Common Spinning Terms

  • Alpaca: Fiber grown on an alpaca. It is very fine and soft.

  • Amount of Fiber: The amount of fiber needed to spin for different projects.

  • Angora: Fiber grown on angora rabbits. It is extremely fine and soft, and is usually hand-plucked instead of sheared.

  • Bradford Count: one of the two ways of measuring the fineness of wool. The higher the number, the finer the wool. The other way is the micron measurement.

  • Cards or carders: Wire set into paddles to use in the preparation of fiber. They are usually used to produce rolags for spinning woolen.

  • Combs: Simple devices, usually with rows of spikes set into a base [although I often use common pet combs and hair combs], used to prepare fiber for spinning. Combed fiber is usually spun worsted.

  • Cotton fiber: The fiber of the cotton plant. It is usually short stapled, but soft and light-weight.

  • Crewel: A form of spinning where the singles are rewound from the bobbin or spindle before plying, so that all are plied from the end which the spinning was started at. Used primarily for crewel embroidery, the purpose is to have as smooth a product as possible so that the thread is not weakend as much in the embroidery, and doesn't get fuzzy.

  • Diz: A simple device that is usually made of a small thin piece of horn, shell or wood with one or more holes drilled into it. Combed or flicked locks of fiber can be drawn through a hole in the diz to produce roving.

  • Flax fiber: The fiber of the flax plant. It is spun and woven to make linen.

  • Drum Carder: A device to speed up the carding process. It produces a batt, which can be easily spun either woolen or worsted.

  • Hackle: A hackle is a device used to process fiber. Unlike combing, in which the combs are used upon the fiber, in hackling, the fiber is used on the tool. It is often used for hackling flax, and some hackles resemble beds of nails.

  • Hoggett: The first fleece of a lamb, the finest fleece that this sheep will ever poduce.

  • Linen: The cloth made from flax fiber.

  • Linsey-woolsey: The cloth made from weaving with a linen warp and wool weft. This cloth was very common in colonial America.

  • Micron: A measurement used to indicate fineness of wool. The lower the number, the finer the wool.

  • Mohair: Fiber grown on angora goats. It is less fine than most wool, and generally has a longer staple. It is known for its strenght and luster, and can add a fuzzy texture to yarns.

  • Ply: Plying is the act of spinning several single-spun yarns or threads together for strength, appearance, or thickness. The resulting yarn or thread is then referred to as a 2-ply, 3-ply, etc., depending on the number of singles used in the ply.

  • S Twist: When the wheel rotates counter-clockwise it puts an S Twist in the yarn. [The twist is in the same direction as the letter S.]

  • Shearing: The act of cutting the fleece off of a fiber animal.

  • Staple: This usually refers to the length of a lock of wool, but sometimes used to mean the lock itself.

  • Silk: Fiber produced in the cocoons of silkworms. It comes in two major types, tussah and bombyx. These are produced by different types of worms who eat different diets.

  • Spindle: Device for spinning fiber into thread or yarn. There are several forms of spindle, and I'll probably add a page to list them later.

  • Spinning Wheel: A device to speed up the spinning of fiber. These come in several basic types.

  • Staple: The length of a cut lock of fleece or of a piece of fiber.

  • Wool: Fiber grown on a sheep. There are many different breeds of sheep, and each has wool of different fineness, staple length, and spinning qualities.

  • Woolen spinning: a spinning technique that produces a soft round yarn with plenty of trapped air. The fibers in the yarn run perpendicular to the length of the yarn.

  • Worsted spinning: a spinning technique that produces a smoother, firmer, stronger yarn or thread. The fibers in the yarn run parallel to the length of the yarn.

  • Wraps per inch: Gauge to determine thickness of yarn. Created by wrapping yarn loosely around a ruler and counting the number of wraps in an inch.

  • Yearling fleece: Any fleece from the lamb's first year of life. May or may not be the hoggett fleece.

  • Z Twist: When the wheel rotates clockwise it puts a Z Twist in the yarn. [The twist is in the same direction as the letter Z.]

Do you have any terms that you want added to this list? Feel free to leave send me an email.

to be continued...