Designary Textile

Know thy yarn

A brief glossary about the types of yarns and their characteristics.

Filament yarn :  One of the two types of polyester yarns, it is made by taking the single polyester filament, grouping them together and then twisting or air-entangling them to make them workable. A monofilament yarn has a single polyester fibre that is usually not twisted.

Ply(Plies) : Two or more yarns are twisted together. So a 2-ply yarn will have two single strands while a 3-ply will have three single strands.


Plying : A process to create a strong, balanced yarn by twisting. The strands are twisted together in the direction opposite to in which they are spun.

Skein : The shape in which yarn is sold to prevent it from becoming tangled or knotted.

Spun yarn : The other type of polyester yarn which is spun (hand or machine).

Staple yarns : Used almost exclusively in cut-pile carpets, they are made by chopping continuous filament yarn into typically 3-inch to 8-inch lengths of fibre that are spun or twisted into yarn, forming spun/staple yarns that are heat set to provide yarn twist retention.

Thread : Type of yarn intended for sewing by hand or machine.

Twist : Yarns are categorised into two types depending on the direction the strands are twisted: S-twist and Z-twist yarn.


Worsted count/Spinning count : An indirect measure of the fineness of the fibre in a worsted wool yarn expressed as the number of 560-yard (512 m) lengths (hanks) of worsted yarn that a pound (0.45 kg) of wool yields. The finer the wool, the more yarn and the higher the count.

Yarn : Long continuous length of interlocked fibres, suitable for use in the production of textiles, sewing, crocheting, knitting, weaving, embroidery, and rope making. There are broadly two kinds of yarns : Animal/Plant-based yarns and polyester yarns.

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