combed and spun wool /worsted and woolen

August – 2023 20 MINS READ
Understanding the difference between “combed(worsted)” and “spun(woolen)” is one of the most difficult things for a layman to grasp when they first start learning about yarn. It took me a long time to understand the difference myself, perhaps because I didn’t have any yarn to experiment with. Without any yarn to see and touch, it can be difficult to understand how it is made. The same is true for other materials, but wool is particularly challenging to understand. However, it is surprising how little-known it is that wool has been a necessity in human life since before Christ. Let’s study the very first part of this story together.
Wool and HUMAN
The history of wool is closely intertwined with the history of human civilization. Primitive people in Mesopotamia used sheep for food, clothing, and shelter as early as 10,000 years ago. They also learned to spin and weave wool, and their textiles became some of the most prized possessions in Babylon.The Persians, Greeks, and Romans continued to spread sheep and wool throughout Europe, and the Romans even established a wool plant in Winchester, England as early as 50 AD. The Saracens, who conquered Spain in the eighth century, also played a major role in the development of the wool trade. They established a widespread wool export business with North Africa, Greece, Egypt, and Constantinople.In the twelfth century, the Norman conquest of Greece stimulated weaving in Florence, Genoa, and Venice. The conquerors brought about a hundred Greek weavers to Palermo as slaves, and their work was quickly copied by Italian weavers.The wool trade also played a significant role in the Spanish Empire. It helped finance the voyages of Columbus and the Conquistadores. In order to protect its wealth, Spain even levied the death penalty on anyone exporting sheep until 1786.That same year, King Louis XVI of France imported 386 Merino ewes to cross with sheep on his estate at Rambouillet in Northern France. The resulting Rambouillet breed is highly desirable today because of its fine and long-staple wool.Like Spain, England also restricted raw wool exports. In 1377, England’s King Edward III, “the royal wool merchant,” stopped woven-goods imports and the domestic weaving of foreign wools. He also invited Flemish weavers fleeing the Spanish invasion to settle in England, where the wool industry thrived. By 1660, wool textile exports were two-thirds of England’s foreign commerce.The history of wool is a long and fascinating one. It is a story of human ingenuity,innovation, and trade. It is also a story of how wool has played a vital role in the development of civilization.

人類の文明と同様、ウールの物語も約1万年前の石器時代の小アジアから始まります。メソポタミア平原に住んでいた原始人は、衣食住という人間の3つの基本的欲求のために羊を使っていました。その後、人間は羊の毛を紡ぎ織ることを学びました。原始的であったに違いないがウールはバビロンの富の一部になりました。ウールの衣服の暖かさと羊の機能性により人類はメソポタミアの温暖な気候をはるかに超えて文明を広めることができました。紀元前3000年から1000年にかけて、ペルシャ人、ギリシャ人、ローマ人は品種改良を続けながらヨーロッパ中に羊と羊毛を流通させていきました。ローマ人は現在のスペイン、北アフリカ、そしてイギリス諸島に帝国を築きそのあらゆる場所に羊を連れて行来ました。紀元50年には現在のイングランドのウィンチェスターに羊毛工場を設立もしています。シリア・アラビア砂漠の遊牧民であったサラセン人は、8世紀にスペインを征服し、北アフリカ、ギリシャ、エジプト、コンスタンチノープルとの間で広く羊毛の輸出貿易を確立しました。12世紀、フィレンツェ、ジェノヴァ、ヴェネツィアの織物は、ノルマン人がギリシャ征服し100人ほどのギリシア人織工を奴隷としてパレルモに送り込みます。彼らの並外れた仕事はイタリアの織工たちにすぐに真似されました。スペインでは羊毛貿易が盛んになり、コロンブスやコンキスタドールたちの航海の資金源となりました。その富を守るため、スペインは1786年まで良質な羊を輸出する者に死刑を課していたほどです。この年、国王ルイ16世は386頭のメリノ種の雌羊を輸入し、フランス北部のランブイエの領地にいた羊と交配させました。こうして生まれたランブイエ種は上質で毛足の長い羊毛のため今日でも非常に人気があります。スペインと同様、イングランドも原毛の輸出を禁止しました。1377年、”王室御用達の羊毛商人 “であったイングランド王エドワード3世は、織物の輸入と外国産羊毛の国内製織を停止しスペインの侵攻から逃れてきたフランドル地方の織物職人をイングランドに移住させました。1660年までにウール織物の輸出はイングランドの対外貿易の3分の2を占めるようになりました。

– recommendation –

The history of sheep breeding.

Sheep breeding began around 11,000 years ago for wool and meat. Selective breeding led to different breeds adapted to different environments and purposes. The Industrial Revolution led to increased demand for wool and the development of specialized breeds.


My research is taking a step back to the basics. I have recently been studying the relatively modern period of the 1800s and 1900s, but I believe that a solid foundation in the history of the shirt begins with the tunic , chiton and toga etc. However, as underwear is not as common in warmer regions, I would like to focus my research on clothing from northern regions this time.This research will surely lead to shirts as underwear.