What are Roving, Top, and Sliver? by Abby Franquemont

It’s common nowadays for a lot of folks in the fiber world to use the word “roving” to refer to any unspun fiber. This isn’t really accurate and doesn’t give a clear sense of what the preparation really is—and the preparation is relevant!

In most European-derived spinning traditions, yarns are categorized as worsted or woolen; worsted
yarns are tightly spun without air trapped between the fibers; they are spun from combed prep with all the fibers parallel, producing a smooth, long-wearing yarn. Woolen yarns are produced from carded prep using more hands-off techniques and resulting in a more heterogeneous fiber alignment with air trapped in the yarn. Woolen yarns are lofty; worsted yarns are dense.

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