Top 10 Wool Terms You Didn’t Know

Getting into the world of wool (and sheepskin) can be tricky for newcomers, in part because of the sheer number of obscure terms and phrases which only the most experienced fashionistas and knitters will know. Here are 10 must-know terms to acquaint yourself with to ensure you know your mule from your lustre.

1. Micron

Microns are used to measure fibre thickness, and one micron is equal to one-thousandth of a millimetre. Wool types such as fine, medium, mule, lustre are graded by thickness measured in microns amongst other factors.

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Original photo by Charles Deluvio on Unsplash

2. Humbug

Humbug is when natural colours are blended together to give wool the attractive, striped appearance of a traditional humbug sweet.

3. Nep

Have you always wondered: what does ‘nep’ mean? Nep can often refer to a small knot of entangled fibres embedded in the yarn, either intentionally or otherwise. We use it to refer to our ‘cream nep’ colour of yarn, which is primarily cream yarn with flecks of natural dark colours like brown, grey and black. Or the wool version of stracciatella ice cream!

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Original photo by Nynne Schroderon Unsplash

4. Scouring

Another word for washing the wool to remove grease and dirt. Watch our video of scouring in action at our local plant in Yorkshire.

5. Marl

What does ‘marl’ mean? Sometimes called ‘marled yarn’, this is a type of yarn which is created by twisting together different colour piles.

6. Superwash

This is a shrink resistant treatment which can be applied to wool and animal fibres involving chlorination and synthetic resin. It’s not something that is ever done to the wool Glencroft uses, we prefer the more natural feel and more importantly the smell you get from 100% British Wool which hasn’t been superwashed.

7. Weave up

What is a ‘weave up’ rug or blanket? You may have seen some of our picnic rugs referred to as ‘weave up’ rugs; this simply means that they’re woven up with spare yarn from our mill, allowing us to produce high-quality rugs at a great price, and minimise waste at the same time.

8. Burrs

Burrs are just a by-product of wool combing, which removes the vegetable burrs that accumulate on a sheep’s coat.

9. Cones

Cones are simply what yarn comes on, describing the shape of the structure which the yarn wraps around.

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Original photo by Eric Muhr on Unsplash

10. Furrier

Not strictly a wool term but one we use a lot so we thought we’d add it in! Pronounced ‘farrier’, a furrier is a wishy-washy grey-white creamy little sheepskin rug. So, next time someone asks you ‘what is a furrier?’ hopefully you can give them a great answer.

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Original photo by Paul Hanaoka on Unsplash


Feeling clued up now? With these 10 terms, you should be able to chat wool with the best in the business.


Top 10 Wool Terms You Didn’t Know