How do you tell if yarn is suitable for a warp for weaving?
The warp yarn is the vertical threads that go through your heddles when you warp the loom. It is important that this yarn is strong enough to handle abrasion between the heddles as you lift your shafts up and down, and also that it isn’t so stretchy that you lose your tension. The type of weaving you plan to do influences the type of warp you’ll need.
For tapestry weaving, rugs, and other weft-facing projects that you will beat hard, you will likely want a very strong wool or cotton warp designed specifically for those projects. If you are making a wool, silk, or alpaca shawl, you likely won’t be beating as hard, so you just need to make sure that your warp is strong enough for what you plan to make. As a general rule, plied yarns (yarns that are twisted with more than one ply) will be better for warp, but that doesn’t mean that a single spun yarn can’t be used successfully!
One common test is to snap the yarn hard between two hands - if it breaks, it’s not suitable for your warp. Linen yarn is very strong and won’t typically snap, but may still abrade and wear down while weaving - the best way to know is to test it yourself, or ask your weaving friends or shopkeepers.
Want to learn more about weaving yarn? Download my free 14-page guide to choosing yarn.