Week 4: Wool – Group B Data

I was the lab data recorder for group B this week. Collecting quantitative data for every step of the wool production process was somewhat difficult. The varying skill levels each group member had with spinning and weaving may make comparison or generalization from quantitative data related to such higher skill steps less useful than data related to lower skill steps such as carding. I thus collected quantitative data for primarily the initial carding stage of the process, while relying more on qualitative observation for the spinning and weaving steps. Such qualitative data was collected through my own observations and discussions with my group members.


The first step in the wool production process is carding, where workers take freshly sheered wool and pull it apart between two brushes called cards in order to align the wool fibers and prepare it to be spun. The carding process seemed to be the quickest to learn, especially compared to weaving or spinning. Each member of the group was able to relatively quickly produce carded wool that was useable in our spinning later on in the lab. The table below shows how long it took members of our group to process varying amounts of different types of wool. The table also shows how much wool was lost during carding and how carding the wool helped to make the wool fibers finer and less clumped together.

Type of WoolCotswoldJacobLeicester LongwoolSoay
Initial Weight (oz)0.3070.20.450.202
Initial Fiber Width (mm)0.692.131.632.86
Total Carding Time (minutes)12:409:3712:2610:13
Post-Carding Weight (oz)
PostCarding Width (mm)
Various measurements related to carding different types of wool.
Margaret spinning had carded wool with more waiting on the table.


The second step in the wool production is spinning where were went about turning the carded wool into yarn or thread. Here, we have relatively little quantitative data because spinning was an ongoing process throughout the entirety of the lab. Members of our group, however, noted several important qualitative observations:

  1. Spinning the wool, especially the hand carded wool, deposited lanolin on your hands as you spun it such that they quickly became sticky. This made it easier to work with the wool and draw fibers out from the card to spin.
  2. The high lanolin content in the hand carded wool made it easier to work with than the machine carded wool we began learning to spin with. Although the fibers in the hand carded wool were shorter meaning we had to add new wool more frequently do so was easier than with the machine carded and washed wool.
  3. Different types of wools were comparatively harder and easier to spin. We noted that the Cotswold and Leicester Longwool relatively easily produced a tightly spun yarn while the Jacob wool produced a much looser yarn and the Soay wool was nearly impossible to spin.
  4. After only two hours of spinning, our hands and arms were notably tired, particularly the muscles around the thumb in the hand releasing wool from the card.
The difference in yarn produced from Jacob and Leicester Longwool wools. Longwool on the top of the yarn, Jacob on the bottom.


The final process in wool production was weaving. Although we did not measure exact times, each person spent approximately 15 minutes weaving on the loom but managed to weave slightly variable numbers of rows. I was only able to produce 2 rows because after making a mistake it the same amount of time to undo a row as to weave a new one. The warp-weighted loom was comparatively much faster and we were able to weave six rows in slightly over six minutes.

Rows Weaved432

0 thoughts on “Week 4: Wool – Group B Data

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.