April Graf wrote:Hi Phil!!! So nice for you to join us!
Louis Fish wrote:Hello, Phil, welcome! Your socks look amazing, they'll be perfect until I build up to knitting my own haha.
Combing is a technique whereby fibres (usually cotton or wool) are passed through a series of straight, metal teeth in order to lay the fibres parallel to one another. The fibres are then placed together in a long line (‘combed sliver’), which is used to spin a smooth, even thread. In this process, long fibres are separated from shorter ones (noils) and tangles are removed. At the same time, practically all remaining foreign matter is removed from the fibres. In general, combed fibres are cleaner, finer, stronger and more lustrous than carded ones. Combed fibres are generally used for producing worsted threads.
Carding is a technique whereby two hand or machine cards are used. These cards have numerous wire teeth set into a paper, leather or metal ground. The teethed cards are used to separate the fibres, to spread them into a web (but not in parallel lines as in combed wool) and to remove any short or broken fibres as well as impurities. The web is condensed into a continuous untwisted strand of fibres called a sliver. Carded fibres are generally used for producing woollen threads.
Carina Hilbert wrote:Hi, Phil!
Your socks look like good ones for my husband. Thanks for telling us about them!
(While I am a knitter and love to knit socks, my husband has big feet and won't wear the socks I've knitted for him because he doesn't want to wear them out, which is silly but not going to change. So, I buy him machine-made wool socks.)
r ranson wrote:Until Phil of Norsewear Socks shows up, I'll talk a bit about what worsted means.
There are many different ways of transforming wool into yarn. It's a spectrum with worsted on one end, and woollen on the other.
True worsted yarn is spun from fibres that are combed to keep them aligned the same way. There is usually very little variation in length, crimp, and other fibre characteristics. The yarn is spun in a way to prevent as much air as possible from getting trapped in the yarn. It's a hugely complicated process. This makes for incredibly durable and strong yarn.
True woollen yarn, on the other hand, requires easier fibre prep. I'm tempted to say 'less', but 'different' would be more accurate. The fibres are carded so that most (but not all) fibres are lined up in a general direction. Then the yarn is spun in such a way to increase the fluffiness and capture lots of air between the fibres. This makes a very warm yarn that is a bit squishy.
Most yarns in the world are semi-woollen or semi-worsted. In hand spinning, the woollen/worsted depends on the drafting. So I can spin a woollen-prep (carded) fibre with a worsted draft to create a yarn with mostly worsted characteristics but still some air trapped between the fibres. Some fibres are carded, then combed, or combed then carded, for different effects. There is an infinite amount of combinations one can use to create yarn.
Industrial spinning is a bit different so I'm going to leave this for Phil as he knows more in this area than I do.
The key thing to take away is that woollen and worsted yarn require different machines, including different methods of fibre prep. Most mills I've visited produce woollen or semi-woollen yarn as it seems to require fewer steps and less/more affordable equipment.