There are two classes of woolen textiles, woolens and worsteds, depending upon the character of the fiber used, and the treatment to which it is subjected. The shorter varieties of wool are used in woolens, while the long fibers are combed out and used for the worsteds. In making woolen yarns the wool is simply carded and very loosely spun, but in making worsted thread the wool is combed out and hard twisted. Owing to the nap of the woolen goods the weaving is scarcely visible, but in the manufacture of worsteds the weave is evident and a great variety of designs is possible.
A variety of effects can also be produced by the character of the finish. Among the principal varieties are:
1. The dress face finish, such as broadcloth and beaver.
2. The velvet finish.
3. The Scotch or Melton finish.
4. The bare face finish, which has the nap completely sheared off.
While the finish may differ, the general treatment of the cloth is practically the same. The first step is called pulling, when the cloth is soaked in hot water and pulled by a pulling machine. It is soaked, pulled and beaten until it is only half its original length and breadth.
It is then rinsed and stretched on a frame where it will dry without a wrinkle. At this time the nap is raised by beating the cloth with the spike head of the teasel plant or its substitute. The pile or nap is then trimmed so as to present a uniform surface, when it is wound tightly around a huge drum and immersed in hot water. Finally it is pressed in a hydraulic press, during which time steam is forced through it. This is to give solidity and smoothness to the cloth and also to add luster to the finished fabric.