This section is from the book "Clothing And Health. An Elementary Textbook Of Home Making", by Helen Kinne. Also available from Amazon: Clothing And Health.
Why does the manufacturer use woolen yarn in weaving some materials and worsted yarn for others? If one knows this, it will be a guide in purchasing wool materials. The Pleasant Valley girls know.
The difference between woolen and worsted yarns. Before you can answer the question for this lesson, you must learn the difference between woolen and worsted yarns. Worsted yarn is prepared from the sheep giving long wool. It is prepared by processes which comb it until all the short fibers are removed and only the long straight ones are used. This combing prepares the long wool fibers for spinning so that they lie parallel.
Courtesy of M.J. Whittall.
Fig. 123. - Wool combing for high grade materials. There is much waste.
This makes an expensive yarn because so much is combed away. This fine combed worsted yarn is used for high grade worsted materials, as some cheviots or fine tweeds, and for underwear.
Woolen yarn is not combed to remove the short fibers. It is, instead, carded a great deal so that the wool fibers are well mixed and the serrations of the tiny fibers arranged so that they will interlock, when put in water of high temperature, and the gelatinous scales are opened up. Woolen yarn is woven into broadcloths and meltons. After the weaving the cloth is put into vats where the temperature opens up the serrations and the scales interlock, and make a close, smooth piece of cloth. This is called fulling. Isn't this interesting? Do you see why the manufacturer uses worsted instead of woolen yarn for making underwear? If worsted yarn were used for making broadcloth, there would not be the same close finish. The worsted yarn is combed and the fibers are not in position to interlock as in the woolen yarn (Fig. 124). Can you answer the question now why worsted yarn is used sometimes and woolen at others? After the yarn has been spun, it is woven into cloth just as cotton is prepared and woven. Woolen yarn is fuzzy; cloth made from it is woven loosely and then it is put into vats and shrunken or fulled until the cloth is compact, as broadcloth.
Worsted yarn when made into cloth is shrunken very little or not at all. It is woven as it will appear.
Fig. 124. - This shows the difference in the slivers of wool and worsted yarn. A is the woolen yarn, well mixed ; B is the worsted yarn, well combed.
Beautiful homespuns and worsted suitings are the result.
Many fabrics made of wool are of simple weave like the plain homespun, but complicated patterns are also woven of wool. The yarns are arranged in the loom in the same way as the cotton about which we studied. Many beautiful patterns are made in woolen materials, even the complicated patterns of double cloth weaving like the old-fashioned golf capes, made of double cloth, which were worn a few years ago.
Courtesy of M. J. Whittall.
Fig. 125. - The spinning of wool into yarn.
So you can see that the manufacturer must know whether he is to adulterate his wool cloth with cotton or reduce the cost of production by using mungo, shoddy, or flocks. Flocks is put in when the cloth is shrunken or fulled in the vats. The short pieces and dust, or flocks as it is called, are drawn in as the serrations open and the cloth is shrunken.
This is all useful to know, for it helps one in purchasing materials. Most of us cannot afford to buy cloth made of all new wool, but we should be able to tell whether cloth is made of cotton and wool mixed, or all wool. We will know by price whether the all wool is new wool or not. No shopkeeper should sell a cotton and wool for all wool. When we have our textiles labeled as foods are now labeled, we shall be able to tell. What have you learned to-day which will help you in purchasing wool materials?
Woolen and worsted yarns are used also in the manufacture of carpets, rugs, hosiery, blankets, underwear, and also for knitting purposes. Do you know how to knit? Does any one know at your home? It is a useful and pleasant accomplishment. Shawls, afghans, caps, and sweaters can all be knitted. Miss James taught the Pleasant Valley girls to knit bright scarfs which they wore for tobogganing the next winter. Some girls made them for sale.
Fig. 126. - This is the teasel which is used to brush the nap of the cloth in finishing. These small thistles are arranged in rows in the machine rollers through which the cloth passes.
Points about buying woolen garments. Here are a few things to think about which Miss Travers from the State College told the Mothers' Club of Pleasant Valley to remember in buying wool garments or materials.
1. Wool mixed with cotton should not be sold for all wool. It is a cheaper fabric. It wears fairly well, but is not so warm. Pull the fabric apart, untwist the fibers to see if cotton is present.
2. Garments bought ready-made of cotton and wool do not keep their shape as well as all wool garments.
3. Burning a piece of the fabric will help you to identify the fiber. Wool burns slowly, chars, and gives off an odor of burned feathers. Cotton burns quickly with a flame.
4. A good wool material can always be used over again. The inexpensive is not cheap unless you wish something which does not look well or wear well but is cheap.
5. Remember that a close twill weave is more durable than a basket weave. Think about this in buying; for the weave of material affects the wearing quality.
1. How is yarn which is to be used for underwear treated in manufacture? Why?
2. How does this treatment differ from yarn used in the manufacture of broadcloth?
3. What are some of the things your mother thinks about when she buys a garment made from wool, in order to get good value for her money ?