Ex 4.1 Yarns inspired by Stitch and Marks

I had started this Exercise last year but unfortunately my Dad who has had slight dementia rapidly got worse and I have been travelling 1300 kilometres round trip to country NSW over the past two and a half months to visit him and work with hospital staff in trying to meet his needs and get him more settled. I have now reread and revisited my mind map for Assignment Four and am determined to get it completed.

The aim of this exercise is to expand my knowledge and application of materials into yarn concepts and interpret and experiment with different ideas to translate the line qualities. I initially found it hard to understand what was really required but once I got going I could see the possibilities. It challenged me to think and create!

As required I selected two pieces from Part Two and/or Part One.  I perused Helen Parrot’s Mark Making in Textile Book to provide me with inspiration and a way to approach the work. I identified adjectives to describe the selected pieces so that it would assist in my practical approach.

I looked at my supply of threads and other options for yarn. I came up with some merino felt; cotton 5ply thin warp; banana silk; extra thick Australian twisted cotton string; and medium Australian twisted cotton; jute twine; Paperbark from the tree in my front yard; thin wire; sari silk.

My first piece selected was a partial drawing of my Kantha purse from Part 1. I liked the strong lines and the paler lines and the irregular exes.  I drew a few more quick sketches based on the drawing to assist in the creation of yarn pieces 30cm long.


img_8236The second source was my stitch work with seed pods.IMG_5638This piece was selected because I was interested in translating the curved lines and into yarn and was in contrast with my first chosen piece.  I did some sketches to help me take the shapes further in a way that might work for yarn.

I stuck to a fairly neutral colour scheme for the pieces.


Drawing One – kantha purse

My first thought was to think about recycling and I used offcuts from a piece of lime linen used to make a top and my hand dyed quilting kona cotton in the pink. I twisted the two three quarter inch strips which were frayed at the edges.  I was represented the irregular sides on the drawing.  The distance between each twist is around 5cm.  The next piece I used jute twine used for the garden and thin cotton twist thread and knotted every five cms.  This was very smooth not as representational of the drawing.


I looked for some different sort of media and thought of the paperbark tree in my front yard used by the Australian Aborigines for fibre crafts.  I wrapped at irregular intervals paper thread around the bark.  In the photographs below you can see the trunk of the tree and the edge of the yarn piece shows the type of strip I was working with. The bark is slightly fluffy on the sides in keeping to some extent with the Drawing edge.  The next one was to knot at 1cm intervals sari silk to obtain an uneven yarn with knobs.  I think this has captured the drawing.



In the top yarn I was trying to exaggerate the jaggedness of the edges of the drawing.  Like looking at the drawing with a magnifying glass.  I used banana silk and the jute twine for the knotting.  The second piece relates to my Piece Two.

Piece Two – Stitched on Paper Seed Pod

It was interesting trying to work out how to make ‘holes’ in the string.  I used three pieces of tinted cotton medium and thin and decided to knot at intervals with the thin string. I think this is on the way to depicting the stitched piece but in a more irregular way!



So I had a few more attempts in the brown piece I used fine wire and wrapped hand dyed silk organza around it and then made a circular pattern I think this was reasonable.  The next one I used the manila hemp paper string and because it is relatively stiff it held its shape and allowed me to create the holes I was after.

Working on from the 30cm pieces I created further pieces 100cm in length. I took the recycle fabric and made a tighter piece in purple quilting cotton which could be used for wrapping or embellishment on a textile piece.

img_8230Next I took some novelty wool yarn and white Australian twisted cotton and created holes and knots to depict the stitched piece.  I took it further than the stitched piece in that I introduced more texture by knotting the yarns every approximately 10cms.  The novelty wool adds interest to the yarn.


img_8232For the last 100cm piece I used a piece of wire covered in string and really shaped the circular shapes.  I was tempted to add more fibre to the piece but decided to put it on a black background and leave it simple.


In concluding Exercise 4.1 opened my eyes to the possibilities of yarn  and potential use in a variety of textile works.  It has given me ideas for further pieces that I could work on including using dyed threads,spun wool and native plant fibres.

Yarn and Fibre file

I found researching for the Yarn and Fibre File(presented under its own Heading Category not this Blog) interesting in terms of the variety of yarns available and the continuing research into innovation in the field.  The major Trade Shows provided information that I was unaware of and I found the two major Shows in Florence (Pittimmagine) and Paris ( Premiere Vision – formerly Expofil) very illuminating.  It made me want to research all the companies/Ateliers and see what different types of product they were presenting.  I looked at a couple of samples and it helped me see trends say in Australian products and the organic natural fibre push.  This made me reflect on my own practice outside of this Course in terms of yarn and colour. I will continue to research and comment on the Ateliers mentioned and keep adding to my File on the Blog.

Yarn and Fibre File

What is Yarn?

Yarn is a basic unit in most textile construction.  The yarn is made largely by a combination of repeated twists and stretching of a bundle of fibres into a continuous line or by twisting a continuous filament (p9, The Yarn Book).

Composition of the threads impacts the texture and appearance of fabric with the amount of twist in the fibres determining balance and drape.  The number of fibres and plies help determine thickness and weight of the fabric.


There are two types of spinning used in yarn production extrusion spinning (manufactured fibres and filament silk) and staple spinning (natural fibres and silk waste).


The purpose of twist is to bind the fibres into a thread.


Single threads are almost always twisted in one direction and the convention is that fibres are rotated clockwise front he point of tension. It adds strength by binding the threads together.

Earliest evidence of yarn comes from a fragment unearthed at Catal Huyuk in Turkey and dated 8000 years old (p.17, The Yarn Book).

Types of Fibres  


Proteinic Fibres (Animal Fibres)

  • Wool
  • Silk
  • Mohair
  • Cashmere
  • Alpaca and Llama
  • Vicuna(high Andes)
  • Camel
  • Angora Rabbit
  • Possum (in New Zealand where introduced pest)

Cellulosic Fibres

  • Flax
  • Cotton
  • Hemp
  • Jute
  • Sisal
  • Nettle
  • Bamboo
  • Paper
  • Other plants


Regenerated Fibres

  • Rayon and Viscose
  • Acetate and tri-acetate

Synthetic Fibres

  • Nylon
  • Polyester
  • Acrylic
  • Elastane
  • Aramid fibres
  • Bi-compent fibres

Yarn in Fabric

Almost all fabric except felt are dependent on the yarn used to make them. Yarn impacts the behaviour and performance of the fabric.  Fibre, twist, radius and elasticity and surface lustre, colour and spinning design make the yarn suitable for the particular sort of fabric.  Designs sometimes use yarns as a decorative feature of the fabric or for the surface for a printed design or contrasting textures or weights.

Textiles in which Yarn plays an important role in the look and behaviour of the cloth include brocade, calico, chambray, chenille, chiffon, damask, denim, dupion, hessian, lawn, muslin, organdie, poplin, satin, sateen, spandex,taffeta, tweeds and velvet.

Contemporary Yarns

There is a new generation of yarns being shown at international design fairs and renewed interest in organic yarns.  A huge global industry is driven by scientific innovation from science research organisations (CSIRO in Australia), Universities and in-house research and development.

A specialised yarn show is Premiere Vision (formerly Expofil) in Paris and also the Pitti Immagine Filati show in Florence.

New Fibres include:

  • Aquacel – from seaweed
  • Dupont – new nylon threads
  • Bulgetti Filati – stretch steel
  • Plastic – recycled
  • Lenpur – vegetable cashmere
  • Bamboo
  • Soya
  • Nettle
  • Tactel
  • Sensory textiles

Major Exhibitions/Yarn Trade Shows

Pittimmagine (pittimmagine.com) Florence, Italy held twice a year

Case Study of two Australian companies who will exhibit there in 2017.

The Beach People(thebeachpeople.com.au) – from Northern Rivers of NSW. Their concept is a love of design, beach to the home, seaside luxe essentials using ‘textiles of finest materials easy to wash and use’. Their products are 100% organic cotton or cotton and the colour palette is mainly blue or blue/white and are used in the home or at the beach.

Ziggy Denim (ziggydenim.com) a Melbourne based company who make as the name suggests denim jeans, shorts, skirts.  Once again the predominate colour is blue.

Premiere Vision (formerly Expofil) (premierevision.com) Paris. Good website and for February 2017 “The Wearable Lab” will be launched which will be an area dedicated to invention and forward-looking ideas. There will be an exhibit of 7 inspiring, experimental works – featuring clothing and accessories – testifying to the fast moving developments in the Fashiontech scene over the past 10 years:

  • Sarah Angold(England)
  • Ezra +Tuba(Turkey)
  • Ying Gao(Canada)
  • Nervous System(USA)
  • Pierre Renaux (France)
  • Amy Winters (England)
  • Anouk Wipprecht(Netherlands)

Exhibitors in February 2017 include:

Ancestral Techniques

  • Ateliers Courtin Leather Traders – leather casing and wickerwork
  • Cemia-rich Material corp – washi paper weaving
  • Seven Senses Fabrics – khadi denim and Natural Dyeing
  • Sukumo Leather – leather natural indigo dyeing
  • Tamily Raden – hand weaving
  • Yushisa – Fujifu – wisteria hand weaving

Contemporary techniques includes

  • Amaike Textile Industry – mechanical weaving
  • Atelier Aymeric Le Deun – button maker
  • Atelier Lorriaux – artisanal methods of fabric finishing
  • P and L Studio – contemporary embroidery and textile manipulations
  • Sericyne – sericyne silk
  • The London Embroidery Studio
  • Yume Pema – laser cutting
  • Rare Thread – semi-mechanical weaving

Vernacular Techniques

  • Bee Luxe – artisanal embroidery
  • Living Blue – indigo natural dyeing
  • Natural cotton colour hand craft – knitting, crochet and macrame
  • Orylag – orylag yarn weaving


Cotton incorporated(cottoninc.com) USA – cotton fiber, product, product technology, nonwovens, technical assistance, training (there is a Cotton University!), fabrics and textile research.

Cotton Trends listed include recycled fibres, organic cotton, move towards the use of biotechnology, find continual improvement options throughout the supply chain, cottons share of global stable filer market, transDRY technology.

Invista (invista.com) – nylon, spandex, polyester and speciality material industries, polymers and plastics, outdoor, automotive industrial.  Collaboration to pursue innovation in biotechnology; availability of lycra finer produced with a renewable bio-based raw material; develop bio-derived raw materials.

Woolmark (woolmark.com) registered in France

Winsome textiles (winsometextile.com)- India- new product flake and chill yarn


Walsh Penny, “The Yarn Book”, 2006, A & C Black Publishers London