When doing demonstrations, I am sometimes asked what the micron is of the fiber I am carding. Here is the answer plus some other fiber quality terminology.
- Micron – the measurement used to describe how fine the fiber is. A fine fiber such as Merino is between 18-22. A medium fiber such as Corriedale is between 22 – 34. Wild Fibres offers a chart of common animals and their micron and Bradford counts.
- Bradford Count – used to measure how many skeins of yarn might be produced from one pound of fiber. A finer fiber will produce more. A Merino wool’s Bradford count will be between 60-80. A Corriedale will be between 40-60.
- Staple Length – Refers to the length of the fiber. This is important to know when you spin. A very short or very long fiber is more difficult to spin.
- Crimp – The natural bend in some fibers. Crimp makes fiber stretchier and tends to grip better. It is easier to spin than a finer fiber such as angora or silk that is straight and can be slippery.
- Memory – Sort of like the mattress, memory refers to the fiber’s ability to remember its original form. A fiber with good memory is great to use for form fitting items such as socks. After you’ve worn and stretched out the sock, the fiber will snap back to its original form after washed. Wool has the greatest memory of all natural fibers.