Dr Errol Wood (AgResearch)
Many people think that woollen is woollen, but woollen is the name given to a particular type of wool processing. It’s the simplest and shortest route. It’s the most tolerant of wool types, so you can put in both good quality wool and inferior quality wool and be confident you are going to make a decent yarn from it. In New Zealand, most of our wool is processed in this way because we are a major producer of carpet yarns, and most of the carpets you buy have gone through the woollen system. It’s a very quick route – scouring, carding, spinning and twisting – basically four steps, you’ll have a yarn ready for making into a carpet. You can make also knitwear from it – it makes very nice knitwear as well – but the yarn tends to be hairy, perhaps less strong. But a hairy look sometimes is quite desirable - a kind of rustic… a genuine wool look is what you get from woollen.