1. Ripped pieces of fabric (under 1/2 inch or 1 centimeter in width)
2. A very strong textured core yarn (like a linen/poly weaving warp thread, or hemp) - you will want a core that is rough so that the fabric doesn't slip off of it.
3. Intermediate wheel spinning skills and a basic knowledge of corespinning yarn.
Also keep in mind that this yarn will be overtwisted, and impossible to set. Which isn't a problem for us because we won't make knitting it into a sweater or socks. In fact, I have a very special project in mind for next week's Tutorial Tuesday using this gloriously overtwisted unset positively unknittable yarn. Just you wait and see how practical & functional such a yarn can be!
Let's begin! I purchased a couple vintage bedsheets and pillowcases at the thrift store for $2.99 each - and I cut the edges into 1/2 inch (1 cm) fringe for easy tearing. Old cotton tears easily, as does many silks. I recommend a thin fabric for this yarn. Thick fabric like tapestry, denim, and other sturdier fabrics don't work as well for spinning this style of yarn.
Once the fabric has been torn into strips, I like to roll it into a ball for easy spinning. It doesn't need to be perfect. Just having it in a ball helps it not get all tangled up when you are spinning with it. Also, keep all those little shredded yarns that tangle up all over the place. They add great texture and stability to the yarn.
To begin spinning, take your core thread and loop it thru your leader. Then begin spinning in a clockwise direction. Tie your fabric in a knot at the beginning of the core thread (since the fabric has nothing to attach to. We will work that end into our project next Tuesday. Then begin spinning the fabric so that it lays flat along the core and overlaps upon itself. You may get a kink in the fabric now and then, but it's okay. That adds texture. Just make sure you keep a strong control over your fabric & core yarn so the fabric doesn't slip off or get loosey goosey.
When you get to the end of a strip of fabric, put the next strip on top and work the ends over and under each other to secure. Keep in mind: this yarn may have integrity issues until it's worked into a project. So as you're spinning and when you take it off the bobbin and when you're working with it, keep it tight and firm and under tension so that it doesn't lose integrity.
As you get better with this technique your skill will be able to give your yarn more and more integrity.
Also be careful not to put so much twist in your core thread that it snaps. If your core thread snaps, tie it in a knot and spin fabric over it. If it continues snapping you need a MUCH stronger thread.
Here is the video version of this tutorial complete with some fun music and also live action spinning (one-handed!) so you can see how I overlapped the ends of fabric just in case the photo tutorial doesn't make sense to you.
Once the yarn is complete, leave it on your bobbin and set it aside for next week's Tutorial Tuesday where I will show you how to turn it into... something both beautiful AND functional for any knitter, crocheter, or spinner!!