Week 4: Group Wool Data 

As the lab data recorder for Group A, I took note of both quantitative and qualitative data during Wool Week, which included carding, weaving, and spinning. This week more qualitative data than quantitative largely because of the nature of weaving and wool production, which lacks many quantitative facets such as precise measurements. For example, carding was one of the few activities we performed where we could observe a tangible before-and-after within a relatively short time frame. Weaving and spinning on the other hand were much lengthier processes than our class time allowed, therefore, resulting in fewer quantitative data to analyze as compared to other experiments like our cheese lab. Regardless, this lab was incredibly interesting to get an insight into the day-to-day activities and tasks that women engaged in. 

Carding: Before we can weave and spin the wool, we need to card the wool. This entails brushing the freshly sheared wool. It began with taking small pieces of wool and placing it on the edge of each card, after which the two card edges are brushed together multiple times. This action separates the wool fibers, creating a cloud-like texture. You can notice when you’ve carded long-enough when the wool changes from its initial state of tightly held wool to appearing fully brushed out in a voluminous cloud texture. With three members in our group, we carded three distinct types of wool: Cotswold, Leicester Longwool, and Jacobs. A fourth type, Soay, was available; however, due to our group’s limited time at the carding station, we were only able to fully brush three types of wool. We initially began to spin the Soay wool and found it significantly more challenging than the other two types of wool to card. The table below shows the weight of our wool before and after carding, as well as the amount of time we spent on carding. 

Wool Type Weight BeforeWeight AfterTime 
Cotswold, (Nick)0.40oz0.30oz11.04 min
Leicester Longwool, (Albert) 0.35oz0.25oz8.19 min
Jacob(Sadhana) 0.30oz0.30oz10.08 min

Wool Before Carding: 

Wool After Carding: 


The next step was spinning the previously carded wool using the leader and spinning wheel as shown in the picture below. One notable observation was that the carded wool was significantly stickier on our hands when spinning compared to the machine-produced wool. With this carded wool, we are simply able to grab clumps and spin them instead of needing to thin out the original piece of wool that was machine produced. This stickiness makes it substantially easier to add to the lead and spin, however it did stick to our hands. 


The entire group was taught to weave by Alejandra and our group weaved the majority of the blue and yellow rows. Each of us spent approximately 10 minutes weaving.  We had to be careful to ensure the threads accurately achieved a criss-cross pattern, ensuring to alternate going over and under the threads rather than going in the same direction. Weaving was a faster process and was easier to learn and replicate than spinning. Between all three of us, we managed to weave a total of 8 rows of thread on the loom. 

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