Monday, March 18, 2013

a word about novelty

or several....

So the ol' term "novelty yarn" is really starting to grind my gears. I never really used the term before, and then was completely put off by it when I took a class with Jacey Boggs a couple years ago. She seems to feel the same and definitely put the reason why into perspective for me.

Sitting in front of our class she asked us what we thought of when we heard the word novelty and my mind jumped to the crap you find at tourist traps... which was kinda what she was getting at.

I started teaching again a couple of weeks ago, teaching spinning for the first time. These wonderful students who are beginners have already heard this term and are asking about it. While I am happy that I am able to dissuade them from using it about their beautiful yarns, it is disheartening that it is becoming so commonly used.

To all of you out there who use it in your listings, teaching, in books and other print, I have one thing to say. I urge you to PLEASE STOP!!!

Here's why:
 (definition is taken directly from


[nov-uhl-tee] Show IPA noun, plural nov·el·ties, adjective
1.state or quality of being novel, new, or unique; newness: the novelty of a new job.
2. a novel occurrence, experience, or proceeding: His sarcastic witticisms had ceased being an entertaining novelty.
3. an article of trade whose value is chiefly decorative, comic, or the like and whose appeal is often transitory: a store catering to tourists who loaded up with souvenir pennants and other novelties.
4. Textiles.

a. (of a weave) consisting of a combination of basic weaves.
b. (of a fabric or garment) having a pattern or design produced by a novelty weave.
c. (of yarn) having irregularities within the fibrous structure.
So we have here, not only the standard definition, but this has so commonly been used in the textile industry that it has it's own specific section under the definition of the word, and it's not so good folks. 
"(of yarn) having irregularities within the fibrous structure" 
With the popularity of "art yarn" out there, you may think that all the funky bits that make that yarn "irregular" are what this definition is referring to. I suppose it is up for interpretation, however, my feeling is that 
Most people, when they are making yarn, are making it not just to be beautiful, but also so that it will stand the test of time. You don't want any portion of it to have irregularities causing it to break at a crucial point in a garment or other fibrous construction. That being said, why in the world would you refer to your yarn that you worked so hard to construct, in my case starting with the raw fleece directly from the sheep, picking the vegetable and poo bits out, washing it by hand, dying it, and blending it lovingly before I even make it to my wheel to spin. 
Stop cheapening our craft. Take it seriously. Love it. 
We are not making plastic snowglobes here people.