Wednesday, January 16, 2008



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Spools of thread
Spools of thread

Yarn is a long continuous length of interlocked fibers, suitable for use in the production of textiles, sewing, crocheting, knitting, weaving, embroidery and ropemaking. Thread is a type of yarn intended for sewing by hand or machine. Modern manufactured sewing threads may be finished with wax or other lubricants to withstand the stresses involved in sewing.[1] Embroidery threads are yarns specifically designed for hand or machine embroidery.



[edit] Structure

See main article Spinning (textiles)
A Spinning Jenny, spinning machine which initiated the Industrial Revolution
A Spinning Jenny, spinning machine which initiated the Industrial Revolution
Z- and S-twist yarn
Z- and S-twist yarn

Spun yarn is made by twisting or otherwise bonding staple fibers together to make a cohesive thread.[2] Twisting fibers into yarn in the process called spinning can be dated back to the Upper Paleolithic[3], and yarn spinning was one of the very first processes to be industrialized. Spun yarns may contain a single fiber, or synthetic fibers which have high strength, artificial lustre, and fire retardant qualities may be blended with natural fibers which have good water absorbance and skin comforting qualities, in different proportions, to manufacture yarn for fabric. The most widely used blends are cotton-polyester and wool-acrylic fiber blends.

Yarns are made up of any number of plies, each ply being a single spun yarn. These single plies of yarn are twisted in the opposite direction (plied) together to make a thicker yarn. Depending on the direction of this final twist, the yarn will be known as s-twist or z-twist.

Filament yarn consists of filament fibers twisted together. Thicker monofilaments are typically used for industrial purposes rather than fabric production or decoration. Silk is a natural filament, and synthetic filament yarns are used to produce silk-like effects.

Texturized yarns are made by a process of air texturizing (sometimes referred to as taslanizing), which combines multiple filament yarns into a yarn with some of the characteristics of spun yarns.

[edit] Measurement

[edit] Craft yarns

Yarn quantities are usually measured by weight in ounces or grams. In the United States, balls of yarn for handcrafts are usually sold in three-ounce, four-ounce, six-ounce, and eight-ounce skeins. In Europe, yarn is often sold in increments of 25 grams, with 25 g, 50 g, and 100 g being common quantities. These measurements are taken at a standard temperature and humidity, because yarn can absorb moisture from the air. The actual length of the yarn contained in a ball or skein can vary due to the inherent heaviness of the fiber and the thickness of the strand; for instance, a 50 g skein of lace weight mohair may contain several hundred meters, while a 50 g skein of bulky wool may contain only 60 meters.

There are several thicknesses of yarn, also referred to as weight. An effort by the Craft Yarn Council of America is being made to promote a standardized industry system for measuring this, numbering the weights from 1 (finest) to 6 (heaviest)[4]. Some of the names for the various weights of yarn from finest to thickest are called lace, fingering, sock, sport, double-knit (or DK), worsted, aran, bulky, and super-bulky. This naming convention is more descriptive than precise; fiber artists disagree about where on the continuum each lies, and the precise relationships between the sizes.

A more precise measurement of yarn weight, often used by weavers, is wraps per inch (wpi). The yarn is wrapped snugly around a ruler and the number of wraps that fit in an inch are counted.

Labels on yarn for handcrafts often include information on gauge, known in the UK as tension, which is a measurement of how many stitches and rows are produced per inch or per centimeter on a specified size of knitting needle or crochet hook. The proposed standardization uses a four-by-four inch/ten-by-ten centimeter knitted or crocheted square, with the resultant number of stitches across and rows high made by the suggested tools on the label to determine the gauge.

In Europe textile engineers often use the unit tex, which is the weight in grams of a kilometer of yarn, or decitex, which is a finer measurement corresponding to the weight in grams of 10 kilometers of yarn. Many other units have been used over time by different industries.

[edit] Thread

Most types of embroidery thread come in a single size or weight; an exception is pearl or perle cotton, which comes in three weights, No. 3 (heaviest), No. 5, and No. 8 (finest).[5]

[edit] Color

Yarn drying after being dyed in the early American tradition, at Conner Prairie living history museum.
Yarn drying after being dyed in the early American tradition, at Conner Prairie living history museum.

Yarn may be used undyed, or may be colored with natural or artificial dyes. Most yarns have a single uniform hue, but there is also a wide selection of variegated yarns:

  • heathered or tweed: yarn with flecks of different colored fiber
  • ombre: variegated yarn with light and dark shades of a single hue
  • multi-colored: variegated yarn with two or more distinct hues (a "parrot colorway" might have green, yellow and red)
  • self-striping: yarn dyed with lengths of color that will automatically create stripes in a knitted or crocheted object
  • marled: yarn made from strands of different-colored yarn twisted together, sometimes in closely-related hues

[edit] See also

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[edit] Notes

  1. ^ Kadolph, Sara J., ed.: Textiles, 10th edition, Pearson/Prentice-Hall, 2007, ISBN 0-13-118769-4, p. 203
  2. ^ Kadolph, Textiles, p. 197
  3. ^ Barber, Elizabeth Wayland: Women's Work:The First 20,000 Years, W. W. Norton, 1994, p. 44
  4. ^
  5. ^ Reader's Digest Complete Guide to Needlework. The Reader's Digest Association, Inc. (March 1992). ISBN 0-89577-059-8, p. 8

[edit] External links

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