Worsted refers to both a type of yarn and the fabric produced by this yarn. There are two main types of wool yarn: woollen and worsted. They use fleeces from different breeds of sheep and are prepared and spun in different ways. Worsted uses fleeces which have long fibres. In the processing of worsted yarn, combing machines make sure that the wool fibres lie parallel to each other and are of the same length. This produces a smooth, strong yarn. In woollen yarn, the fibres are shorter, of varying length, and point in all directions. Woollen yarns are fluffy and uneven.
Worsted yarn produces fabrics that are hard-wearing and have a fine, smooth texture whilst woollen products are softer and warmer. Worsted yarn is used in clothing such as menís suits and woollen yarns are more suitable for knitwear and blankets.
The processes of spinning and weaving are explained in the galleries on the second floor of Bradford Industrial Museum where you can also see the machinery used to produce worsted.