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Fleece Definitions

Top is made by a combing process that removes the short and noiled fibers leaving the longer fibers in a parallel alignment. The result is the highest quality of the fiber or "top of the line". Spinning from top using a short draw will produce worsted yarns. These are smooth and less likely to pill than woolen yarns (produced from spinning carded fiber or sliver). Combed top is a continuous roving.  If you are purchasing a raw fleece, you are not buying top.

What is Top?

This is the length of the fiber from butt to tip. The general rule is that the shorter the staple length, the finer the fiber.

Please note that there are exceptions to this rule!

What is Staple Length?

It is the actual measurement of the fiber's diameter. The smaller the number the finer the fiber. One micron is equivalent to 1/25,400th of an inch.

What is a Micron?

Worsted yarns are spun from long fibers that have been combed. A worsted yarn is smooth, firm and strong and has a sheen.


What is a Worsted Yarn?

A woolen yarn is spun from carded fiber, where the short and long fibers are blended together. A woolen yarn is fluffy, soft warm and has loft.

What is a Woolen Yarn?

Loft is the softness and silkiness of the fibre.  A soft fleece with sheen to it is said to have good loft.

What is Loft?

Crimp is the natural waviness or curl of the wool fibers. Each breed grows fleece with a characteristic crimp pattern.

What is Crimp?

The fibers have not been combed or carded. But they are fully cleaned and de-haired, thus Ready-To-Spin.

What does Ready-To-Spin mean?

A lock is the natural grouping of fibers that occurs as the fleece grows on the sheep.

What is a Lock?

This is a small, single hand held carder. It is used to separate the lock or staple of wool. This prepares the fiber for spinning directly from the lock without disturbing the alignment of the fibers.


What is a Flick Carder?