DO THE TWIST – HOW YARNS ARE TWISTED

In this instalment we will talk about how knitting fibers are being spun. You would be surprised how many possibilities there are. To start with, all animal and all synthetic fibers require to be spun so they can become a yarn.

SINGLE YARNS

In preparation for the spinning process the fibers will be cleaned and combed to be as parallel as possible. The spindle on a spinning wheel or a spinning machine will do the same process, twisting the fibers in one direction and creating a yarn. The fibers can be twisted in two different directions: clockwise or counterclockwise. The industry calls this an S-twist or a Z-twist.

The result is a single Z-yarn or S-yarn. It can be twisted tight or loose. This graphic shows its structure:

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To knit with a single yarn can be tricky. If the yarn is spun too tight it will make “piggy tails” and the knitted piece always wants to take on a diagonal shape. Sometimes this can be fixed by washing or blocking the piece.

SKEINO’s Paola Yarn is a single Z-yarn and it is perfectly twisted to be a great yarn with the most softness.

SKEINO’s Paola Yarn is a Z-single yarn

2-PLY YARNS

However most yarns in the industry are plied yarns, mainly 2-ply yarns. Two single S-yarns or Z-yarns are twisted together in the other direction to become a 2-ply S-yarn or 2-ply-Z-yarn.

Untitled-3

The second twist always releases the “first yarn making twist” and this yarn will never piggy tail or give you any problems shaping a piece.

SKEINO’s Bianca, Gina, Sophia and Violeta yarns are 2-ply S-yarns and they are perfectly twisted to become a wonderful Lace, Sock, Fingering or DK yarn with the most softness.

Fingering 2-ply

SKEINO’s Bianca, Gina, Sophia and Violeta yarn are 2-ply S-yarns

BIANCA (800x800)

SKEINO Bianca Yarn knitted up

SOPHIA2

SKEINO Sophia Yarn knitted up

VIOLETTA (800x800)

SKEINO Violetta Yarn knitted up

SPECIAL YARNS

Special yarns can be twisted several times. Usually they are twisted “back and forth” to create a cord-like or pearl-like look. These yarns are heavier in weight and knitting up worsted and thicker.

This “yarn tree” is the symbol of a multi twist yarn sample. Two single S-yarns are twisted into a 2-ply Z-yarn. Three of these yarns are twisted together into a 3-ply S-yarn.

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SKEINO’s Francesca, Monica and Donna yarn are multi ply yarn’s and they are perfectly twisted to become a wonderful Worsted, Bulky and Super Bulky – Yarn with the most softness.

SKEINO Donna Yarn knitted up

SKEINO Donna Yarn knitted up

SKEINO Francesca Yarn knitted up

SKEINO Francesca Yarn knitted up

SKEINO Monica Yarn knitted up

SKEINO Monica Yarn knitted up

I hope you enjoyed this little explanation and that it was not too technical. For me as a designer this is what I work with every day and I love to do it. The way fibers are spun also determines by a great deal what we can do with them and that is what makes it so extremely important. As a designer you have to know your stuff in order to create pieces that are both beautiful and technically flawless.

Which is your favourite fiber to knit with? Do you prefer the singles, 2-plies or the special yarns? Let me know in the comment section!

…And as always: HAPPY KNITTING !!

Bjorn

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4 thoughts on “DO THE TWIST – HOW YARNS ARE TWISTED

    • Oh Bjorn…. THANK YOU for such a wonderful, thorough , answer to my question. To have this supplemental understanding, gives me a rich appreciation of something that I truly have a passion for – fiber – knitting/crocheting. Whether beautifully painted, or tone-on-tone – it is the natural yarns with a little un-natural sparkle that attracts my attention the most. I can totally fathom your excitement, your vision, marrying requested yarn and design, to showcase both separately and together. You, Bjorn, are the right ‘minister ‘ to preside over the celebration ! Warmest of regards to you, Marcia

  1. Oh Bjorn – THANK YOU ! What an interesting enlightenment. We should ALL have this understanding of fiber – the examples of yarn with corresponding swatch is just terrific. Thank you again for your answering my question with such a wonderful, thorough follow up. I can now fathom where you must. as a designer, find it both SO utterly delightful and ultimately rewarding to successfully marry, and showcase your resulting vision. I love natural fiber. I love a little un – natural sparkle… so whether beautifully painted or tone on tone – it is in that marriage that calls to me……. and you, Bjorn are a wonderful ‘ minister ‘ to do the Celebration !
    Warmest of regards, Marcia

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