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All You Need To Know About Wool

If you are not allergic to natural materials, you can’t imagine how lucky you are to wear or use items made of wool. Wool (a natural and animal based) is an incredibly unique material. It’s the hair from sheep and other wool bearing animals. Do you know anything about the production process?

 

WHY SO INCREDIBLE?

Astronauts wear wool for comfort in the confines of their spacecraft. Wool protects mountain climbers and polar scientists, the sailors who navigate single-handed the oceans of the... It is a fibre fit for heroes-and for more ordinary folk. As modern as moonflight, and as ancient as the hills.

Human had discovered a durable fabric which gave him what nothing else could give: protection alike from heat and cold, from wind and rain. A versatile fabric which kept him cool in the heat of the day and warm in the cold of the night, which could absorb moisture without feeling wet.

No other material, natural or man-made, has all its qualities. But man can refine and improve wool. He has done so by selective breeding of sheep and by incorporating in wool fabrics such qualities as shrink resistance, durable creasing and pleating, mothproofing, shower-proofing and stain-proofing.

WOOL PRODUCTION

Shearing

When human beings first used wool fiber, they gathered fiber that was shed from the sheep during their spring molt. As humans domesticated the sheep, they bred them to resist shedding so that the wool could be removed when it was convenient. In the early twenty-first century, the first step in wool production is removing the wool from the sheep by shearing (cutting). Once off the animal, the fleece of one sheep is bundled together with the clean side in. 

 

Grading and sorting

Grading is the breaking up of the fleece based on overall quality. In sorting, the wool is broken up into sections of different quality fibers, from different parts of the body. The best quality of wool comes from the shoulders and sides of the sheep and is used for clothing; the lesser quality comes from the lower legs and is used to make rugs. In wool grading, high quality does not always mean high durability.

Cleaning and scouring

Wool taken directly from the sheep is called "raw" or "grease wool." It contains sand, dirt, grease, and dried sweat (called suint). Remove these contaminants, the wool is scoured in a series of alkaline baths containing water, soap, and soda ash or a similar alkali. The byproducts from this process (such as lanolin) are saved and used in a variety of household products.

After being carded, the wool fibers are spun into yarn. Spinning for woolen yarns is typically done on a mule spinning machine, while worsted yarns can be spun on any number of spinning machines. After the yarn is spun, it is wrapped around bobbins, cones, or commercial drums.

 

Carding

Next, the fibers are passed through a series of metal teeth that straighten and blend them into slivers. Carding also removes residual dirt and other matter left in the fibers.

Spinning

Thread is formed by spinning the fibers together to form one strand of yarn; the strand is spun with two, three, or four other strands. Since the fibers cling and stick to one another, it is fairly easy to join, extend, and spin wool into yarn. 

Weaving

Next, the wool yarn is woven into fabric. Wool manufacturers use two basic weaves: the plain weave and the twill.

Finishing

After weaving, both worsteds and woolens undergo a series of finishing procedures including: fulling (immersing the fabric in water to make the fibers interlock); crabbing (permanently setting the interlock); decating (shrink-proofing); and, occasionally, dyeing. 

INPACT ON THE PLANET

 

 

This means that like plastic, these fabrics often end up in landfill and take years to break down. Synthetic fabrics are also energy-intensive to produce. Many common synthetic fabrics are by-products of petroleum.

Manufacturing involves large amounts of crude oil, and releases emissions into the atmosphere that contribute to global warming and affect human health.

On the other hand, intensive sheep farming uses methods that harm the environment. Industrial size livestock grazing can also increase land clearing and degradation. There are holistic land management methods of grazing like animals being grazed in smaller paddocks for shorter periods of time, allowing the paddock to be in recovery for most of the time.Unfortunately these practices are not widespread but they are gaining popularity and support.

 

HOW TO BUY ETHICAL WOOL

When buying wool, look for standards and certifications that ensure the fair treatment of animals and the respect of the environment, such as the Responsible Wool Standard, ZQ Merino Standard and the Soil Association Organic Standards.

You can look out for clothing made from recycled wool, and of course buying pre-loved or vintage wool items ensures the garment gets a longer useful life. The Good On You ratings reward brands that endeavour to avoid wool from mulesed sheep and use recycled wool, like Hopaal or no animal products at all, like Vege Threads.

As for TREASURE BOX team, we recommend to buy high-quality and sustainbaly made items that will stay with you and your children forever.

 

 

 

 

 

Read more: http://www.madehow.com/Volume-1/Wool.html#ixzz62bFWJvIq