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Published on Aug 21, 2008
Long ago, wool yarns were described as "worsted", or "woollen", or something in-between. A true "worsted" yarn is spun from combed fibre and is dense and fairly smooth. A true "woollen" yarn, on the other hand, is open, airy, fuzzy, and warm, its fibres comfortably tangled and spiralling down the length of the yarn.
The descriptive words apply to the yarns, but also to the techniques used to spin them. Worsted spinning is done with a short draw -- a short drafting movement. Woollen spinning uses a long draw.
The woollen longdraw requires carded fibres rolled into shapes called "rolags" to obtain its characteristic tangly spiral; and without rolags, the long-draw drafting technique suffers and the yarn is not a true woollen, but rather... something else.
Here is an introduction to spinning true woollen using the long-draw drafting technique. Enjoy!