Twisting Left & Right
Isn't it about time I wrote a newsletter on yarn twist? Doris and I were the first to put "It's Z-twisted!" right on the yarn label. Back in 2005 I attended my first yarn industry show. I got quizzical "I don't knows" when I asked company reps why their yarns are twisted the other way (S-twisted).
Thirteen years into my yarn twist journey I most of all want every crocheter to be aware of the complex dynamic energy twist adds. It's inspiring and offers rich insight.
Each spun yarn (thread, string, etc.) comes to us already packed with a unique twist energy. Subtly blending and managing this energy is a big part of the yarn designer's expertise.
Two Dynamic Forces Interacting
Maybe it seems like we're acting upon an inert material when we start crocheting with a yarn. It may seem like what we like (or don't) about our swatch is the fiber content, or whether we're using a good crochet hook size for it, or a good stitch pattern.
If you overlook twist (the amount and direction of), you might even be tempted to question your own crochet abilities instead.
As we crochet we contribute a unique new twist energy to the yarn's carefully calibrated one. It's a kinetic relationship. It's these two dynamic forces that blocking often harmonizes.
S- and Z-Twist
Describing twist direction is tricky. It depends on one's vantage point. I like "S" and "Z" instead of left, right, clockwise, and so on. It's how I tend to look at yarn: I hold up a strand so that it hangs from top to bottom.
Looked at this way, a twisted yarn surface either slants this way \ (like the middle of an "S") or this / (like the middle of a "Z").
(Note: keep in mind that spinners tend to describe S and Z in terms of the direction the spinning wheel turns.)
Look at the two photos below. I chose a swatch with yarn strands that are elongated and vertical. The yarn has a strong surface twist texture. Can you see how the yarn texture slants / in the left photo and \ in the other photo?