Each Wednesday, I post the wooly word (or words) of the week. When the new word is posted, the previous week's word is moved to this glossary.
Batt: a rectangle of carded fiber produced by using a drum carder
Carding: a method of preparing fibers using carding cloth that separates fibers from each other and aligns them randomly. Carding does not eliminate fibers, but blends all fibers together that are introduced to the carding cloth. The results of carding are rolags (using handcards), batts (drum carder), or roving (batts that have been made into strips).
Carding cloth: Carding cloth is a grid of small wire teeth set into a background material such as leather or rubber. The density of the wire teeth per square inch determines the kind of fibers that can be carded on it. For example, cotton carders typically have 250 or more teeth per square inch, while general purpose handcards can range from 75 - 120 teeth per square inch.
Drafting: The method of how fiber is pulled out from the fiber supply and presented to the twist, which enters the fiber to form yarn. There are two main yarn families based on drafting method: worsted and woolen. Drafting fiber is one key component of yarn design, as it determines the size (diameter) of the yarn and also strongly influences yarn characteristics such as luster (shine vs. matte), loft (dense vs. airy), elasticity (drape vs. stretchiness), strength, resistance to abrasion, stitch definition, and surface texture (smooth vs. fuzzy).
FO: finished object; spinners often consider yarn itself a finished object, while a knitter or weaver sees yarn as just the beginning of a project
Grist: The thickness or weight of a yarn, usually expressed in yards per pound or meters per kilo.
Niddy-noddy: A tool that allows for measurement of the yardage in a skein while forming the skein. The most common skein diameters created on a noddy is 1, 1.5 or 2 yards, but there are miniature versions as well. The length of the yarn is wound around the four ends of the niddy noddy. The number of times it has been wound multiplied by the length of the niddy noddy equals the total length of yarn in the skein.
Rolag: a cylinder of carded fiber produced by using handcards
Roving: a strip of carded fiber
Semiwoolen: This drafting method uses woolen style drafting with any fiber preparation, not just carded short fibers. Twist is allowed into the fiber supply as fibers are drafted. Semiwoolen yarns will lean towards woolen characteristics on the yarn spectrum, usually having lots of elasticity and will feel very lofty compared to a worsted yarn, but they can have more shine and stitch definition than what is typically seen in woolen yarns.
Semiworsted: This drafting method uses worsted drafting with any fiber preparation, not just combed long fibers. Twist is not allowed into the fiber supply. A semiworsted yarn will be more like worsted than woolen yarns, but it will be different from traditional worsted yarns by having more loft and elasticity with a fuzzier surface texture. They will still have more drape and stitch definition compared to woolen and semiwoolen yarns.
Sheep breed, Corriedale: This sheep breed was developed in New Zealand in the 1860's from crossing British longwool rams with Merino ewes, with the goal to have a dual purpose sheep that adapted well to different environments and produced high quality meat and wool. The Corrie has been a very successful breed and is now the second most populous sheep in the world after the Merino. Corriedale wool is considered a fine wool, but has some luster from its longwool heritage. It is generally soft with a very well-defined crimp. Much like the adaptable nature of the sheep, its wool can be prepared and spun in a variety of methods, making it a favorite of many handspinners.
Sheep breed, Icelandic: A member of the Northern European short-tailed sheep family, this ancient and primitive breed is a living piece of Viking history. Viking settlers introduced these sheep to Iceland more than one thousand years ago, and no further introductions of other sheep have ever been allowed. Their primitive wool is dual-coated and highly versatile, and comes in almost all natural colors from white to grey to browns to black. The outer coat is called tog and the inner coat is called thel. Their wool can be used for anything from hard-wearing rugs to next-to-the-skin clothing, depending on how the spinner chooses to prepare the fiber.
Sheep breed, Polwarth: This breed was developed in the late 1800's in Australia from a cross of Lincoln (25%) with Merino (75%). The goal was to create a breed that was hardier than Merino, and provided both excellent wool and meat. The emphasis, however, was always on the excellence of the wool. Polwarths produce big fleeces that have long, soft fibers. This breed is actually known as "Ideals" in South America. And it has to be said, it's one of my absolutely favorite types of wool.
Sheep breed, Rambouillet: The Rambouillet breed began with a gift of highly coveted Spanish Merino sheep to King Louis XVI in 1786. While the French Revolution wasn't kind to Louis, the royal sheep thrived and eventually became the base stock for most sheep breeding in the western United States. They are the largest sheep of all fine wool breeds, and are primarily bred for their wool, not for their meat. Their fleece is very soft with a defined crimp that can be a bit disorganized, and this kind of springy crimp lends itself very nicely to yarns that are soft, elastic and lofty. Rambouillet wool has a very high quantity of lanolin and felts together extremely well.
Sheep breed, Shetland: Shetland sheep are part of the Northern European Short-Tailed group of sheep, making them cousins of Icelandic and Finn sheep. They come from the Shetland Islands located northeast of Scotland, where their geographic isolation helped keep them very closely related to their original stock that was likely left on the islands by Vikings about 1,000 years ago. Their primitive ancestory gives their fleece characteristics such as a dual coat with a tendency to molt and a large variety of natural colors. Shetland fleeces can contain several different fiber types in a single fleece, with the finest wool located around the neck. The wool has a well-defined crimp that almost spirals, and can be extremely soft and bouncy. Shetland wool is excellent to spin woolen and has a tendency to bloom (or spread out) in yarn, creating a very airy, lofty, and soft yarn.
Stash: A collection of fibers in any form that go beyond the needs of a single project. If you buy just enough yarn or fiber for one project at a time, then you don't have a stash. I would even say that if you could use up all of your yarn & fiber within six months, then you don't have a stash. If you have enough yarn or fiber to last until the zombie apocalypse, then you have a stash. If the mass of your stored fiber outweighs you, then you have a stash. If you've considered who should inherit your fiber after you die, then you have a stash.
Thel: the inner coat of an Icelandic fleece. Thel typically ranges from 2 to 3 inches in length, and it is extremely soft. This fiber rivals Merino and cashmere for softness, and if it's separated from the staple, it is perfect for woolen spinning.
Tog: the outer coat of an Icelandic fleece. Tog can range from 4 to 10 inches in length, and it can be quite course or somewhat silky, but it always very strong. If it is separated from the staple, it is perfect for worsted spinning.
UFO: unfinished object, which is a WIP so old that you can't in good conscience call it a WIP any longer since there has been no progress to speak of and is usually located in an inconvenient location, such as in a dusty plastic box stuffed in a closet or under a bed
VM: vegetable matter, which are the bits of seeds, grass, and chaff that can be found in raw wool
WIP: work-in-progress, which is a project that a spinner/knitter/etc considers current and is usually located where it can be picked up conveniently, such as on coffee tables, nightstands, & desks and in purses & bags for those on-the-go WIPs
Woolen: Woolen yarns are always made from carded fibers that are short (less than 3 inches) and highly crimped (more than 7 crimps per inch). Carded fiber does not line up fibers in a parallel formation, and can have fibers of different lengths in the preparation. In woolen drafting, twist is used as part of the drafting process and enters the fiber supply. This means the fibers are not perfectly aligned next to each other within the yarn, but can move sideways. This structure emphasizes loft, stretch, and elasticity with a matte, fuzzy surface of the yarn. Woolen yarns are not as durable or resistant to abrasion as worsted yarns, but they are lightweight & airy, with lots of stretchiness, having an almost spongy texture. They do not have crisp stitch defintion, but have a soft blurring effect on stitches and colors in a pattern.
Worsted: Worsted yarns are always made from a combed top fiber preparation. Creating combed top removes all short and weak fibers, leaving only the longer and strong fibers that are aligned parallel with each other. The most traditional, "pure" worsted yarns only use fibers that are at least 3 inches or longer with 7 crimps or less per inch. In worsted drafting, twist enters attenuated fibers and does not enter the fiber supply. This means that twist enters fibers that have been straightened and held under pressure, therefore the fibers in the yarn are locked into place by the twist and cannot shift sideways. This structure empasizes shine, drape, strength, and smoothness of the fiber. It is a denser yarn, since the drafting method compresses air out of the yarn as twist enters the attenuated fiber. These yarns are not terribly elastic, but they resist abrasion with excellent durability and have crisp stitch definition.
WPI: wraps per inch. This is a simple, inexpensive method of calculating the thickness of a yarn for a handspinner. The measurement is how many yarn diameters add up to one inch. You wrap yarn around a ruler or other tool for one inch and count how many wraps it took to fill that space. Really bulky yarn might be only 6 to 8 wraps per inch, while a gossamer thread might be 80 wraps per inch.
WTF: yeah, this means exactly what you think it does and is most often uttered when fibers tangle, yarns break, stitches drop, or a pattern error is found