Wovember Words #7

Today’s Wovember Word feels a bit naughty, as it isn’t about 100% wool! When I was discussing wool-related words with Team Wovember Member Kate, I mentioned I was fascinated by historical names for fabrics, cloth and yarn. There seemed to be so many more names in use, and now we don’t always know what they were. The example I gave was ‘drugget,’ a type of wool-blend traditionally used for the making of Sanquhar gloves.

This is what Kate found out about it:

[…] from what I can unearth, prior to the early nineteenth century ‘drugget’ referred to many different kinds of mixed fibre yarn and fabrics wool/linen, wool/hemp, wool/silk . . . it seems to me that ‘drugget’ is a term that’s being applied  quite generally – but that the  defining feature of all its uses is that the yarn or fabric it refers to is narrow (when a cloth) or thin (when a yarn). When a cloth, it seems to be quite loosely woven, too.

But by 1875, the application of the term had evolved quite dramatically (this is often the case with textile terminology in this period) and “drugget” acquires a very specific meaning  – as the coarse cloth that was used as the underlay to a rug or carpet! So the eighteenth century cloth/yarn evolves to become a sort of nineteenth century lining fabric.


Tom’s Sanquhar Gloves in the Prince of Wales pattern. These are knitted in 100% Estonian wool, a gift from Team Wovember Member Felicity.

This entry was posted by tomofholland.

4 thoughts on “Wovember Words #7

  1. Very interesting article. I recall my mother, of East Coast Scottish origin, used to refer to a carpet underlay as a drugget when I was a child in the 1940s.
    By the way, I just love those amazing gloves. What is the history of that pattern?

    • Hi Susan, those are traditional Sanquhar Gloves which I knitted up. Sanquhar is a small Scottish town on the Borders, and they used to have a glove knitting cottage industry, just like in the Lake District. One can still order the patterns from the Scottish Women’s Rural Institutes website.

  2. Pingback: Wovember Words #21 | Wovember

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