All worsted…..and good

Today I am exhausted from all the sorting, folding and shelving of the new fabric….

I have to restrain myself from cutting into it, the kids begging me to make them PJ’s from the blue Elephants Flannel. I will, but it has to get a bit colder still for me to get stuck into winter jammies. It has been rather warm this week, a reminder to myself to stay present in the here and now and enjoy the summer warmth a little .

I have also been battling with a nasty head cold, which is making my head spin….

And speaking of spinning, I have learned something new today. Something that I must share with you…

Akha woman hand spinning

I always used and read about the term ‘worsted’ as referring to the weight of the yarn. Worsted yarn is medium in weight, smooth and great for jumpers, hats and blankets. In Australia, we refer to it also as something between an 10-12 ply.It has a great stitch definition and is great for beginner knitters. Then there is fine  yarn, great for lace projects and on the other end of the scale is bulky or chuncky, and so forth.

But then there is the term worsted that refers to the actual ‘fibres’ of the Yarn. Worsted yarn is often described as very smooth, and that is because all its fibres have been combed into one direction. And here is some trivia for you:

The yarn is named for the village of Worstead in Norfolk, England. As far back as the 12th century, this town was producing smooth, even yarn (and after some more research I found out that you’d be hard pressed to find a wool shop in the village of Worstead. Fancy that).

The manufacturing process for worsted weight yarn involves two important steps which contribute to the smoothness and tensile strength of the yarn. The first is the selection of long fibers, and the second is the combing of these fibers to make them straight and parallel. During the spinning process, worsted weight yarn is handled carefully to ensure that the fibers stay straight, which keeps the finished yarn very smooth.

Jaipur woman spinning wool

Another term used for yarn manufacturing is ‘woolen’. Woolen is a type of yarn made from carded wool. Woolen yarn is soft, light, stretchy, and full of air. It is thus a good insulator. Woolen yarn is in contrast to worsted yarn. For woolen yarn, the fibres are short and during the carding process, they can go in all directions. So when knitting with woolen yarn, your resulting garment will be prone to pilling and a bit rougher on the skin. Worsted wool has definitely a smoother feel and thats why worsted yarn is now so popular.

To complicate the matter, both of these techniques and yarns can be combined, resulting in semi-worsted or semi-woolen. But thats another story…


When buying wool for a project however, we want to know its weight, gauge and ply. As a lot of yarn now a days comes from America and South-America, we  need to get familiar with the different terminologies. Annoyingly, the US, Australia and the UK all use different terminology for the weight and ply of yarn. So next week I will post about the different yarn weight available and its uses.

We are going to the beach this weekend. Our School has a pupil free day on Monday, so a long weekend for us! So I will see you all back here on Tuesday. I have started another Tiny Tea Leaves Cardi in Abulita’s Brazilian Fruit, so I have my passenger driving activity sorted…

Have a great Weekend. Thank you for your comments and kind thoughts. I appreciate it.



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