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









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