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Crocheters and Knitters use yarn, most are s twisted and a few are z twisted. Learn how to distinguish the two and see which one you prefer. It also explains why yarn splits so much using S twisted yarn.
It’s Saturday morning, and I get an idea about what to crochet next. It will be a beautiful hat with lots of texture and drape. I even have the color visualized. I’m heading to my yarn stash to find just the right skein of yarn in the color and weight I want to use. It doesn’t take me long, I found it. Excited, I sit down, grab my crochet hook and get started. But it doesn’t take long until frustration kicks in. The yarn is splitting and it’s hard to crochet like that. A few minutes later, I’m re-thinking my decision about the yarn I picked from my stash. But WHY does it split?
Does this sound familiar? It took me a long time to figure out there is not just one type of yarn and not all yarn splits. Let’s talk about the science behind it and allow you to understand why yarn is different so you can make an informed decision about which yarn to work with. And let’s face it, we are all yarn obsessed right?
How is yarn spun?
Yarn is made up of plied strands. Before they are made into plied yarn, the plied strands are spun counter-clockwise (like a Z). But to prevent curling, the plied strands are now spun together clockwise (like an S). That is true for most yarn which turns them into S twisted yarn.
Now if you would spin the plied strands clockwise and then combine the plied strands counter-clockwise you would create Z twisted yarn.
How does the S vs Z Twist affect crocheting?
Well, when you crochet with S twisted yarn and crochet by yarning over, you turn your hook counter-clockwise. But the S twisted yarn was spun clockwise. So, because you crochet in one direction and the yarn is going in the other direction, you automatically split the yarn.
However, Z twisted yarn is spun counter-clockwise which is the same direction as you crochet (such as yarning over). That means you prevent the splitting and actually enforce the twist.
How does the twist affect Lefties?
Everything mentioned above is for right-handed crocheters. So for lefties, it is actually reversed. Lefties have an easier time crocheting with S twisted yarn as both crocheting and yarn spun direction are the same. That means lefties have a harder time crocheting with Z twisted yarn.
Is Z twisted yarn the best yarn for crocheters to prevent yarn splitting?
Technically, YES, IF you are right-handed. Because of the direction of the twist of the plied yarn, you can crochet easier, have great drape and stitch definition. And let’s not forget about the frustration when you see your yarn splitting when you use S twisted yarn.
Here are a few examples of Z twisted yarn, you might want to check out:
This is ZZ Twist by Lion Brand Yarns and has an incredible texture and softness to it. It’s available only in worsted weight.
This is Furls Crochet’s Whimo Merino Yarn which is available in different sizes (DK and worsted) and has an amazing stitch definition and softness when crocheting with it.
Furls Crochet’s Whims Merino Yarn Review
CLOSE UP and DEMONSTRATION of how it works up
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What if I want to use S twisted yarn as righty OR Z twisted yarn as a lefty? What can I do to prevent splitting?
Well, you could crochet yarn under instead of yarn over, as that changes the direction of how you crochet. But that can create a tighter stitch definition and might even hurt your arm and wrist.
However, crocheters who frequently crochet amigurumis, like using yarn under as that helps them create tighter stitches which in return creates fewer gaps for the stuffing to peak through.
If you want to read more about Yarn Under vs Yarn Over, please check out my detailed article about it.
So how does the twist affect Knitters?
Well, if you knit the continental style, you actually want to use S twisted yarn as you knit and move the yarn in the same direction. Z twisted yarn would split using the continental style (picking) of knitting. However, if you use the throwing method use actually want to use Z twisted yarn as the direction of knitting and moving the yarn is the same. In this case, S twisted yarn would split with this method of knitting. Again for lefties, this would be reversed.
If you want to know a little bit more about how the yarn twisting affects knitting and crocheting, check out YarnSub’s article.
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