Use your S & Z Identifier Tool to Add or Subtract Twist to Yarns

Introduction:
My previous post on July 8, 2020, explained how to identify S & Z twist easily. This post tells why it helped me reduce warp breakage. More S & Z information relating to bobbins, pirns, and weaving is in my book, Weaving & Drafting Your Own Cloth.

I was making a warp using a singles linen, probably 14/1, that I had in my stash. It kept breaking when it went around the end pegs. Actually, I could see that the thread was pulling apart. I figured that the way the spool was standing up on my spool holder was the problem: I was untwisting the yarn so it became enormously weaker. (Truth be told that was ½ of the breaking problem: the yarn was old.)


Notice the diagonal lines in the yarn and the toilet paper. They are all going in the same direction. That direction is called Z because it is the same direction as the diagonal part of the letter Z. I assume my warp thread was probably a Z twist singles.


I had my spool of yarn on the spool holder this way which was untwisting my yarn and causing it to break. It was set so the yarn was UNTWISTING as it came off the spool. This diagram shows the twist of the yarn in the opposite direction: we say S. That is because the diagonal lines are the same diagonal as the diagonal in the letter S.


I turned my spool end-for-end so then twist was ADDED which made the yarn stronger instead of weaker and the breakage stopped. (However, it didn’t make it strong enough to overcome the old age and the yarns broke instantly when I began to beam the warp! It all had to be thrown out!!)


At times you do not want to add or subtract any twist. Then you take the yarn off a spool on its side!


You can add S or Z twist when you unwind yarn from the end of a spool. When the yarn, as seen from the end of the spool moves in a counter-clockwise direction as it unwinds from the spool, Z twist is added. By turning the spool end-for-end, the yarn will move in a clockwise direction as it unwinds, adding S twist to it. (This option is not available with cones which are made to stand only one way up.) To understand S & Z twist read more in my chapter on shuttles in my book mentioned in the introduction.

Repeating the principle: which end of a spool the yarn come off from dictates the direction of the twist put into the yarn—because the yarn is coming off the end. Take the yarn off a spool on its side and no twist will be added or subtracted.


You can add or subtract twist not only by how you wind a pirn, but also by which end of the spool of yarn you take the yarn off. For consistent cloth you want the wefts to be totally consistent as to twist. However, a novelty cloth can be woven using different twists: depending on how you put a pirn on the winder or stand up a spool of yarn.


Repairs, Repairs, and More Repairs

I mostly used the splice method of repairing my fragile warp threads.


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The lease sticks and comb were lifesavers.


I needed lots of weights. Shower curtain hooks really work well. The large washers I got from a man cleaning out his garage. I got a big jarful. The lovely wooden ones my mentor, Jim Ahrens made. A close- up is at the end of the post.


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At one point this is was what was hanging off the back of my loom. The outside ones were the selvedges. In the middle were two extra threads that I didn’t need while threading so I kept them taught so they wouldn’t tangle.


At one point I could bring through all that were hanging off the back to in front of the reed. That meant that the knot joining the splice and the regular warp advanced forward enough to anchor out of the way of the reed. I wrapped the threads like a cleat on pins.


These threads were at the end of the warp and I just used the replacement method to repair them. That means I used a new piece of warp and weighted it, not attaching it to the original.

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Here is a close-up of Jim’s lovely weights. There might be some wood workers around who would like to make holiday presents. They worked wonderfully well.


Repairing Broken Warp Threads: 2 Methods

There are two ways to make repairs: by replacing the warp thread completely (quicker) or by making a splice (the right way I say in my beginner book). Not sure I agree with that exactly. Locate the end of the broken warp thread that comes from the warp beam. If you can’t find it, use the replacement method. It’s usually easy to find the thread and its exact location in the heddles if you have the lease sticks behind the heddles. The “lease” (cross) is an enormous help in tracing where the thread goes in the heddles and then the reed.

The splice method:
Take a new piece of warp thread (several inches or more longer than necessary). Attach it to the broken end, take it through the heddles and reed. Then wrap it around a pin like a cleat onto the cloth. The break can be anywhere. If it is in front of the reed or in the heddle area, I would take the broken thread to behind the heddles and tie. It can hang up in the reed if it is in front of the heddles. In my Weaving for Beginners I show a more proper way. That is, to tie the new thread to the broken one as far back as possible with a bow. When the bow appears behind the heddles, undo the bow and there should be enough thread to go through the heddles and attach with the cleat to the cloth. USE A WEAVER’S KLNOT because it is a thin knot.

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The replacement method:
Measure out a new warp thread a bit longer than the original warp. Attach one end onto the cloth with a pin like a cleat as in the illustration. Take the thread through the reed and heddles, exactly where the broken thread was, and hang it over the back beam with a weight.

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Remember the hair comb trick from a previous post!

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