Explain Superwash, Combed Top, Roving, Blood and English Count System
Superwash fibers have been treated with a polymer coating, laying down the wool scales that cause shrinkage and felting. These wool yarns feel smoother or slicker. A garment crafted with this yarn can safely be washed in the wash machine on the gentle cycle. Lay flat to dry rather than using the dryer.
Lots of confusion between top and roving. Let me explain....
Combed Top: Fibers are commercially combed in one direction. Preparation from combs also same process but on smaller scale. Removes all short fibers. Processed fibers for spinning worsted yarn. If you want to spin a worsted yarn, do not split the top you will need to draft off the end, keeping the fibers straight and parallel. For a semi worsted yarn, similar to a woolen yarn, combed top can be split and spun, torn off the end and rolled into rolag, or spun on the fold. Worsted yarns are ideal for colorwork, hard wearing smoother yarn. Semi worsted is yarn spun from combed top.
Roving: Fibers that are processed by hand cards, drum carders and most small fiber processors. These are rovings. You can not spin worsted yarn with this preparation. Woolen yarns allows air into the spun yarn. Adding insulation and loftiness. Semi woolen can be spun from rovings.
Blood System: It was agreed upon by breeders that Merino fleece was about 2 1/2 inches long and the fiber diameter was very fine and the crimp was very small and close together. This set the standard for comparison and it would be called “Fine”. Results, if you bred a Merino to some other non-Merino sheep the offspring would be half Merino, and you would expect that lamb’s wool to have half the character of the Merino fleece. Further, since most other sheep have longer, coarser wool than Merinos do, you would expect that half of the character of that lamb’s wool would also be longer and coarser. So, what you would get is called a 1/2 blood fleece and you it to have a larger fiber diameter than Merino wool, a somewhat larger crimp, and a longer staple lengthThen, if you crossed that half blood lamb with another sheep the offspring’s wool would be called a 3/8ths blood fleece, and so on.
English (Bradford) Spinning Count System. It is the number of hanks of yarn, each 560 yards in length, that it is possible to spin from one pound of clean wool. The finer the wool fiber, the more hanks (greater length, thinner yarn) that can be obtained from one pound. Comparison is an approximation, there can be some differences within the breed from animal to animal.
Microns is the measurement of the wool under a microscope.