How Wool is Made


FYI: This site receives a small amount in commissions from affiliate links and third-party advertising. 

Click Through to my Store...

Please note:  At this time I am only able to ship hard goods to Australia & New Zealand. However, electronic or downloadable goods are available world wide.

Quick Links


Ever wondered how wool is made?  Although the phrase wool is used these days to describe a wide variety of yarns including man-made fibres, the term wool originally referred to the fibre grown by sheep.

The basic process of making wool is the same whether you are talking about a crafts-person hand spinning their wool or a commercial manufacturer.  All that changes is the scale, the kind of tools or machine that are used and sometimes the fibres that are spun into yarn..

As most hand-spinners are aware, fleece wool is ideal for spinning for two reasons.

First, the wool has a natural coating of grease or lanolin which protects the sheep from the elements and provides insulation, and second, because the fibres cling to each other.

© Jim, the Photographer  | Flickr  Old Spinning Wheel

Hand Spinning - How Wool Is Made

First the fleece is cleaned, either by washing or by carding, to remove any debris from the fleece and to prepare the fibres for spinning.   Once you have a clean fleece wool, it is a relatively simple process to make wool.

A small number of fibres are gently draw out of a lock of wool to the required thickness and then spun or twisted so that the fibres cling together into a single ply thread.

If you could look at the individual fibres under a microscope you would see that the fibres have an outer layer of overlapping scales. These scales act a little like tiny barbs which cling together as allowing the fibres to lock together during the spinning process.

© National Rural Knowledge Exchange | Flickr  Hand Spinning

Once the drawn out thread is twisted, it is usually wound onto a holder of some kind (either a drop spindle or a bobbin). This maintains the tension of the thread and prevents the wool fibres from unravelling.

Once wound, more fibres are drawn out of the lock of wool and the process is repeated to form a continuous thread. If you wish to use your thread for weaving a single ply thread is sufficient, but if you want to knit the wool into a garment, you generally need a two ply thread.

To do this you twist two single ply threads together in the opposite direction.

Clear as mud? Let me explain it another way.

If your single ply was twisting in a clockwise direction, you ply your wool by twisting in an anti-clockwise direction. The plying action reduces the amount of twist in each of the single ply threads and binds the thread together.



Couldn't Find What You Were Looking for?

Try searching the site using the search box below:

Custom Search



New! Comments

Have your say about what you just read! Leave a comment in the box below. This comment will be shared on your page and be visible to the users of this website.

PLEASE NOTE: I will not be notified of any comments unless you tag me or my page in your comments.






Recent Articles

  1. SKP A Knitting Abbreviation

    May 21, 19 01:46 AM

    A common knitting abbreviation you are likely to come across is skp or sl1, k1,psso. Basically this is a method of decreasing 1 stitch with a sloped stitch leaning to the right

    Read More

  2. Knitted headband with flower

    May 20, 19 11:10 PM

    Are you looking for a pattern for a pretty knitted headband with a flower? Check out this pattern, it is quick and easy to make - perfect for any little girl.

    Read More

  3. Lace Knitting - Not for Beginners

    May 20, 19 09:34 PM

    Lace knitting is a decorative form of knitting generally with fine yarn that has 'holes' in the fabric to form a lacy pattern.

    Read More



Subscribe Here: