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Carding Wool, R. R. MacIan - The Highlanders at Home (1848)

Wool Week (2020)

Oct 9

Other Scottish Country Dances for this Day

Wool Week (2020)
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Today's Musings, History & Folklore

"Baa, baa, black sheep
Have you any wool?
Yes sir, yes sir, three bags full."

~ Mother Goose

In preparing wool fiber for spinning, carding is the step that comes after teasing and prepares the wool for spinning. The word is derived from the Latin carduus meaning thistle or teasel, as dried vegetable teasels were first used to comb the raw wool. Carding breaks up locks and unorganised clumps of fibre and then aligns the individual fibers to be parallel with each other. Carding of wool can either be done "in the grease" or not, depending on the type of machine and on the spinner's preference. "In the grease" means that the lanolin that naturally comes with the wool has not been washed out, leaving the wool with a slightly greasy feel. The large drum carders do not tend to get along well with lanolin, so most commercial worsted and woollen mills wash the wool before carding. Hand carders can be used to card lanolin rich wool. 🐑🐑🐑

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Wool Awareness Week highlights the importance of the wool industry in many countries, particularly Scotland.

Processing of wool generally revolves around the following steps: shearing, dyeing, carding, spinning, weaving, and waulking.

Carding is the mechanical process that disentangles, cleans, combs and intermixes the wool fibres to produce a continuous web suitable for subsequent processing.  The word is derived from the Latin carduus meaning thistle or teasel, as dried vegetable teasels were first used to comb the raw wool.


Waulking, also known as fulling, tucking or walking, is the step which involves the cleansing of cloth to eliminate oils, dirt, and other impurities, and to make it thicker.  Originally, fulling was carried out by pounding the woollen cloth with the fuller's feet, or hands, or a club. In Scottish Gaelic tradition, this process was accompanied by waulking songs, which women sang to set the pace.

And to see a short documentary film on Scottish work songs for waulking (the working of the wool), click the Engraving of Scotswomen singing a waulking song while waulking the cloth, c. 1770.

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The majority of dance descriptions referenced on this site have been taken from the


Scottish Country Dancing Dictionary or the

Scottish Country Dancing Database 


Snapshots of dance descriptions are provided as an overview only.  As updates may have occurred, please click the dance description to be forwarded to a printable dance description or one of the official reference sources.

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