Yarn Spinning

Spinning Yarn….and Silk Yarn so you can see for yourself what your working with…you know in case you decide to raise silkworms…or just buy into a scraps company….

Broken silk thread is one of important fancy yarn assortment. It is made up of a core yarn, a binding yarn and a broken effect yarn. The effect yarn of classical broken silk thread usually uses viscose filament with lower wet strength. The broken silk thread has flash effect because that fiber furry of broken effect yarn could be appeared on thread surface by means of wet drawing process. The fancy fabric used of the broken silk thread has shown special color effect, and favored by consumers. But manufacture of the broken silk thread must be used the wet processing technology, and its adaptability of processing equipment is restricted. In addition, there are some other broken silk composite fancy yarns, such as roving broken silk thread, broken silk knot yarn and fancy bunch yarn with combined color effect, etc. However, processing routes of these fancy yarn are relatively complex, restricted their wide application in the development of new textile products. It is necessary that develop a novel spinning technology of broken silk fancy yarn to satisfy the final users. Materials and processing equipment the broken silk threads were produced using the HN42-02-84H type (China) on a fancy yarn twisting machine according to the dry processing technology. The core and effect components of fancy yarn were supplied separate from each other at different speeds. After that the effect yarn was twisted on a real twist with a binder component, which fixed the effects in the fancy yarns. The object of the subsequent research was the relationship of fancy yarns with the spun silk, cotton yarn and polyester filament components, as shown in Table 1.

Table 1 Raw materials and processing technology of broken silk threads
Core yarn Effect yarn Binding yarn Composite processing technology
1 120N Spun silk 50D/72F Polyester filament 21S Cotton yarn Two times
2 120N Spun silk 50D/72F Polyester filament 21S Cotton yarn Three times
XXXX B3 120N Spun silk 50D/72F Polyester filament 120N Spun silk Three times
4 21S Cotton yarn 50D/72F Polyester filament 21S Cotton yarn Three times
5 32S Cotton yarn 50D/72F Polyester filament 21S Cotton yarn Three times
6 40S Cotton Ply yarn 50D/72F Polyester filament 21S Cotton yarn Three times

Usually, the effect yarn should be thin and lower strength of single yarn, in order to easy to break into small irregular broken fiber distribution. Binding yarn should adopt the fine yarn, and is designed to minimize the linear density of broken silk thread, and enhance its softness. The core yarn should use certain count single yarn or Ply yarn with low linear density, in order to maintain the enough strength of broken silk thread.

Okay so I started with the complicated side so that you can see how easy this yarn spinning process can really be. Consider Sleeping Beauty, but hey if you are afraid of falling asleep there are several spinning wheel free alternatives..I mean they cost several hundred dollars anyway…and a drop spindle costs about 10 bucks and you’ll have it for life so long as your 4 four year old doesn’t decide it’s a toy. Portable, and sturdy, the most common type of spindle you’ll encounter has a whorl, which is a weighted disk, with a shaft running through the center. The whorl can be at the top or the bottom of the spindle, and many modern spindles have a hook on the top end of the shaft to make anchoring the yarn easier. You can spin almost any fiber…haha check the above in case you forgot… though some are more difficult than others. Hand spinners typically work with plant or animal fibers, and most often with wool, silk (you could…really), cotton, or flax — which becomes linen as soon as it’s spun. Nowadays, you can also find yarn made of nylon or polyester, yarn with stainless steel or copper fibers integrated, and even paper yarn.

I’ll focus on wool for this part because its the mostly widely available and it can be sheep or alpaca so that parts on you. Spinning yarn is a three-step process. First, you’ll spin fiber into a continuous strand spinners call “singles.” Knitters would call it “single-ply.” Then, you’ll wind the singles into a ball. Finally, you’ll ply them into finished yarn. I’ll let that sink in and set up Spinning part 1.

Yarn holds together through twist alone. When you make singles, you’ll be adding twist in one direction to your fiber, which will make it hold together as long as it’s under tension. Always make sure the free end of your singles is anchored, whether in your hand or wrapped around your spindle. If you let go, they’ll untwist and turn back into fiber…and that sucks cause you have to start over…it like trying to braid your kids hair and then forgetting the elastic so you have to get up and let go and when you come back she’s laying on the floor playing with her iPad and you had to start over or just go “ugh” and go to Michaels. Don’t worry I’m laughing with you because we’ve all been there.

Plying, or twisting multiple singles strands around each other in the opposite direction, solves that problem. To make two-ply yarn, take two singles strands (or both ends of the same strand), attach them both to your spindle, and twist them around each other in the opposite direction from how you originally spun them. After that, no matter which direction the yarn tries to untwist, it’ll be stopped by the opposing twist.

Tease out a few fibers from your top or roving so you can see how long they are. To spin, you’ll be stretching the fiber out — or “drafting” it — to about the thickness you want your yarn to be, and you’ll need to make sure you aren’t tugging on both ends of the same hairs. The fibers have to be able to slide past each other for you to thin them out, so don’t grip the fibers too hard when stretching your fiber.

Start there and we’ll come back to it when you feel good about that part

Dying Yarn

    So, I’ve been doing my research and there are tons of websites you can check out if you want to dye your yarn. Here’s the thing, even though they are out there for everyone to check out I can’t just leave you guys with a gaping hole here. 

    In this day and age we talk about eco-friendly, hyper-allergenic, light resistant fading…the list really does have no ends. They also talk about then many different materials you can dye and turn into yarn. I’m going to focus this article on the first one because it covers such a broad array of topics and use wool because like with spinning its the most common and you can use either sheep or alpaca.  What does it mean to be Eco-Friendly and if it costs a little more is it still worth it? 

    Wool fibers consist of keratin proteins that are made of 18 amino acids, and these amino acids bring both free amino and carboxylic acid groups into wool proteins. The free amino groups existing in the proteins have been employed as main sites for interactions in acid dyeing of wool fibers, since the amino groups could form cationic amine salts under acidic conditions. Natural dyes are generally environmentally friendly and have many advantages over synthetic dyes. In recent years, there has been an interest towards the application of these dyes due to their bio-degradability and higher compatibility with the environment, as such, the demand for natural dyes is increasing day by day. Although vegetable dyes cannot replace synthetic dyes, they have several advantages over synthetic dyes with regard to health, safety, and ecology. Nowadays, the use of natural mordant dyes is mostly confined to wool, on which the dyes, in conjunction with a metallic mordant, provide deep shades of characteristically excellent wet and light fastness. Although mordant dyes are similar to non-metallized acid dyes, they contain ligands (OH, NH2, COOH) that enable them to form a stable, coordination complex with a metal ion in situ within the wool fiber, accompanied by a dramatic improvement in both the light and washing fastness, as well as a marked change in the color strength of the dyed wool fabric.

    The dye we will use as an example of eco-friendly dyeing comes from a large evergreen tree called the Terminalia arjuna. It has a spreading crown and drooping branches. In India, it is very commonly found in Chhota Nagpur area, Baitful in Madhya Pradesh, and also in Dehradun. Beautiful areas if you get the chance to check in there. But, that’s beside the point. The fruits and bark of different species of Terminalia trees have been used since the Vedic period (1500–500 BC) for the treatment of various heart diseases. Recently, it was also used in the treatment of cancer. The plant exhibits fungicidal, antimicrobial, and antibacterial activity and helps in infertility and immuno-deficiency virus induced diseases.  Moreover, the extract of the T. arjuna barks was used as a potential source of natural antioxidants in food. Madder, is a source of a natural dye producing a variety of anthraquinone pigments in its roots and rhizomes. The main components are di- and trihydroxyanthraquinones, alizarin, and purpurin and their derivatives. It has raditionally been used for imparting a variety of shades of red and brown on cotton, wool, and silk in conjunction with a number of different mordants. I DO REALIZE that using a tree for dyes that has so many medically appealing properties is not the best use of the tree but if that are going to cut into it anyway to do all these things why no use every part of it-but not I’m not telling you kill the deer and make sure you make Christmas ornaments with the hooves…..Si? Great. 

    Madder fruits with different percentage on the color strength of wool fabric to optimize the extractability and dyeability conditions as well. Furthermore, the dyeing and mordanting characteristics of coloring matter on wool fabric have also been studied to improve the fastness properties. When you go online and order your dyes consider these things. Because where your dye comes from and its properties are just as important as how you dye your yarn. 

Silk As A Yarn

The creation of Silk and why your yarn will last longer then the Sari it’s made from

Okay so I received several questions about why the silk ribbon would be durable for projects when the silk sari only last for a few years. So let me see if I can answer that question with more then just “I said so”.

Silk is one of the costliest natural fibers and is preferred for its fine quality and gracious
look. Quality control is the most effective measure to maintain the quality of the
raw material, yarn, or fabric. Therefore, most modern mills adopt separate testing
departments for the purpose of quality control. Silk is an exclusive natural protein
fiber with the unique feature of high strength and light weight. The warmth properties
are comparable to that of wool; silk exhibits excellent feel/handle properties. The natural
silk fiber is also very fine, and thin fabrics can be prepared from it. The test method used for silk fiber and yarn are different from that of other fibers or yarns, as the inherent characters are different for silk.

Raw silk is the silk yarn with natural gum sericin and without any twist. It is also
known as reeled silk yarn or water reeled silk yarn. Generally, the testing
of raw silk is based on the procedures laid down by the International Silk Association; China, Japan, and India follow other standard methods. For classification purposes, raw silk is divided into three categories according to its size:

First Category: 18 denier and below
Second Category: 19–33 denier
Third Category: 34 denier and above

As per the ISA method, there are 13 test parameters that are assessed for quality characteristics. These parameters are used for the classification of raw silk and include: winding breaks, size (denier), standard deviation of size, maximum deviation of size,
evenness variation I, evenness variation II, evenness variation III, neatness, low neatness,
cleanness, tenacity, elongation, and cohesion. The test report also includes the information on the results of a visual examination of lot. Skein finish inspection results during winding, color and hand values of the sample are the properties that are considered.
The results of the visual examination and skein finish inspection are used in the classification of raw silk.

The objective of raw silk testing and classification is to determine the grade using
the results of quality tests/parameters to establish a standard not only to facilitate fair
and equitable transaction, but also to improve the quality by the manufacturers as well
as suitable selection by the consumers.

That’s the starting point for Sari Silk. Once you combine all the threads together to make something much thicker it’s also much stronger. Think on it and let me know.

Yarn Terminology and Types

Greetings and apologies for the long delay. Life, Covid-19, and general chaos have been keeping me busy.

Before I get into the types and definitions of the more common types of yarns, I want to go over some of the more common terms used when describing yarns. You may be familiar with these terms already, but for those who aren’t, I’m going to list them anyways.

Absorbency: How well a fiber holds water. A fiber’s absorbency is used to determine it’s sweat absorption and it’s suitability for warm weather wear.

Breath-ability: How well air passes through a fiber.

Dye-ability: How well a fiber accepts and then holds dye.

Hand/Handle: This refers to any tactile descriptions, i.e. softness, resiliency

Loft: This refers to the amount of air in between the fibers.

Elasticity (aka Resiliency): How well, and how quickly, it resumes it’s natural shape after being stretched.

Thickness: The diameter of the fiber, measured in micrometers.

Now that that’s been taken care of, onto the Yarn types.

I’m going to start with the plant-based yarns.

Plant Based Yarns:

Cotton: Usually dull in sheen, has almost no elasticity unless blended with another fiber type. Pure cotton is good for utilitarian type items, such as purses, tote bags, wash clothes, dish clothes and place mats. Egyptian Cotton has the longest fibers among the cotton types, it is also the smoothest and the softest. Pima Cotton is a cross between Egyptian and American Cottons. American Cotton has medium-long fibers and readily takes dyes. American cotton is also available is the largest array of colors.

Linen is a good, strong fiber. It is also good for warm weather items.

Bamboo Bast which should never be confused with Bamboo Rayon, has an elegant sheen. It is also not as common as the bamboo rayon.

Animal Based Yarn:

Wool: A special note about wool. It is not recommended for children under the age of 3 as due to the sensitivity of their skin it can cause an allergic reaction. I’m only going to cover the 2 most common types of wool yarn here. Merino Wool is softer than cotton, but it does tend to pill. Icelandic Wool: is a strong wool, but it is scratchy feeling to most people.

Mohair is lofty and luxurious, though it is best used as an outer layer as it may feel scratchy to some.

Cashmere is very soft, very luxurious and it tends to be one of the most expensive yarns on the market when it’s pure cashmere.

Alpaca is a very warm yarn and is best suited for accessories such as scarves and hats.

Angora yarn is very soft. It also tends to shed. It is bested used as an accent or blended with other fibers if you plan on using it in a larger project.

Silk is exceptionally strong. It is also lustrous and shiny. It is good for summer wear as it tends to be light weight.

Synthetic Yarns

Note: synthetic yarn is, generally, any yarn that is made through, primarily, artificial means.

Acrylic yarn washes very well, is inexpensive, and is good for beginners. It is also good for anything for babies and pets. I would however like to point out that acrylic yarn, and items made from acrylic yarns, should not be kept near anything that gives off large amounts of heat, as speaking from experience, this causes the yarn to change color.

Nylon yarn is strong, very elastic, and washes well. However, it is not ideal for garments unless it is blended with other fibers.

Rayon yarns are made when processed cellulose (i.e. wood pulp, bamboo, seaweed) is extruded into threads. It is, most of the time, inexpensive. It is also highly absorbent and has a natural sheen.

What I have listed is a general list of yarn types and, on some recommended uses. I do not use most of these for a number of reasons. Feel free to experiment with them to see what kinds you prefer and which ones you don’t.

My next 2 posts will be on hooks, because I feel there is enough info out there to devote an entire blog to crochet hooks, and novelty yarns. The novelty yarns may take longer, just because I don’t really use them personally, as I don’t have the patience for them.

Everyone stay safe out there.

Yarn, a General Overview

Yarn, at it’s simplest form, a long and continuous length of interlocked fibers.

Though, in reality, yarn is so much more complicated than that.

To start with, yarn is usually measured and sold by the weight, rather than the length. This is because of the differences in the yarn thickness. An example of this is 50g of a lightweight lace yarn would be a few hundred meters in length, where are a 50g bulky weight yarn is only about 60 meters in length.

Any yarn can be classified into one of two fiber classes, natural and synthetic.  Synthetic fiber is an acrylic or polyester material. Natural fiber is either a plant-based or a protein-based fiber.

The most common plant-based fibers are cotton and linen. Other plant fibers include bamboo, hemp, maize, nettles and soy. All of these fibers tend to be less elastic and retain less warmth than protein fibers, though this is not always the case. These types of yarns are usually want is recommended for babies and hospitals as they are least likely to cause an allergic reaction.

Wool is the most common protein-based fiber. Other common protein fibers are alpaca, angora, mohair, llama, cashmere, and silk. Others, less commonly used in the main stream, are camel, yak, possum, musk ox, vicuna, car, dog, wolf, rabbit bison and chinchilla. Protein yarns are basically any yarn that is made from an animal (is hair, feathers, sill, etc.). These yarns have the advantage of being slightly elastic and very breathable, while at the same time, trapping a lot of air, making these among the warmest yarns available. There are more than a few protein based yarns that can cause an allergic reaction.

There is a type of yarn that can fall into either main category. It is call T-shirt yarn. The make-up of t-shirt yarn depends solely on the materials used to make the shirt.

Generally speaking, when it comes to crochet, knitting and weaving, acrylic and wool yarns are the most common. Here in the US, the biggest 4 suppliers of acrylic yarn are Red Heart Yarns, Lion Brand, Caron Yarn and Bernat, these can be found in any big box craft store and a few home good stores. Wool is usually found at the local yarn store, more commonly call LYS, or the can be found on-line. These tend to be done is small batches and usually dyed by hand. A brand called Lily Sugar ‘n Cream, a mainstream cotton brand, can by found is any Joann’s Fabric or Michaels craft store.

Yarns may be used either dyed or undyed. Dyed yarns are colored with either an artificial dyes or natural dyes. Outside of solid colored yarn, variegated yarns can fall under one of five categories:

  • Heathered/Tweed                                     
  • Ombre                                                         
  • Multicolored
  • Self-stripping
  • Marled

I’ll get more into this when I discuss novelty yarns in a later blog post.

Earlier, I discussed yarn types as a thickness. There are 9 official thicknesses that are generally the same between manufacturers. Here is a handy cart from http://www.lionbrand.com/yarn-by-weight that can explain it better than I can.

That’s it for now. My next post I’ll get more into the types of fibers, their descriptions as well as their most common uses.

Have a good day and stay safe everyone!