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What is "barber poling" - Definition & Explanation
Last Updated on: 22-Mar-2023 (1 year, 2 months, 6 days ago)
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barber poling

Barber poling is a distinctive effect or pattern observed in certain types of textile yarns or fabrics. It is characterized by the appearance of spiraling or twisting bands of alternating colors along the length of the yarn or fabric. The term "barber poling" is derived from the resemblance of these twisted bands to the red and white spiraling poles commonly seen outside barber shops.

History and Origin

The technique of barber poling has been used in textile production for centuries. Its exact origins are unclear, but historical evidence suggests that it has been employed in various cultures around the world. The pattern is commonly associated with traditional hand-spun yarns, particularly those produced using spindle spinning techniques.

Barber poling gained popularity in the textile industry during the Industrial Revolution when mechanized spinning processes were introduced. With the advent of more advanced spinning technologies, it became possible to create barber poling effects in a controlled and consistent manner.

Types of Barber Poling

Barber poling can occur in different forms, depending on the yarn or fabric structure and the production technique used. Some common types include:

  1. Single Barber Poling: In this type, a single set of twisted bands is formed, creating a spiral effect along the length of the yarn or fabric.
  2. Double Barber Poling: Double barber poling involves the formation of two sets of twisted bands, resulting in a more intricate and visually striking pattern.
  3. Multicolored Barber Poling: This type incorporates more than two colors in the twisting bands, producing a vibrant and dynamic effect.
  4. Variegated Barber Poling: Variegated barber poling involves the use of yarns with varied color combinations, resulting in a random and unique pattern.

Tips for Handling Barber Poling

When working with yarns or fabrics that exhibit barber poling, it is essential to consider the following tips:

  • Pattern Alignment: Pay attention to the alignment of the twisted bands in the yarn or fabric when cutting or sewing to ensure consistency in the pattern.
  • Directional Placement: Consider the directionality of the barber poling pattern when designing or constructing garments to enhance the overall aesthetic appeal.
  • Matching and Balancing: If using barber poled yarns in a project that requires symmetry, ensure that the twisted bands match or balance on opposite sides for a harmonious outcome.
  • Seam Placement: When joining barber poled fabrics, carefully plan the placement of seams to maintain the continuity of the pattern and minimize disruption.
  • Care Instructions: Follow specific care instructions provided by the manufacturer to preserve the appearance and integrity of barber poled textiles, as they may have unique requirements.

Top International Users and Manufacturers

Several international textile brands and manufacturers incorporate barber poling effects in their products. Here are a few notable examples:

  • Patagonia: Patagonia, a renowned outdoor clothing brand, incorporates barber poling patterns in their knitwear and performance garments, adding visual interest and a unique touch to their designs.
  • Eileen Fisher: Eileen Fisher, known for its sustainable and ethically produced clothing, utilizes barber poling effects in their knitwear collections, enhancing the texture and aesthetic appeal.
  • Missoni: Missoni, an iconic Italian fashion house, often features barber poling patterns in their signature knitwear, creating vibrant and intricate designs that are instantly recognizable.
  • Icebreaker: Icebreaker, a New Zealand-based outdoor clothing brand, incorporates barber poling effects in their merino wool garments, adding a touch of uniqueness and style to their performance-driven products.

In conclusion, barber poling is a captivating pattern observed in textile yarns and fabrics, characterized by twisted bands of alternating colors. With its historical significance and various types, barber poling adds a visually appealing and dynamic element to textiles. By considering the handling tips and exploring the creations of top international users and manufacturers, one can appreciate the artistry and versatility of barber poling in the world of textiles.


barber poling
Wood that is the same but appears to be different shades at different viewing or illumination angles. This is often due to grain direction in plywood or veneer that is bookmatched. May be intentional (as in diamond veneering) or unintentional (as in plywood).

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