Yarn Directionality - 09-01-23 01

Yarn Directionality

Is there such a thing as correct yarn directionality? Does it change with knitting versus crochet? Are some affected by it and some not?

Technical Understanding of Yarn Directionality

One of the questions I got in comments the other day has me thinking:

Something that I’ve been wondering about as I deal with splitting yarn, is this:
Several years ago, and in different context, I was told that yarn structure had (for lack of a better word) direction. That to manipulate it from one end vs the other yielded a different ‘product’. Whether or not it was true then, would an evaluation today, with the proliferation of natural and synthetic fibers and manufacturing processes used today or whether it’s being used right or left-handed, and with your experience, be different?

Judy in comments August 28, 2023

First of all, splitting yarn can have multiple structural causes. In my experience, it’s rarely the directionality of the yarn that causes it.

Ted Myatt was one of the more technically-oriented spinners I know. He used to mark his hanks of yarn with the end of the yarn you should start with. He said his handspun had a nap to it that made it easier to use it in the direction of the nap. But I’m pretty sure the nap didn’t affect whether the yarn was more easily splittable.

The other thing that more often affects how loose and thus splittable a yarn can be is the direction of the plying. Most yarns have singles that are spun in one direction (s-twist or z-twist) and then plied in the opposite direction. As you use yarn in your knitting or crochet, there are certain movements that will loosen the twist and/or tighten the twist.

For instance, when I do a standard long-tail cast-on with most commercially spun knitting yarns, the change in twist is most noticeable. The tail-end of the yarn gets looser and looser (unplied) as I cast on more and more stitches. And the ball-end of the yarn gets tighter and tighter (more tightly plied). When I’m casting on 50 or more stitches, I’ll often have to let the tail-end re-ply itself by letting it hang.

If the nap of your yarn is really the issue, there is only one resource that I found that might help – https://www.heartstringsfiberarts.com/yarn-direction.shtm

If tightening and loosening ply is your issue, then I found this article to be comprehensive – https://www.schoolofsweetgeorgia.com/twist-and-shout-why-twist-direction-matters-in-your-making/

Current Crochet

Good news and bad news. Good news is that I finished the body of the short-sleeve, crochet shirt and sewed up the shoulder seams.

Crochet Short Sleeve Top 09-01-23 01

Bad news is that I need more girth on the body of the shirt. I’m adding a faux button band to add a few inches of width to the garment.

Crochet Short Sleeve Top 09-01-23 02

Hopefully that will fix it. But if not, it was a fun design experiment that someone more slim might get to enjoy instead of me.

3 comments on “Yarn Directionality

  1. Also you can add or subtract twist when you use a ball winder, depending on whether your working yarn unwinds from the outside of the ball or pulls out from the center.

    Interesting about “nap.” We lost a great resource with Ted; I’m so glad I had a chance to meet him.

  2. I think the verticality of the button band adds some needed contrast to the horizontal so this is a happy art-cident.

    I’m sure your friend believed in the nap, and as a hand spinner I agree there Could be a nap initially, but if those skeins were washed before knitting I think it would be really just not a thing at that point. I think you would also have to be a darned sensitive knitter to be able to notice the difference. Which he may well have been! Also, you really need to wet finish your yarn before knitting with it if you want to see how it truly came out. Again, not trying to speak ill of your friend, and I certainly think of you have his yarn you may as well follow his directions, but I also feel like it’s important to question the questionable instead of just letting it go forward as accepted fact.

    Yarn is the same forward and backward. Shouldn’t matter about splitting. Are you TRYing to split it, like embroidery floss? Somehow that’s what I pictured from your question. But except for joining I guess there’s no point in that, so I probably misunderstood.

    Well, I’m just full
    Of comments today!

  3. Your shirt is quite work of art- the texture is incredible! I agree that the faux button bands add to the design. Are you doing sleeves or is this a vest?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *