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How to Choose: Worsted or Woolen Yarn?

Updated: Jun 6

For all the fashion resellers and designer, today I want to talk to you about something that might seem a bit technical, but trust me, it is very important for your style and creativity. I'm talking about the difference between worsted and woolen yarns, which you might have heard of these terms before. But do you know how they can affect the look and feel of your garments and designs?


Worsted and woolen are two types of yarns that are made from wool fibers. They differ in how they spun, which gives them different characteristics.

Worsteed yarns are spun from long, combed wool fibers that are aligned parallel to each other. This makes them smooth, strong, and durable. They also have a crisp and clean look, whith a high luster and a fine texture. Worsted yarns are great for making tailored garments, such as suits, coats, and jackets. They also hold their shape well and resist pilling and shrinking, which is usually 48nm and above.

Woolen yarns, on the other hand, are spun from short, carded wool fibers that are mixed together in different directions. This makes them soft, fluffy, and warm. They also have a fuzzy and cozy look, with a low luster and a coarse texture. Woolen yarns are great for making casual garments, such as sweaters, scarves, and hats. They also trap air well and provide good insulation, which is usually 26nm and below.

The normal metric (nm) in between 26nm to 48nm are all considered to be catergorised into semi-worsted.

tiny yarns

Different machines ande processes are also required in the factory to produce different types of yarns.

The worsted yarn factory process starts with the raw material, which is usually wool or a blend of wool and other fibers, such as cotton, silk, nylon, or acrylic. The raw material is first washed and dried to remove any dirt, grease and impurities.

Then, it is carded, which means that it is passed through a series of metal rollers with fine teeth that separate and align the fibers. Carding also removes any short or weak fibers and creates a fluffy mass called roving.

The next step is combing, which is the key difference between worsted and woolen yarns. Combing further aligns the fibers and removes any remaining short or weak fibers, as well as any vegetable matter or foreign objects. Combing also makes the fibers parallel and uniform in length, resulting in a smooth and lustrous roving.

The combed roving is then drawn, which means that it is stretched and twisted to reduce its thickness and increase its strength. Drawing also helps to blend different colours of types of fibers together. The drawn roving is then spun into yarn, which involves twisting the fibers together to form a continuous strand. Spinning can be done by hand or by machine, depending on the desired thickness and texture of the yarn.

The final step is finishing, which involves washing, drying, steaming and winding the yarn into balls or skein. Finishing also adds any special treatments or coating to the yarn, such as dyeing, bleaching, mercerizing or superwash. Finishing enhances the appearance, performance and durability of the yarn.

worsted yarn factory

The first step of wool production is shearing, which is the process of cutting off the fleece from the sheep. SHearing is usually done once a year, in Spring or Summer, when the weather is warm enough for the sheep to cope without their wool. Shearing is done by skilled workers using electric clippers or hand shears. The fleece is then rolled up and packed into bales for transportation.

The next step is grading, which is the process of sorting the fleece according to its quality, colour, length, and fineness. Grading is done by trained experts who examine each fleece and assign it a grade based on its characteristics. The higher the grade, the more valuable the wool. Grading helps to ensure that the wool is suitable for its intended use and market.

The third step is cleaning and sourcing, which is the process of removing dirt, grease, sweat, and other impurities from the wool. Cleaning and scouring can be done by washing the wool with water and detergent, or by using chemical solvents. Cleaning and scouring makes the wool softer, lighter, and more hygienic.

The fourth step is carding, which is the process of combing and aligning the wool fibers into thin sheets called silvers. Carding is done by passing the wool through rollers that are covered with thousands of wire-like teeth. Carding helps to remove any remaining dirt and short fibers, and to make the wool more uniform and fluffy.

The fifth step is spinning, which is the process of twisting and drawing out the silver into continuous strands of yarn. Spinning can be done by hand or thickness machine. Spinning gives the yarn strength, elasticity, and fineness. The thickness and twist of the yarn can be adjusted according to the desired quality and appearance.

Worsted yarn comes in a variety of weights, colours. textures and blends. The weight of the yarn refers to how thick or thin it is, and it affects how many stitches it can have per inch. Worsted weight yarn usually has a gauge of 16 to 20 stitches per 4 inches on US size 7 to 9 needles.

The colour of the yarn depends on whether it is dyed or natural. Dyed yarn can have solid, variegated or self-striping colours, while natural yarn can have undyed or heathered colours.

The texture of the yarn depends on how it is spun and finished. Some worsted yarns are smooth and even, while others are fuzzy or nubby. Some worsted yarns are plied, which means that they are made of two or more strands twisted together, while others are singles, which means that they are made of one strand. The texture of the yarn can affect the feet, drape and stitch definition of the garment. For example, smooth and even yarns are good for creating crisp and clean fabrics, while fuzzy or nubby yarns are good for creating cozy and warm fabrics.

Woolen yarn is different from worsted yarn, which is made from fibers that are combed and spun in a way that creates a smooth, strong, and durable fabric. Woolen yarn is ideal fro knitting or crocheting garments and accessories that need to be cozy, such as sweaters, hats, scarves, and mittens. Woolen yarns also has a natural elasticity and resilience, which makes it easy to work with and shape.

Woolen yarn comes in various weights, colours, and textures, depending on the type and quality of the wool used and the spinning method. 

woolen yarn factory

As you can see, worsted and woolen yarns have very dfifferent propeties and effects on the appearance of your garments and deisigns, You can choose the best type of yanr for your project. You can also mix and maych them to create interesting contrasts and textures.

I hope this blog post has helped you understand the difference between worsted and woolen yarns, and how they can enhance your fashion sense and designs. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to leave them below. And don't forget to subscribe to CH Cashmere's blog for more updates on launches and tricks on fashion and design. Until next time, stay stylish!


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