What is Tweed Yarn and What Can I Use It For?
We’ve probably all seen tweed yarn – even though you may not have known it at the time. Tweed can often be confused with heathered yarn (read an article about heathered yarn here), but is, in fact, quite different.
In this article we’ll be looking at what tweed yarn is, how it’s made, the pros and cons of using it, and we also have a whole list of crochet and knitting patterns that you can use for tweed yarn.
What is tweed yarn?
Tweed yarn is created to give a similar appearance to tweed cloth. (Although with the right artistic flair it can even be made to look like a page of newsprint!) It’s a blend of a couple of colours of fibers, colored before spinning, into which short lengths of different colored neps (flecks) are spun in.
The yarn can also be described more technically as follows:
“A yarn with multiple plies and flecks of accent colors added during the spinning process. There are “true” tweed yarns in which the maker dyes wool in separate color batches, then mixes in flecks of the accent colors during carding or spinning. Tweed-like yarns get their color effects from different fibers, which take up colors differently in the dyeing process. The yarn probably derived its name from tweed cloth.”
The tweed yarn, when worked up into a project, looks very rustic because of the type of heathered yarn-look.
How are tweed yarns made?
Tweed yarns are made in a similar way as heathered yarns, with the fiber being colored before spinning and with the different fibers then mixed before being spun.
The classic tweed yarn is woolen spun (with the fibers not all combed in the same direction). This traps a lot of air between the fibers, making it very warm. In traditional tweed yarn, the yarn can actually be heathered or not, as long as the neps are present, basically.
Watch this video to see how tweed yarns can be handmade:
What are the pros and cons of tweed yarns?
Tweed Yarns: Pros
Tweed Yarns: Cons
● Traditional tweed yarns are ideal if you’re looking for more muted shades of yarn. (For brighter tweed yarns, try the KnitPal Tweed Twinkles yarn)
● If you’re doing an all-over repeated pattern, the tweed yarn can really bring out the detail of knit, purl, cable, and simple lace stitches.
● It gives your project a rustic look.
● Tweed yarns are made in various weights nowadays, making it easy to find ones to suit just about any project.
● Not all tweed yarn ranges are made in bright(er) colors – most are only available in muted tones. (For brighter tweed yarns, try the KnitPal Tweed Twinkles yarn)
● Depending on how many neps there are in the yarn, it may hide some of the detail in an intricate pattern.
● It gives everything a type of rustic look, so if this is something that you don’t like, tweed yarn isn’t for you.
Knitting and crochet patterns perfect for tweed yarns
We think these patterns are perfect to show off your favorite tweed yarns!
Midge Shawl Pattern – This knitted shawl pattern by Patty Olsen Designs is the ideal rustic-yet-classic design that will look great in some tweed yarn. It’s a crescent shawl that’s worked top down in one or two colors. The free pattern is suitable for intermediate knitters as the lace parts do take some practice. Choose your favourite tweed colors!
Tides Baby Blanket – This knitted baby blanket by Knits on Main is suitable for beginners – and what a blanket! The ribbing is worked in such a way that it almost looks like cabling. Work it in two colors as in the photo, or choose one blue (or whatever color you prefer) to work the whole blanket in. We think the water-inspired blanket will look stunning in the KnitPal Tweed Twinkles baby yarn that’s blue with white neps (flecks).
Lace and cable scarf – This beautiful, lacy scarf by Christine L. is ideal for fall or those less-than-freezing winter days. The free pattern is suitable for intermediate knitters and will look splendid in a tweed yarn. Christine notes that it “coordinates with Cascade's pattern Lace and Cable Hat”.
Avalon top – Another intermediate knit, this free cropped tank top pattern by Fiddle Knits Designs is knit in the round from bottom up and worked in rows from the armholes. The designer also notes that you can make the top longer instead of cropped by only changing the pattern slightly.
Olympic Wristers – These beautiful fingerless gloves were designed by Alexandra Brinck and are a cabling pattern suitable for intermediate knitters (or for advanced beginners looking to sink their teeth into cable patterning!). A free pattern, it is relatively quick to knit in tweed and will make a beautiful gift to a loved one – or simply spoil yourself!
Greenland cowl – Another intermediate cable knit project; this one designed by Kyla Anastasia Osminin, is knit in the round and includes a relatively simple cable pattern. Knit with tweed yarn, it’s a wonderfully rustic accessory for winter. This pattern is also a free pattern.
Diamante shawl – This shawl is “an asymmetric, bias knit, triangular, 2-color, garter shawl with a touch of lace”, designed by Jayalakshmi MH and is available for free. The shawl consists of mostly garter stitch, making it a very good traveling or TV-watching project. The lace panel is also not as intense as some other lace patterns, and makes this shawl suitable for advanced beginner knitters and up.
Lullaby layette – For our last knitting pattern, we have this lovely baby set by Lion Brand. A free pattern, it consists of a blanket, bonnet, cardigan, and booties. This beautiful set, when knit in tweed yarn, is sure to steal the limelight!
Fingerless gloves – These beautiful, lacy crocheted gloves have been designed by CrochetRomance, a crochet designer from Italy. A free pattern, it’s also suitable for beginner crocheters and will look stunning made in a tweed yarn.
Cosy baby cardigan – Suitable for an advanced beginner and up, this precious crocheted cardigan will look all too beautiful if crocheted in tweed yarn. The free pattern is one of Red Heart’s designs.
Seems like old times shawl – A lacy, crocheted shawl, this free pattern is a design by MADuNaier is for advanced crocheters, but can also be made by intermediate crocheters who are up for a challenge. Make it in one color, or mix some rustic tweed shades for a whole other look.
Colorful collection baby set – This layette – consisting of a blanket, bonnet, booties, and cardigan – by Paintbox Yarns, will look beautiful in neutral shades of tweed yarn or even just one color. This pattern is also free and, like the others, can be downloaded as a PDF.
Larksfoot blanket – This blanket pattern by Hannah Cross is ideal for beginner crocheters as it’s an easy repeat. You can even make the blanket smaller or larger, as you want! It’s a free pattern that will look wonderfully rustic in tweed yarn – simply choose your favorite colors!
Basketweave baby blanket – A free pattern for a diagonal basketweave-pattern baby blanket (another one which can be made larger if you’d like), this one is by Cascade Yarns and will look beautiful in a tweed yarn to bring out the rustic pattern. The pattern is suitable for an intermediate crocheter.
Red Heart Father Pullover – An earthy and rustic pullover that is perfect when made in tweed yarn. It’s an easy pattern, which also makes it wonderful to make as your first garment. This crochet pattern is also free and is quite a quick make.
And there you have it! Which pattern would you like to make first? Let us know in the comments or in our KnitPal Facebook group.