Your browser is not fully supported. Please upgrade your browser.

Skip to main content
About Wool

Wool Processing

Wool is one of the most naturally inspiring fibres on the planet, and undergoes a unique journey from the sheep’s back to the world of fashion. Using age-old techniques mixed with modern technologies, wool fibres are transformed into luxuriously soft fabrics and yarns, used by the world’s best fashion designers.

The Woolmark Company remains at the forefront of developing and commercialising new manufacturing technologies for wool. We work closely with manufacturers involved at all stages of the wool manufacturing pipeline, developing new processes and creating new product opportunities which are both innovative and aimed at adding value to create new commercial opportunities.

woolem-system-sweaters-tweeds-header.jpg

 

How is wool processed?

  • Greasy wool, also known as raw wool, is the unprocessed fibre harvested from the sheep during shearing. The greasy wool is classed (graded) based on fibre diameter, vegetable matter, staple strength, staple length, colour and potential yield.
  • Scoured wool is the term given to greasy wool that has been washed to remove contaminants, such as dirt, dust, sweat (suint), some vegetable matter and wool grease. The wool grease is recovered and from it lanolin is extracted and used in products such as cosmetics.
  • Carbonised wool has undergone an additional cleaning process (carbonising) to remove vegetable matter, such as seeds, burrs and grass. Carbonising is only used for wools that have large amounts of vegetable matter and the wool is only used in the woollen processing system, not the worsted processing system.
  • Top-making is unique to the worsted processing system and comprises three steps: carding, gilling and combing. Top-making turns the scoured wool into a 'top' or combed sliver — a collection of aligned fibres, without twist, ready for spinning into yarn.

Woollen yarn is usually created from the shorter fibres of the sheep's fleece. These wool fibres vary more in diameter and length. Woollen yarn is used to make thick, heavyweight woven or knitted garments. These fabrics are ideal for warm winter jackets or sweaters.

Worsted yarn mainly uses the highest quality fleece wool obtained during shearing. Fleece wool generally contains the longest wool fibres, which vary less in diameter and length. Worsted yarn is used to make flatter, lighter and smoother fabrics such as those used for traditional tailoring.

Most Australian wool is used for the manufacture of apparel products, and in the production of these two main manufacturing systems or methods are used. These are the worsted system and the woollen system.

 

What is the woollen yarn?

Woollen yarn is usually created from the shorter fibres of the sheep's fleece. These wool fibres vary more in diameter and length. Woollen yarn is used to make thick, heavyweight woven or knitted garments. These fabrics are ideal for warm winter jackets or sweaters.

 

What is worsted yarn?

Worsted yarn mainly uses the highest quality fleece wool obtained during shearing. Fleece wool generally contains the longest wool fibres, which vary less in diameter and length. Worsted yarn is used to make flatter, lighter and smoother fabrics such as those used for traditional tailoring.

Most Australian wool is used for the manufacture of apparel products, and in the production of these two main manufacturing systems or methods are used. These are the worsted system and the woollen system.

Woolmark Learning Centre

Free online training

Learn more about Wool processing and manufacturing on the Woolmark Learning Centre. Free to access, these intuitive online courses will further your education on wool fibre science, how wool is processed and how fabrics are finished and dyed.

Visit the learning centre

Source wool

2020 Wool Sourcing Guide – Japan Edition

In its commitment to promote the best wool textiles and yarns from across the world, The Woolmark Company acknowledges the irreplaceable contribution of Japanese manufacturers to this landscape. This sourcing guide is the first of its kind, and highlights 22 of the best wool spinners, weavers and specialists from Japan to help you source wool and directly connect with some of the world’s leading suppliers.

Download Now

Wool Processing

Vietnam Wool Suppliers’ Sourcing Guide

The Woolmark Company collaborates with more than 90 partners in Vietnam, including flatbed knitters, circular knitters and garment-making companies. They have transferred technical knowhow about the manufacturing of wool products, disseminated information about sources of raw materials, chemicals and machines, and organised international trade missions to connect our project partners with buyers.

The Woolmark Company has additionally established strategic partnerships with the Hanoi University of Technology, Textile Research Institute and VINATEX to provide a resource for education, testing and research and industry networking, cooperation and leadership. This sourcing guide aims to provide support in navigating Vietnam’s high-quality textile manufacturing industry for the global wool supply chain.

DOWNLOAD NOW