Spinning Glossary

  • batt - carded fibres - usually a rectangle of fibres taken from a drum carder

  • carding - a method of preparation using hand carders or drum carder in which fibres are separated and generally aligned. Short and long fibres are blended together.

  • crimp - the wave in a lock of wool.

  • combing - a method of preparation using wool combs (or English combs) in which short fibres are removed and the longer ones aligned parallel.

  • cop - the cylinder of yarn wound on your spindle, perhaps tapered.

  • drafting - pulling out fibres to the required thickness during spinning. When using short-draw, the fibres are drafted before they are allowed to twist. In long-draw, the twist is allowed into the drafting zone and helps to draft out the fibres in a more random alignment.

  • felting - felt is a soft material from wool fibres that are tangled using heat, soap, water and friction. Certain fibres can felt during scouring or dyeing if care is not taken. Felt can be made into two or three-dimensional pieces by wet-felting or needle felting.

  • fulling - A method of finishing woollen cloth similar to felting.

  • lofty - A lofty yarn has air trapped within it and is light and bouncy.

  • plying - twisting two or more singles together to make plied yarn. This is done in the opposite direction that the singles were spun. How to ply

  • rolag - carded fibres - a tube of fibres made using hand carders

  • roving - a length of prepared fibres, with the fibres combed parallel for worstead spinning.

  • scouring - removal of dirt and grease (lanolin) from fleece. How to scour a fleece

  • singles - spun single-ply yarn. Some like to knit or weave with singles, but these are usually plied for balance and strength.

  • Tahkli (Takli) - a small spindle, perhaps supported in a bowl or on surface. Used for spinning short fibres or very fine yarn.

  • WPI (wraps per inch) - a measurement of the thickness of yarn. If you wind yarn around a special gauge or a ruler, the number of times you can wrap in one inch (25mm). Chunky and bulky yarn is fewer than 7 wraps per inch, Aran is 8, worsted is 9 and so on. More information and yarn weight chart

  • sliver - a length of carded fibres.

  • woollen - bouncy yarn made from rolags and spun long-draw. The fibres are deliberately less ordered in the yarn.

  • worsted - a smooth strong yarn made from combed fibres spun short-draw and kept parallel in the spinning.

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