I last used high-twist yarns when I was doing my final Bradford project. I wove three pieces using high-twist silk in the weft — it was very effective but harsh too. I have been wanting to try using other over-twisted yarns and see whether they give more wearable results.

So here’s the blue warp with a high-twist wool in the weft. On the loom it was practically transparent and rather tricky to see what I was doing…

high twist on loom

…but off the loom, my treadling errors are suddenly highly visible!

high twist off loom

In hot water it crinkled up beautifully to give dark pleats on one side…

high twist after washing

…and light pleats on the other.

high twist light side

The cloth is soft and stretchy, very nice to handle.

high twist stretched

The contrast between the high-twist weft and an ordinary weft — the same yarn as in the warp (and in answer to Margreet, yes, these are the yarns from Shirley Pinder!) — is striking:

high twist and balanced

I’m very encouraged by this little sample. I’ll need to concentrate while I’m treadling, though. I tied up the loom to give myself a left-right-left-right pattern with my feet, thinking that this would be reasonably fool-proof — but I clearly under-estimated the fool. Another thing I am not quite happy about is the right selvedge. It’s the one at the top of the photo above and you can see little twists of yarn protruding. This might be expected for a high-twist weft, but… close inspection of the left selvedge shows that it is absolutely regular with no protruberances at all. My left selvedge is consistently neater than my right, no matter what I am weaving, but the difference doesn’t normally show up quite so distinctly!

crinkly” was posted by Cally on 9 Feb 2013 at

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14 Responses

  1. Lisa
    | Reply

    I love these samples. I have done some collapse using the 3/1, 1/3 twill with a substantially finer weft and had good results, but the degree of collapse with the overtwist is wonderful. More please:))

    • Cally
      | Reply

      I meant to include in my post that this is 1/3 and 3/1 twill as well, though that may (just!) be visible in the photos. I wondered whether I would get pleating with the regular weft (which is the same yarn as the warp but used singly rather than double, so essentially half the grist) but I think it requires a denser sett. The over-twisted yarn seems to like a more open sett so I am not sure I can get both effects at the same time!

  2. Margery
    | Reply

    Ooo, Cally, I love this crinkly stuff, and the blues. Always so interesting to see what happens after the wash.

  3. Margreet
    | Reply

    Lovely result! You used them as singles this time around? Isn’t it annoying to have one side very often ending up neater than the other. Did you use a floating selvedge thread here?

    • Cally
      | Reply

      I used two strands here rather than the three I am using in the echo weave — getting closer to single ends but not there yet! I didn’t use a floating selvedge, though I might add one to see whether that helps me get a neater finish on the right. I have plenty to practise on…

      • Margreet
        | Reply

        I was not sure, looking at your warp photo, if it was 1 or 2 threads I could see
        I’m about to make a warp myself with the yarns.
        Have to count my heddles before deciding with how many threads to warp 😉
        Let us hear if a floating selvedge is making a difference

  4. Bonnie Inouye
    | Reply

    Cally, when I use 1/3 and 3/1 twill for furrowed fabric, I sett the warp about the same as I would for a balanced twill with the same yarn as weft. But then I choose a fine weave around one-sixth or one-eighth of the size, not half but finer than half. I don’t “place” it nor beat hard, just beat normally.

    You are getting nice results with this. It would be fun as one of the wefts in double weave or four-color double weave… just suggesting more fun.

    • Cally
      | Reply

      That’s interesting, thanks Bonnie. The sett I have is about right for what you describe so I shall see if I can find an “ordinary” weft about the same size as the over-twisted one (which is very much finer than the warp yarn). It might be fun to mix them up a bit. There are so many games to play and it is hard to know which to play first!

  5. marion
    | Reply

    Like Margreet I used floating selvedges too. And I spun the weft yarn with quite a lot of twist and it pleated lovely. But I found out the yarn needs space to ‘crinkle’ so my warp was not to close set either.

    • Cally
      | Reply

      Thanks Marion. I have added a floating selvedge for my next sample piece.

  6. Sandra Rude
    | Reply

    Two things to try to get those selvedges alike: first, turn your shuttle around the other way (if the thread exits at the front, turn so it exits at the back). See if the *other* selvedge is now the wonky one. If so, try option #2, which is to move yourself a little toward the wonky selvedge, since often the problem is that you throw more strongly with one hand than the other. See if moving the bench (or yourself) changes the selvedge. Good luck! The pleats are wonderful!

    • Cally
      | Reply

      It’s not making any obvious difference on the loom – but I didn’t get the loopy bits until I washed it, so it will be interesting to see what happens when I cut the next samples off!

  7. Clare
    | Reply

    Very nice, it looks really effective. I’ve wanted to try this for a while and am wondering whether to try overspinning commercial yarn to add twist. I have some fine supersoft merino that I might try it with. Have you ever tried that or have you used bought yarns ready overtwisted? I think I might have to add quite a lot of extra twist.

    • Cally
      | Reply

      Hi Clare

      I’ve only used yarns which I’ve bought for the purpose and haven’t tried over-spinning them myself. But I know that some weavers have done this with good results – I’m just too lazy!

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