Worsted or woolen? Join us for a yarn safari, on the next episode of Mutual of MDK Mild Kingdom.

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44 Comments
  • Thank you for this lucid explanation – and the swatches to illustrate it. NOW I KNOW. How satisfying!

  • Thank you! This helped me understand the difference and will help me make better choices when picking a yarn to knit certain patterns.

  • A light bulb has definitely gone on for me. I said Thank You as soon as I read the title. The distinctions between these has been a mystery to me until now. Great visuals and explanations. Perfect.

  • A great big “AHA!” Moment for me! I’ll never look at yarn the same way again! So much yarn, so many choices — the Lust Factor will now have a bit more knowledge backing it up!

  • This article is so well written and I love how you explain how the type of yarn will effect the finished product. But it’s so difficult to choose between the two Tom Hardys.

    • There’s also Wuthering Heights Tom Hardy, just saying. So many Tom Hardys.

      • Oh great now I’m going to spend all day weeping for Wuthering Heights Tom Hardy and wondering what kind of yarn he was.

        • Wuthering Heights Tom Hardy is the yarn that ran out when you were an inch from the finish.

        • LOL, Lynn! Good one :D!

  • I’ve wondered lately why some yarn I loved in my LYS seemed perfect, but when swatched, especially in garter stitch, looked so shiny, something I didn’t want. Now I know. Thank you, you’re a great explainer.

  • Best article I’ve read on this subject, and I’ve been looking for a clear one for about a year. Thank you for your thoughtful and careful drafting, and especially the photos!

  • What a great article. A lot of totally digestable information, that was logically arranged and illustrated… and you even sprinkled it with touches of humor.

    I’ve put off learning more about the structure and the why and have just let myself be lead around MLYS making choices that just add to the stash but may not be right for the intended project. Now I might be able to come closer to making the right choice for the right project.

    You cracked the egg for me.I want to read more of your writing. Cheers and Thanks. Annie

  • I sort of knew all of this but your explanation and illustrations pulled my knowledge all together. I feel like I can make better yarn/pattern matches and explain these variables to others who want me to knit for them and their only concern is color. Thanks.

  • Great article! Thanks for the clear and concise approach – I get it now!

  • Thank you for an excellent and informative article, Jill! I am currently knitting with Empire and wondered what made me love it so much more than (another lovely but unnamed) yarn of the same gauge. It’s not just the beautiful dyeing…

  • Wow! Thanks.

  • Super helpful explanation! Thanks!

  • The best article ever on this subject. The photos were such a vivid illustration of the difference between these two types of drafting and their results for your knitting.

  • This was the clearest explanation regarding the what, why, and how of woolen vs. worsted spun I have come across. Bonus points for great pictures to make everything visual and extra clear. Thank you!

  • Excellent explanation!

  • Oh that’s right! Finally I understand – I sorta knew but didn’t quite fit it into certain yarns I was knitting on, I always wondered . . . and now the skies are clear, the the clouds have drifted away, and the sun is shining!
    Great article, thank you.

  • Great article and most helpful. I just started stranded colorwork and this with your swatches is a good resource. Thanks.

  • This is an excellent article and explanation. I’ll be referring back to it next time I’m looking for yarn for a specific project.

  • Everyone already said what I wanted to, so I’ll just add that Tom Hardy is my Happy Place, no matter how he’s spun.

  • Thank you!

  • Absolutely excellent article and the illustrations are superb and helpful. Congratulations on shedding light on these two styles of spinning that are so confusing for many spinners.

  • I have learned so much today, THANK YOU.

  • Thank you for helping me understand these yarn differences…this will help me understand why one yarn will make me swoon, and another yarn, totally different, really makes my knees weak. Now I can make better informed decisions when selecting yarns for a project, and now that next trip to my LYS will really become an adventure!

  • Your explanation is great, and reaffirms my decision to purchase your Yarnitecture book awhile back. Time to read it again, more closely!

  • Great article! And I really appreciate the swatches. I think I’ll need to read it over a few times to really get it, because there is so much information

  • So good! Now I also know the difference when spinning too. Thanks!

  • In the pictures, the woollen spun samples all seem bigger that the worsted spun. Does it make that much difference to your gauge?

  • Thank you for a well written and useful article. This is the type of information that makes a knitter more knowledgable about our purchases. I choose to support local and indie yarners and don’t mind spending big $$ on yarn if I understand it will fit the intended project. With your information I can now choose wisely, thus ensuring my yarn/pattern will be completed. Yarn stashes are nice, but at some point, I become a yarn collector instead of a knitter if I never get projects done due to errors in purchases.
    Your book will be one of the few in my library, as I want those that provide me the knowledge to choose and knit wisely.

  • Yours has been my favorite series to date – I’m learning so much and feel like I can make better choices! And I also now understand my past failures a little better… haha!

  • A beautifully written, lucid and illuminating lesson, and several fascinating aspects to the distinctions. Understanding helps tremendously and the side by side swatches were terrific. Thank you so much!

  • Wonderful study! Thank you for this insightful article.

  • My thanks also. Very clear explanation of a new topic to me. It will help a lot in future project planning.

  • Excellent article – great swatch/photo examples too

  • Great article! I actually own a mini mill that creates semi-worsted yarns. Many people ask us about the process and the type of yarn we produce. Depending on their knowledge of spinning and yarns, it gets a bit tricky to articulate sometimes. Your explanation of the 2 ends of the spectrum also makes it very easy to understand our process and resulting yarns.

  • Great information! I think it also helps to think of the woolen spun as “grippier” (as in “grips more”) since all the fibres are not tamed into a smooth yarn but are sort of sticking out all over. This definitely affects your choice for a project that will be steeked, but also for fair isle or intarsia colourwork where the woolen spun will fill in the gaps between stitches of different colours. The worsted will tend to emphasize the gaps between the colours.

  • This has just lit a light bulb in my head. Thank for for such a coherent explanation (and the pretty swatches really help too)!

  • Great article, thank you for this very detailed account , I learned so much !

  • Extremely helpful! So well illustrated and explained. Thank you!

  • Fascinating! I did not know this was the difference in certain types of yarn. How about giving us more names of worsted and woolen yarns currently available?

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