Thursday, December 04, 2008

Answer to Stef's comment and 6x6 me me:
In a comment to the last post, Stef asked if I was spinning for collapse weave. The answer is not really, since collapse is more a matter of the degree of twist in the yarn. Although I do have Anne Field's book in my Amazon wishlist (to help the family out with Christmas shopping).

I'm more interested in playing with the direction of twist. It's been in the back of my mind for years, and when Judith MacKenzie-McCuin talked about it again on this episode of WeaveCast, I bought myself a copy of the Oelsner & Dale book and have been perusing it. This book was written back in 1915, when it was possible to buy plied yarns with bothS and Z plying twist which is not the case today. Most commercial yarns are spun Z and plied S.

Through the O&D book, there are little tidbits about the different effects in the weave when both types of twist are used. For example on p. 15, they talk about a tricot (ie. knit) effect in the fabric when one alternates the twist of the yarn in both warp and weft in plain weave. Then in the chapter that begins the twill segment, there is discussion about the effects the direction (and also the degree) of twist in the yarns will have on the appearance of the twill fabric. I want to play with it and see for myself.

So far I've started the spinning with a heathered browns merino top, spun Z and plied S:
(as always, click on photo to 'biggen')
(notice in these two pictures that spun fiber tends to get just a tad darker and cooler in tone? That's been my overall experience in spinning dyed fiber. It varies somewhat in degree, but can shift the color enough to make for some unpleasant surprises.)

And a peachy-pink heathered medium-fine wool top, spun s and plied z (which loses most of the peach cast in the spun yarn):

It surprised me how difficult it was to shift gears and spin in the S direction. Seems I've picked up the habit of ever so slightly rolling my fingers in the hand that controls the twist. That had to be unlearned before progress could be made.

Also, there is only a slight difference in the size of these wools according to my pocket microscope, but my fingers detect a world of difference when trying to make them into matching yarns.

Here are the two yarns, side by side, S and Z plied.
(yes, the pink yarn will need a tad more plying twist.)

Here's my control card that I'm keeping at the wheel to help me be consistent:
Note that there is also a fine charcoal grey wool that I'm thinking of adding into the mix. It's on the outer edges of the wrapped yarns: singles at the top, plied at the bottom, standard Z/S spun/plied.

It will be awhile (think 2009) before any yarn makes it to the loom. But I'm thinking of a twill scarf for the sampling.

And here's the picture from the 6x6 me me:

It's the Rocky Mountaineer, from our trip to the Canadian Rockies in Sept. 2007. A nice reminiscence on a grey December day.
If you want to play along, the rules are up on Sharon's blog. Join in and let us know!


  1. I'm going to watch your progress on this project. I too twist my fingers when I'm spinning and I'm so lazy that I'm not sure how motivated I am to spin the opposite direction. I've been content to weave with yarn spun in standard Z plied S. I'll let you do the work and check back in later.

    BTW, I love your 6th of 6th picture.

  2. You spinning is beautiful and I especially love the browns!


tie in the loose ends...