Glossary of Spinning Terms

TermDescription
BattA wide, rolled-up bundle of carded fleece that unrolls into a blanket.
BenchA table of the spinning wheel on which the wheel and spinning mechanism are mounted
BulkWool's filling power or "bounce" and is the volume occupied by wool fibers. It can be applied to loose wools, sliver, or yarn and is expressed as cm3/g measured in a bulkometer. Loose wools can range from 20 to 35 cm3/g with the values for sliver and yarn being progressively lower.
Butt-endThe end that was cut in shearing the sheep.
CardingCombing and aligning the fibers of the cleaned fleece. A hand carder or a drum carder is used.
DraftPulling out of fibers to allow only a certain amount of the fiber to twist into thread
Drafting triangleFanned out fibers forming a triangle between an active hand and a passive hand in spinning.
DrawA technique of pulling out fibers in the spinning process. The technique includes long draw and short draw.
Drive bandA cord carrying the power from the large wheel to the spindle or bobbin/pulley
Drop spindleA stick with a weighted whorl that is used to twist fibers into thread (aka handspindle).
Drum carderA drum-like tool that cards fibers for spinning.
FleeceRaw wool sheered from a sheep or goat before it isprocessed into yarn.
Grease woolUnwashed wool as it comes off of a sheep.
GristYarn characteristic describing the relationship between yarn's weight and its length. Grist is expressed in units of length per units of weight. (Eg. 10 yards per ounce or 160 yards per pound.)
Hand carderA tool used to hand card is typically a large paddle set with 1/4 inch (0.6 cm) curved metal tines.
HankA coil or skein of yarn. A measurement of the length per unit mass of cloth or yarn, which varies according to the type being measured. A hank of worsted wool is 560 yards long (560 yd/lb = 1.129 km/kg).
HoggetA yearling sheep (Brit.). A lamb between weaning and first shearing (NZ).
KempKemp is generally a chalky-white, brittle, weak fiber which may be mixed with normal fibers in a sheep's wool fleece. Kemp fibers are often detached from the skin. This hair is not desirable in a fleece, as it does not accept dye, minimizing both the quality and the value of the wool.
KnotA 40-yard strand skein of yarn wound on a reel or a niddy-noddy that measures 2 yards in circumference = 80 yards.
LeaderA piece of yarn that is attached to the shaft of a bobbin to start spinning new yarn.
Niddy-noddyA universal folk name describing a double-headed tool used to skein spun yarn. The implement was called a hand reel in Colonial days.
NoilLarge clumps of tangled wool and knots combed out of wool fiber before spinning.
QuillA weaver's spindle.
RolagA roll of fibre generally used to spin woolen yarn. A rolag is created by first carding the fibre, using hand cards, and then by gently rolling the fibre off the cards. If properly prepared, a rolag will be uniform in width, distributing the fibers evenly.
RovingFiber is carded into a long continuous cord that is 2"-3" thick. The fibers are going in multiple directions (but generally more aligned than a rolag or batt). This preparation of fiber is best suited to woolen spinning.
S-twistYarn spun with a counterclockwise twist.
ScourThe textile synonym for washing, especially in the sense of getting something thoroughly clean.
SkeinA length of yarn or thread that has been loosely coiled and knotted.
SkeiningWinding the thread off the spindle.
SkirtingThe process of removing junk wool, stains, second cuts and vegetable matter (VM) from the wool fleece prior to processing or offering for sale.
SliverLong strips of fiber created by carding or combing and drawing into long strips. Sliver is a thinner version of roving.
SlubsThick and thin areas in spun yarn.
Spinning countA measure of wool diameter developed in England. It is defined as the number of hanks of yarn that can be spun from a pound of clean wool top.
StapleLength of a lock of fleece or a single fiber.
StrickA bundle of flax prepared for spinning after the tow has been removed (long fibers only).
Suint(Pronounced Soo-INT). Concentrated sheep sweat. It consists largely of potassium-based salts of fatty acids, combined with sulfate, phosphate, and nitrogen compounds. The “grease” part is a form of wax. In the trade, this stuff is referred to as wool fat. As extracted from the scouring process, it is called degras, and in a refined form comes to market as lanolin.
TopFiber is combed to provide spinning fiber in which all the fibers are parallel. This preparation of fiber is best suited to worsted or semi worsted spinning.
TowShort fibers left after flax is combed out.
WoolenA yarn spun from a rolag using a long draw technique. Woolen yarn is soft, light, stretchy, and full of air as opposed to worsted yarn that is strong, dense, and sleek.
Worsted1. A technique that involves spinning of long parallel fibers all aligned in the same direction from butt-end to tip. A short draw is used to spin worsted wool. The contrasting technique is woolen. 2. A particular weight of yarn that produces a gauge of 16–20 stitches per 4 inches of stockinette, and is best knitted with 4.5mm to 5.5mm needles (US size 7–9).
WuzzingSpinning out the water when washing, scouring, and rinsing fleece or yarn. It operates on the same principle as the spin cycle on a washing machine.
Z-twistYarn spun with a clockwise twist.
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