MAS.962 | Spring 2010 | Graduate

Special Topics: New Textiles

Assignment 4: Yarn

Assignment 4: Conductive Vine

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By Xiao Xiao

Stretchy, electrically insulated, textured.


Because conductive yarns short themselves out easily if when not carefully used, I wanted to create a yarn that’s insulated on the outside. I took inspiration from normal insulated wire and tried to create the yarn version of an outside sheath with conductive thread running in the middle. I also wanted to take advantage of the fact that yarns can be stretchy to add some elasticity to my yarn.

A coil of the Conductive Vine yarn.


In my personal yarn collection, I had a roll of Cascade Fixation, a cotton-elatic blend, which had a fair amount of stretch. I used this yarn to construct a narrow tube using the i-cord technique with size 3 needles. Since I used thin needles and a tight knitting technique, my resulting product had tight stitching and no visible holes.

The yarn and needles used for this assignment.

After knitting my i-cord tube, I thread a length of 4-ply conductive thread through the center of the tube. I stretched the tube with the thread inside so that I’ll have enough non-stretchy core for when the outside is fully stretched. Finally, I tied off the two ends of the conductive thread to the ends of the outside tube to prevent slipping.


  • Diameter: 5556 micrometers
  • Length: 2.25 yards, 3.04 years stretched
  • Ply: 2 for Cascade Fixation
  • Fiber Length: 18 mm for Cascade Fixation
  • Twist Direction: N/A for my yarn, S for Cascade Fixation
  • Twist: N/A for my yarn, 16 turns/inch for Cascade Fixation
  • Conductivity: 1.4 Ohms/Inch

Another view of the Conductive Vine yarn.


I was happy with how the yarn turned out. I also like how the variated Cascade Fixation gave my yarn a gentle gradient between light and dark green. If I were to do this again, I would use even small-sized needles to knit the tube because sometimes the extra conductive yarn on the inside peeks out a little bit when the yarn is in relaxed position.

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Spring 2010
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