AskDefine | Define woolen

The Collaborative Dictionary

Woolen \Wool"en\, n. [Written also woollen.] Cloth made of wool; woollen goods. [1913 Webster]
Woolen \Wool"en\, a. [OE. wollen; cf. AS. wyllen. See Wool.] [Written also woollen.] [1913 Webster]
Made of wool; consisting of wool; as, woolen goods. [1913 Webster]
Of or pertaining to wool or woolen cloths; as, woolen manufactures; a woolen mill; a woolen draper. [1913 Webster] Woolen scribbler, a machine for combing or preparing wool in thin, downy, translucent layers. [1913 Webster]

Word Net

woolen adj : of or related to or made of wool; "a woolen sweater" [syn: woollen] n : a fabric made from the hair of sheep [syn: wool, woollen]


Alternative spellings



  1. Made of wool.

Derived terms

Related terms


made of wool
  • Dutch: wollen
  • Finnish: villa- (in compounds)
  • German: wollen, Woll-
  • Telugu: ఉన్ని (unni)
  • Ukrainian: вовняний (wown'anyj)
Woollen (American English: woolen) is the name of a yarn and cloth usually made from wool. Woollen yarn is known for being light, stretchy, and full of air. It is thus a good insulator, and makes a good knitting yarn. Woollen yarn is in contrast to worsted yarn, which doesn't contain air and doesn't stretch as much.

Commercial manufacture

The woollen process entails that the wool be opened and subsequently carded (often several times to obtain prerequisite homogeneity). The wool leaves a carding machine as a thin web. In the woollen process, the web, after the final card, is split up into numerous bands which are rubbed into roving and often stored on bobbins awaiting transport to a spinning frame.
There are several technologies used for spinning roving into thread with or without additional stretching of the yarn; formerly the most important being ring spinning and selfactor spinning; nowadays open end spinning. Regardless of the technique employed, the resulting woollen yarn has relatively high 'bulk' (that is, a lot of empty space between threads) and therefore exhibits good thermal insulation properties compared to worsted yarns which are smooth, shiny, and compact.

Handspinning woollen yarn

Woollen yarn is handspun using the long draw technique, and the yarn is spun from a rolag. Most handspinners make a blend of a woollen and worsted yarn, using techniques from both categories, and thus ending up with a mix. The first step to spin a true woollen yarn, however, is to card the fiber into a rolag using handcarders.
The rolag is spun without much stretching of the fibers from the cylindrical configuration. This is done by allowing twist into a short section of the rolag, and then pulling back, without letting the rolag change position in your hands, until the yarn is the desired thickness. The twist will concentrate in the thinnest part of the roving, thus when the yarn is pulled, the thicker sections with less twist will tend to thin out. Once the yarn is the desired thickness, enough twist is added to make the yarn strong. Then the yarn is wound onto the bobbin, and the process starts again.

Other meanings

"Woollen", as an adjective, also refers to a thing which is composed of wool, in the same vein as wheaten, golden, and the somewhat rarer silvern and leathern.


woolen in Czech: Mykaná příze
woolen in German: Streichgarn
woolen in Swedish: Ylle
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