What is Pirn Used For in Textile Weaving

Learn about what is a pirn, its types & how does it work for textile weaving

Pirn is one of the simplest tools in weaving. It consists of a series of threads stretched out across what are called warp threads. The pirn is what holds the yarn onto the loom, or what keeps it against or on top of the warp threads while you are picking new yarn for each row. The way that you can tell what kind of pirn is being used is by what yarns the weaver is using.

What is Pirn Used For in Textile Weaving

How does a Pirn work in Weaving

A pirn is a turning part of the weaving machine that winds yarn onto a bobbin or spool. It may be a completely stand-alone device, an attachment to the main loom, used as a backup in case all bobbins on the machine become full, or built into the cloth beam. These devices have been available since 1880 onwards and can wind from 100 ends per day up to 600 or more ends per day. Less common uses of pirns are for example as “printing rollers” for printing textiles with plastic materials such as PVC coated polyester film.

Here is a great video to learn about pirns. 

Types of Pirns and their uses

The type of pirns used in the textile industry is classified by the diameter of their hole. For example, a 0.8mm pirn will only work for light-weight fabrics, while 2mm can be used with heavier ones like tweed. This way, operators are able to deal with different types of fabric without having to wind them on multiple different pirns. 

How to use a Pirn

Below you can find the simple steps to learn how to use a Pirn.

  • Hold the pirn in your left hand and wind it around so you can see the yarn. The loop of the pirn should be on top when winding.
  • Now, take your right hand and push down on this loop so that it winds towards the bottom of the pirn. 
  • Do this until there is no more room and then stop pushing with your right hand. 
  • Pick up the bottom of this wrap with your left thumb and index finger and bring it up to meet where you started winding with your right hand, pulling tightly at first but gradually releasing tension as you go up if needed for a seamless wrap (more details about wrapping). 
  • Tightly coil the pirn and move up to the second notch. The empty notches can be used as a spacer for later wraps or just to rest it on if you want (more details about wrapping).
  • Replace your right hand with your left and use the same winding technique as before. 
  • Continue this process until there is no more yarn.

Difference Between Pirn, Shuttle & Bobbin

Pirns and shuttles are both used to create and attach loops of yarn, called knots, to a warp thread. The pirn is a long rod around which yarn is wound – pirns can also be wood or plastic. A shuttle is an object about the size of the weaver’s hand that’s pushed back and forth along the length of the loom frame to form loops with one end on the pirn and one end on the warp thread. Bobbins resemble pirns except they’re larger in diameter allowing more than 1 yard of sewing thread.