The Woollen System

The woollen system uses shorter fibres to produce less smooth yarns than the longer fibres used in the worsted system. Fabrics produced from the woollen system possess a hairy or raised appearance, developed by a process called milling (controlled washing) which is carried out during the finishing stage. The woollen system is used to produce items of clothing such as Lambswool and Shetland sweaters, coating fabrics, jacketings and tweeds.

The woollen system uses fleece from the underbelly and legs of a sheep, such as skirtings, locks and pieces which are short in fibre length. Often, these are blended with noils (short wool fibres removed during combing in the worsted system), and pulled wools such as slipes and Marzemet, which are wools that have been removed or pulled from sheepskins. It should be noted that the process of combing does not exist in the woollen system.

The wool sheared from the underbody and around the legs of the sheep often has a high degree of vegetable matter (%VM), in the form of burrs, seeds and grass, picked up whilst the sheep were grazing. In this case these have to be removed by a process known as Carbonising before subsequent processing can take place. Carbonised wool, or Carbo wools, are used extensively in the woollen system.