MAS.962 | Spring 2010 | Graduate

Special Topics: New Textiles

Assignment 4: Yarn

Assignment 4: Conductive Spinning

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By Dawn Wendell

Three yarns made for this assignment.  (Final yarn in the foreground.)

I made yarn! Well, actually, I made 3 yarns, but I will only discuss my final yarn in detail.

The final yarn

My final yarn is a two-ply wool-steel blend. One of the plies is wool-only and the other is a mixture of conductive steel fibers and wool. The plies were spun using a drop-spindle and then plied by hand. The yarn was not soaked in hot water, so the twist isn’t set and its not quite a “finished” yarn. However, I am happy with it! My goal was to learn to spin, and by spinning both a normal wool ply and a wool-steel blend, I was able to experiment with the difference between spinning natural and man-made fibers. Also, I was hoping to make a conductive yarn but I wasn’t sure how much steel I needed to spin into the yarn for that. Luckily the amount of steel I added to the second ply was enough to have good conductance over the whole 2 meter yarn.

The steel fibers didn’t integrate very well with the wool even though I was trying to combine them evenly while spinning.

Close-up pictures of the yarn show the conductive steel fibers running through the second ply.

Yarn Specifications

The following properties of the yarn were measured:

Properties Measurements
Diameter 2-5 mm
Total yarn length 2.03 m
Ply 2
Fiber length 95 mm
Twist direction S-twist
Twist 3-4 turns/inch
Conductivity 1 ohm/inch

Extra Credit Measurements: Tex

I also measured the tex of the yarn. First I weighed the yarn I made. Then I converted its weight into a weight (in grams) per length (meters), which was 2.365 grams/meter. Since tex is the weight of 1000 meters of yarn, I multiplied 2.365 by 1000 to find that the tex of my yarn is 2,365.

Thoughts, Improvements, Suggestions

  • Spinning is HARD – This video makes it look easy!
    theartofmegan. “Spinning Yarn on a Drop Spindle – Tutorial.” YouTube. May 13, 2008. Accessed December 2, 2010.
    It takes a lot of patience and coordination to do correctly. However, I think this assignment was good because 2 yards was a reasonable amount to make, not too much, not too little.
  • The metal fibers seem soft at first, but the definitely “shed” more, so little bits of metal ended up all around where I was spinning. Also, I found that I couldn’t run my hand along the roving as tightly with the steel because it was more prickly than the wool when being held tightly.
  • Plying magnifies any inconsistencies in your tension from spinning. Luckily art yarns are very pretty! :-)

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Course Info

As Taught In
Spring 2010
Learning Resource Types
Other Video
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Projects with Examples
Design Assignments with Examples