Bouclé is a kind of novelty yarn. It is a yarn with a length of loops of similar size which can range from tiny circlets to large curls. To make bouclé, at least two strands are combined, with the tension on one strand being much looser than the other as it is being plied, with the loose strand forming the loops and the other strand as the anchor. Bouclé can also refer to the fabric made from this type of yarn, especially fabric that maintains the loopy appearance.
Bouclé is a very time consuming yarn
to spin by hand, as it requires several passes to secure the loops and make a stable yarn, and because for every inch of finished yarn, approximately 2-3 inches of single were spun.
There are two common methods to spin bouclé, a three step version and a two step version. The product is slightly different depending on the method used, as is the amount of time to make the yarn. Using the three step method the yarn goes through the spinning wheel three times, whereas in the two step version it only goes through twice.
Three step method
This is the simpler of the two methods. In it the yarn gets spun three times. In the first pass the yarn is spun normally. Once the single has been spun, the second step begins: the single is 'plied' against sewing thread. The sewing thread is held tight, and the handspun single is twisted against it for a few inches. Then the spinner pushes the single up along the thread, thus creating the loops, plies some more, pushes it up, and so on. At the end of this step, the yarn is not stable, as the loops more freely on the thread. In order to stabilize it, it is sent through the wheel a third time. In this pass the loops are spread out evenly, and another ply of sewing thread is added, effectively catching the loops between the two threads.
Two step method
The two step method combines the first two steps of the three step version, by spinning the single while plying it against the sewing thread. This works as plying the two together also causes the individual strands to twist, even before brought together and plied. Once the first step is completed, the second step is the stabilizing second thread- exactly like the third step in the three step method.
While this is more complex and requires more concentration, it does save a lot of time. The finished yarn tends to be more fuzzy, with less defined loops, due to the two steps being combined.
In machine spinning bouclé can be created in a single step, using a hollow spindle. It is made by differing the feed rate of the effect yarn with respect to the core yarns. The core yarns are wrapped around the effect yarn either loosely or tightly, depending on the difference in feed rates and amount of twist used. The regularity of the loops is controlled by varying the distance between the point where the core yarns come together and the guide. By increasing the distance, the bouclé becomes more irregular.