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For sure, the difference in the twist will show up in some knitting patterns for textural emphasis.

Most of those have been reinterpreted to twist the stitch, for instance knitting from the left or the right of the stitch. I am not a proficient knitter, but have read some patterns that twist the stitch.

In old crochet patterns, those before 1930, and Brittish printed patterns, slip stitch is a single crochet, single crochet is their double crochet, etc. It does make for some grand mistakes if a person doesn't pay strict attention before starting.

I lucked out when learning to crochet and knit. I had a very close great aunt who helped me. She was a Brittish war bride, so had a difficult time learning the American form of writing a pattern. We worked on the differences after Tea at least once a week.

Commercially made yarns do not distinguish S and Z twist, and for most people just going to the shop to buy the yarn, they don't know the difference and wouldn't recognize it if it were available.

I do know that it is hard to work with a twist that is "backwards" for you. Lefthanded people deal with that problem a lot. I think that is why they don't like to knit!

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Ohhh, I can avoid knitting in the wrong side of the stitch (which I HATE), if I spin some Z twist yarn? I'm in! Of course, my spinning is not to the quality of producing the thinner gauges I usually prefer to knit yet.

I don't think (at least with commercial yarn) that knitting left handed is hard at all actually. I can do both and I occasionly will knit right handed one way and left back to avoid perling because I can produce a piece of stockinette faster that way, but in most cases, the end result is not to my liking, because every other row leans the other way, so it's actually a sort of pattern stitch. Whether you knit right or left handed, you just have to turn your work at the end of the row so you don't unply your yarn.

Julie

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The s or z twist matters in weaving too, especially in card weaving, which is also becoming popular again with the re-enactment groups. It alters the pattern quite dramatically if ignored, so can be made a feature.
I wonder if one spun one's own embroidery yarns if the twist would be soooooo important, ie for rayon, or are some of these fancy yarns actually navaho-plied? I haven't used them but have heard that you can only thread them successfully from one end. I have struck the problem with cotton threads so perhaps that is in the finish, rather than the way they are spun, as it doesn't seem to happen with sewing or knit/crochet threads if used for embroidery.
Sue, like you I love the older books, and try and hang on to them if I can. The book that really inspired me was Rachel Brown's Weaving, Spinning and Dyeing book. My copy is falling to pieces, and at over AUD 75.00 for a second-hand copy (faint with shock!) over here, I won't be replacing it in a hurry! As I recommend it to many newbie spinners I sell spindles to (those who like to build their own equipment) even Ebay is getting expensive due to the competition, LoL! But there is a lot of info in those older books that doesn't appear in the newer ones so my very tattered spinning library is worth its weight in gold!
I do wonder if the twist comes from some of the older spinning techniques like thigh spinning - where you use your hands and no spindle, and knit it as you go along. That would make a lot of sense as the twist would be vital for the whole thing holding together.
Cheers, Caroline, who us desperately fighting a compulsion for some more fleece!


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Well, traditionally Crewel wool is a specific type of wool from a sheep native to somewhere in the British Isles that tends to cause a thread/yarn with a little bit of a curl (crewl) to it. So, I think for that, it's that curl more than the twist that matters. Crewel wool seems to be the most forgiving. I've never seen Navaho-plied embroidery thread.

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Books are expensive anywhere, especially those with art techniques as the subject matter. I hate the thought of granddaughter's text books!! She will be home schooled this coming year, I think, and the more I look into it the more expensive it becomes even with second hand books.

I have never done any of the Crewel embroidery, so have no reference point on that, but know it is a special technique.

I have seen lots of programs for rebinding books. Our museums do summer programs on that during summer school breaks. Have you ever thought about rebinding your precious books?

I was trying to use the Colcha embroidery on Sabanilla. This is an art form from our Spanish explorers in this area of the world. Sabanilla is "little sheet" and is a coarse tabby. The Colcha is similar to the Crewel and the Redwork embroideries. My hand spun wool yarns for the embroidery were very hard to work with. I wasn't thinking of how the twist in it went. Maybe I should get it back out of my UFO box and try again. (UFO = UnFinished Objects)

Ok, I will look up the chapters in my books on S and Z twists and come up with an article for you. Here I have been thinking in terms of woolen and worsted spinning when maybe I should have been thinking of S and Z!!

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Julie, there is a lot of embroidery on Middle-Eastern clothing, is that done in cotton or wool? I would assume that if wool is used it would be from a strong fleece so that there is less likelihood of it rubbing and pilling. It would also need to be much tighter spun so it could withstand the punishment the thread gets as it is embroidered. It would take a fair amount of rough treatment as its woven too. I would presume the sheep are bred more for their meat-production rather than their fleece so the wool would be quite coarse. Most of the ethnic fabrics I saw when in that area years and years ago (in another lifetime?) were very flimsy, and almost see-through at times, so obviously of cotton, although the jackets worn by the women looked as if they were wool, and very heavily embroidered. If I'd known then how interested I'd be about them in the future, I would have paid far more attention to details than I did. According to an Iranian friend, the clothing worn by tribeswomen like the Kochis would have been of the most expensive fabrics they could get hold of, including velvet and silks and satins - they were certainly bright to the point of being lurid. I would assume that much of what they wear now would be mass produced and factory decorated, although the colour choices do not seem to have changed that much.
And I would have to presume that if they were still spinning their own yarn for fabric production, they were using either drop spindles or upright charkhas.
An awful lot of assumptions, lol, I should really quit while I'm ahead, and sink back into lurkdom! But them I'd never know the answers to my ponderings!
Cheers, Caroline


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Sue, I've found an article on pre-historic thigh spinning on Karen Madigans site:BellaOnline ALERT: Raw URLs are not allowed in these forums for security reasons. Please use UBB code. If you don't know how to do UBB code just post here for help - we will help out!


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Well, the reason I don't write about Middle Eastern textiles on my Middle Eastern Culture site (other than the fact that I have to be careful not to overlap with any of the fibre sites), is that I start looking at documents and pictures and asking the same kinds of questions you are, where you really need to be handling the item to answer it. There is so much poor and bad information out there, I really don't want to add to it.

Here's sort of a summary of what I do know - many types of embroidery came to Europe via Egypt and many of the oldest samples are from Egypt. 50 years ago or so it was thought that many of the techniques were invented in Egypt, but it turns out that a combination of market forces and climate resulted in the preservation of samples in Egypt. A lot of embroidery was done on silk with silk thread, linen and wool were also used. Hardanger (which I probably misspelled because I always do), for instance was originally an Egyptian technique on fine silk gauze. Pattern darning was also a very common decorative form.

A web search on Palestian Embroidery turns up some beautiful heavily decorated cross-stitch dresses and traditional motifs.

Ok, end of brain dump.

Julie

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Do not worry about overlapping the Spinning site! It would be very hard for me also, to not hit on knitting and crochet or embroidery to go with the sheep, spinning and whatever else we can do with our hand spun yarns. I don't know if we can cross-post articles of interest on several different sites. I do know there are a lot of Peg Thomas articles on sheep, spinning, knitting, etc that would be very hard to replace. And I know some of them are cross referenced or moved to another site with links to them.

It is a cultural thing that those over in the eastern lands do. My friend Ralph Dunlap was invited to be part of the USA team to go to Uzbekestan (sp?)as a specialist in fiber arts and sheep production, for several trips. Another friend went to another part of the Far East, I can't remember right now which country, as a livestock specialist.

The Karacul sheep are from Uzbekestan originally. Also called the "Fat Tailed Sheep". Most of their wool is very coarse with softer under fiber. Easy to felt, easy to spin, and they do the thigh spin thing too!

Ralph brought back some Wedding Ring scarves from Uzb. They are of very finely spun Mohair and knitted with larger needles. Custom says when girls can spin and knit these they are ready for marriage. The one I bought from Ralph does indeed run through my ring! It is a very fine fiber in silver! Beautiful thing.

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Most of these fabrics are very beautiful and amazingly intricate. Sadly they are not appreciated here in Australia, where hand-made is almost an insult. In some countries these ancient skills are being revived and getting the respect and recognition they deserve, but you have to wonder how many of the actual spinners and weavers are getting a fair price for their work. Almost nothing, I would suspect, considering the opium poppy tends to still be a major crop in those same areas in the Golden Triangle and the Middle East.
There was a company in Sydney importing embroidery from the very, very north of Pakistan, but the wool that was used was not local to the area, nor were the ground fabrics. The importers provided it for them. This would surely cause a subtle change in the embroidery, however unintended, as the colours would gradually alter depending on which colours are fashionable here in the West. A documentary commented on how even the local children were wearing hand knits in a far greater range of colours than was traditional! The yarn used was no longer the local hand-spun.
I've read how this affected the Navaho (sp?) with their traditional rug weaving, but this must have been going on nearly everywhere since the Industrial Revolution, once it became easier and cheaper to use non-traditional materials and colours.
I know that in Scotland (my heritage is showing) the modern tartans are quite dramatically different to those before 1745, when tartans were banned for a long while. By the time they were allowed again there were the huge spinning mills spitting out yarns from modern chemical dyes, so of course the colours changed. There were probably very few people around who had seen an original tartan, even if the setts/patterns had survived.
I know that culture evolves, and that even the ancient Egyptians would have found Roman yarns and fabrics strange, but modern influences may not have quite as beneficial an effect , as has happened in the past.


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