Wool

Wool is the textile fibre obtained from sheep and other animals such as goats, muskoxen, rabbits and also camelids. Wool mainly consists of protein together with a few percent lipids, thus being chemically different from the more dominant textile, cotton, which is mainly cellulose.

Process of production:

SHEARING- this is the process by which the woollen fleece of a sheep is cut off. After shearing, the wool is separated into four main categories: fleece, broken, bellies and locks. The quality of fleeces is determined by a technique known as wool classing, where someone groups the wools of similar grading together to maximise the return for the farmer or sheep owner.

SCOURING- before the wool can be used for commercial use it must be scoured, a process of cleaning the greasy wool. The process may be as simple as a bath in warm water or as complicated as an industrial process using detergent and alkali in specialised equipment.

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Types:

  • Sheep's wool- it is traditional wool that can be made from any sheep fleece

 

  • Merino wool- this is taken from a merino sheep and has fine, soft appearance of the fabric. It is quite expensive. The distinction from other types of wool is its resistance to pilling

 

  • Angora wool- this is made of an Angora rabbit hair. Its main quality is its fluffy surface texture and its soft touch. It is expensive, as it comes from a specific breed of rabbit. To improve fabric stability Angora is often blended with Nylon.

 

  • Cashmere wool- cashmere is soft and luxurious fabric. The fibres that are used to make cashmere come from specific areas of the fleece of a cashmere goat, and that is why it is so expensive.

 

  • Alpaca wool- is made from the hair of Peruvian alpacas, but it also can come from similar fibres of mohair, Icelandic sheep or even high-quality English wool. 

© Jeevan Chahal, all rights reserved

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