to get ‘handspun like’ yarn from machines, which has been met with very little success for obvious reasons.
The third main difference would be the yarn count. In mill-spun yarn it is easier to distinguish the yarn count since machinery in the mill needs to be set to the desired yarn count output before it’s spun. This way yarn coming out of the mill will already have the count.
In handspun yarn, however, it is very difficult to distinguish the yarn count. Because it’s more of a free-style uneven, ununiform yarn. One solution that’s more or less accurate for handspun is a WPI tool. A WPI (wraps per inch) tool measures the thickness of yarn and helps in identifying yarn weights.
How much does handspun yarn cost?
These days hand spinning is more of a hobby or small-scale business that is starting to grow in popularity in recent years. Knitters, crocheters, weavers or makers, in general, take up spinning their own yarn because it gives them more control on the type of yarn they want for their project.
On the other hand, there are artisans who do not spin and are in search of handspun yarn and because of the inability to scale handspun production, it is usually priced higher than commercially produced mill-spun yarn.
The ease of customization is also more flexible with handspun yarn where spinners can incorporate certain elements in small volumes.
So, the demand, low production capabilities, and high customization potential make handspun yarn comparatively higher priced. But the most significant reason is the handmade aspect that always has greater value.
About Muezart Eri silk handspun collection
Hand spinning with a drop spindle is a tradition in villages of Meghalaya, the center of Eri silk. There is a predominant type of spinning practiced by weavers throughout this region which is the ancient slow method of spinning silk with a spindle or Takli.
The spindle is occasionally rotated by the right hand in order to wind the yarn on the spindle. Through this traditional method, an individual spinner can produce around 25-40g of yarn in a day.
Muezart partners with women spinners to produce a range of Eri silk handspun yarn that is suitable for hand knitting, weaving, crochet, or other crafts.
Eri silk being 100% natural is a great yarn for people who love to get their hands on knitting and crocheting projects all year round, whether you use the natural colour or naturally dyed yarns.