Fiber Glossary

Click on a word to see its description. This is a work-in-progress with new entries being added weekly.

batt
a carded preparation of fiber in which the fiber is removed directly from a carder (hand, drum, blending board) in a rectangular sheet
batt
blanket
the prime, or best, fiber from an alpaca or llama fleece; The blanket is the portion from the hips to shoulders and down the side to the top of the belly.
blending board
a large rectangular board covered in carding cloth that is used to blend fibers to prepare them for spinning; can be used to produce a batt or rolag
bobbin (spinning)
the part of the spinning wheel on which the yarn is wound
bobbinbobbin
bobbin (weaving)
the part that holds the yarn in a shuttle
bobbin
Bradford count
a number that measures of the fineness of wool; This number is the maximum number of 560-yard skeins that can be spun from one pound of combed top; also called spinning count
a table of a wool fineness
brake band
an adjustable cord on a spinning wheel that controls the rotational speed of a flyer or bobbin
a photo of the brake band
break
a weakness within a staple of wool due to a thinning of wool fibers and caused by stress conditions or poor nutrition; See tender
britch wool
wool from the buttocks and lower legs of the sheep
butt end
the cut (sheared) end of a lock of wool
a picture of a lock with butt identified
canary stain
yellow stain on a wool fleece that cannot be washed out
carding
the process of preparing wool for spinning that organizes fibers into a somewhat random formation
carding cloth
a sheet of rubber embedded with bent wire tines; used to make hand cards, drum carders, blending boards
combing
the process of preparing wool for spinning that removes shorter fibers and organizes the remaining similar length fibers into a parallel formation
cotting
partially felting or matting of wool while on the sheep
crimp
the natural waviness of wool fiber
a picture of a lock with crimp
drive band
a cord on a spinning wheel that connects the drive wheel to the flyer and/or bobbin
a picture of a spinning with the drive band labeled
drive wheel
the large wheel on a spinning wheel that is rotated to provide the momentum to the flyer and/or bobbin
a picture of a spinning wheel with the drive wheel labeled
elasticity
the ability of a fiber or yarn to return to its original shape after being stretched
ewe
a female sheep
fleece
unprepared sheep’s wool; can be raw or washed; can be the entire sheep’s wool, or only a portion
a picture of a sheep's fleece
flick carder
a small single handcarder used to prepare individual locks of wool for spinning
a picture of a flick carder
grease
a waxy substance secreted by a sheep’s sebaceous glands
handcarder
a tool with many small wire teeth used in pairs to prepare fiber for spinning (see carding); usually used to prepare fiber for spinning woolen style
a picture of handcards
hand comb
a tool with wire tines used in pairs to prepare fiber for spinning (see combing); usually used to prepare fiber for spinning worsted style
a picture of hand combs
hank
a yarn packaging (or put up) in which the yarn is first loosely wound into an loop and then may be folded and twisted
a picture of a hank of yarna picture of a hank of yarn
lanolin
purified grease
lazy Kate
a tool used for plying multiple bobbins of yarn; a lazy kate allows the bobbins to spin freely as the yarn is pulled from them during plying
a picture of a lazy Kate
lock
a natural grouping of wool fibers (see staple)
a picture of a wool lock
micron
one millionth of a meter; used to measure the fineness of sheep’s wool
a table of wool fineness
niddy noddy
a tool that is used to wind yarn into a hank
niddy noddy
nostepinne
a tool that is used to wind yarn into a center-pull ball
nostepinne
puni
a carded preparation of cotton in which the cotton is rolled around a stick off a carder into a cylindrical shape
ram
a male sheep
rolag
a carded preparation of fiber in which the fiber is rolled from a carder into a cylindrical shape
roving
carded fiber that is pulled into a continuous strand and contains a small amount of twist
picture of commercially prepped roving
scouring
the process of removing all grease and suint from a sheep’s fleece
second cuts
the short bits of wool found in a fleece; second cuts occur when the same portion of wool is cut more than once during shearing
a picture of second cuts
shearing
the process of removing a fleece by cutting it off
skein
a yarn packaging (or put up) in which the yarn is wound in a tubular form
a picture of second cutsa picture of second cuts
skirting
the process of removing the inferior and stained parts from a fleece
sliver
carded fiber that is pulled into a continuous strand and contains no twist
spinning count
a number that measures of the fineness of wool; This number is the maximum number of 560-yard skeins that can be spun from one pound of combed top; also called <a href=”#Bradford”>Bradford count</a>
a table of wool fineness
staple
a natural grouping of wool fibers (see lock); also refers to the length of a lock of wool
a picture of a staple of wool
suint
the sweat of a sheep
tender
a wool fleece is “tender” if there is a thinning in a part of the wool staple; See break
tip
the grown-out end of a lock of wool
a picture of tip and butt ends of lock identified
top
combed fiber that is pulled into a continuous strand
a picture of commercially processed topa picture of hand-combed top
vm (vegetable matter)
the bits of plant material, like hay, that are found in a fleece
a picture of vma picture of wool with vm
woolen yarn
a technically woolen yarn is produced when shorter fibers are carded and spun so that the twist enters the fiber as it is being drafted
worsted yarn
a technically worsted yarn is produced when longer fibers are combed and spun so that the twist enters the fiber after it is drafted
yolk
the combination of grease and suint on a sheep’s fleece