Below you’ll find a short glossary of commonly used spinning terms.
Batt: An airy matt of fibre that has been carded on a drum carder
Carding: A way of processing fibre using metal pins set in a cloth. The result is airy, and fibres are not aligned.
Combing: A way of processing fibres by pulling them through large tines on a comb or hackle. The result is smooth, and fibres are aligned.
Combed top: Fibre that has been combed and pulled through a diz.
Cop: The bundle made by spun yarn when it is wound around the spindle shaft for storage.
Distaff: A stick on which fibre is stored, either by tying on, or in a cage-type container, and from which the spindle spinner drafts the fibre.
Diz: A piece of material (metal, plastic, bone, wood) with a hole in it through which fibre is pulled after being carded or combed.
Drafting: Pulling fibres from a bundle (fleece, batt, top, roving, etc) to prepare them to receive twist.
Drop spindle: Also called a suspended spindle, this takes the form of a stick with a whorl at the top, middle or bottom. It adds twist to fibre while suspended from it.
Flyer: The part of a spinning wheel that holds the bobbin and any whorls.
Long draw: A drafting technique characterised by the drawing back of the hand holding the fibre, allowing the twist to provide tension. Creates airy, woollen yarns.
Nostepinne: Literally ‘nest-stick’, this is for winding yarn onto to create a centre-pull ball to work from.
Roving: Fibre that has been carded on a drum carder and then pulled through a diz.
Scotch tension: A brake system on flyer led wheels where the brake operates separately from the drive system.
Short forward draw: A drafting technique characterised by using one hand to pull short lengths of fibre from a bundle (fleece, batt, roving, etc) held in the other hand. Creates strong, hard-wearing, worsted yarns.
S-twist: Twist added in an anti-clockwise direction.
Staple: A lock or cluster of fibres pulled from a fleece.
Supported spindle: A spindle that takes the form of a stick (with or without a whorl at the bottom) that is supported on a surface (floor, bowl, table top) while twist is added.
Top: (see Combed top)
VM (Vegetable matter): Small bits of leaf, twigs or insect matter that remain in a fleece after it is sheared.
Whorl: On a spindle, the weighted part that helps it to spin evenly, usually a disc. On a wheel, the notched disc that controls the speed of the flyer on scotch tension wheels.
Woollen: Airy yarns usually made with short staple fibres.
Worsted: Strong, hardwearing yarns usually made with long-staple fibres.
Z-twist: Twist added in a clockwise direction.