Assortment of industrially produced cotton threads. Assortment of industrially produced cotton threads.

A thread is a continuous strand (with fibres or filaments spun together) or combination of strands, made from any fibre or filament by reeling, spinning, twisting or throwing. A thread formed of a single strand is called a ‘single’ or an ‘end.’ A thread formed of two or more singles twisted together is a ‘plied thread.’ A 'plied thread' is often, and especially in UK English, called a yarn, but both terms are generally used synonymously.

There are many types of thread or yarn. In general, the more strands used, the thicker and stronger the thread. Twisting two or more strands together in order to create a thread is called plying. In textile terminology, a single strand or thread that is spun in an anti-clockwise direction is called s-spun. If it is spun in a clockwise direction it is called z-spun. When two or more strands are plied together in an anti-clockwise direction, the resulting thread is called S-plied. If done so in a clockwise direction, it is called Z-plied. Generally s-spun strands are Z-plied, and z-spun strands are S-plied.

There is also another system, the slash system, which is associated with the American textile historian, Louisa Bellinger. The slash system uses a / for an S-spun thread and a \ for a Z-spun thread (for instance, 1/,2\ is a Z-plied yarn made of two S-spun threads). The main problem with this system is that it is hard to define complex thread constructions with multiple plied threads.

See also: thread count

Source: BURNHAM, Dorothy (1980). Warp and Weft. A Textile Technology, Toronto: Royal Ontario Museum, p. 151.

Digital source of illustration (retrieved 8 July 2016).


Last modified on Saturday, 21 January 2017 12:25
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