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what is wool

Wool has also been traditionally used to cover cloth diapers. This method is preferred for small lots or mixed butts to make savings on reclassing and testing. These happy animals hang out in temperatures that range from 5 degrees to 95 degrees—no problem. Due to decreasing demand with increased use of synthetic fibers, wool production is much less than what it was in the past. 100% biodegradable When a wool fibre is disposed of, it will naturally decompose in soil in a matter of years, slowly releasing valuable … About 85% of wool sold in Australia is sold by open cry auction. It is generally a creamy white color, although some breeds of sheep produce natural colors, such as black, brown, silver, and random mixes. Wool is a natural fibre produced by sheep. Raw wool was baled and shipped from North Sea ports to the textile cities of Flanders, notably Ypres and Ghent, where it was dyed and worked up as cloth. The low density of wool allows manufacture of lightweight fabrics. The Oxford dictionary defines wool as the “ ), a by-product employed in cosmetics and ointments. This wool is produced using an acid bath that removes the "scales" from the fiber, or by coating the fiber with a polymer that prevents the scales from attaching to each other and causing shrinkage. Written contracts bound the artisans to specified terms. Felting shrinkage occurs when wet fibres, subjected to mechanical action, become matted into packed masses. Highly absorbent, retaining as much as 16 to 18 percent of its weight in moisture, wool becomes warmer to the wearer as it absorbs moisture from the air, thus adjusting its moisture content and, consequently, its weight, in response to atmospheric conditions. Wool dryer balls' round shape prevents laundry from clumping up, explains Lindsey Boyd, the co-founder of The Laundress. [43], The New England Merino Field days which display local studs, wool, and sheep are held during January, in even numbered years around the Walcha, New South Wales district. How to use wool in a … After the Restoration, fine English woolens began to compete with silks in the international market, partly aided by the Navigation Acts; in 1699, the English crown forbade its American colonies to trade wool with anyone but England herself. The smuggling of wool out of the country, known as owling, was at one time punishable by the cutting off of a hand. There are two breeds of this four-legged animal: the Huacaya alpaca and the Suri alpaca. Merino wool sweaters are free from that scratchy wool feeling because of their soft, smooth fibers. These grades may vary depending on the breed or purpose of the wool. Kevlar, when used alone, loses about 20% of its effectiveness when wet, so required an expensive waterproofing process. This method works well for tested lots, as buyers use these results to make a purchase. To make wool, producers harvest the hairs of animals and spin them into yarn. Worsteds, usually made from longer fibre, are fine, smooth, firm, and durable. Only a few dozen of the millions of bales auctioned every year can be classified and marked 1PP. Over the centuries, various British laws controlled the wool trade or required the use of wool even in burials. Wool roving is a piece of wool that has been washed and combed into a clump and twisted to hold the fibers together. Wool that has been stretched during yarn or fabric manufacture may undergo relaxation shrinkage in washing, with fibres resuming their normal shape. This article was most recently revised and updated by, International Wool Textile Organisation - History of Wool, American Wool Association - Types of Wool and Processing, Quatr.us - What is wool? About 80 brokers and agents work throughout Australia. Spindle whorls, loom weights,…, …industry continued to concentrate on woolens but partially turned its efforts to producing a new type of cloth, worsteds. [1], Wool consists of protein together with a small percentage of lipids. Let us know if you have suggestions to improve this article (requires login). The resilient fibre can return to its original length after limited stretching or compression, thus imparting to fabrics and garments the ability to retain shape, drape well, and resist wrinkling. ", "2004/51/1 Trophy and plaque, Ermenegildo Zegna Vellus Aureum trophy and plaque, plaster / bronze / silver / gold, trophy designed and made by Not Vital for Ermenegildo Zegna, Switzerland, 2001", https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Wool&oldid=992512059, Short description is different from Wikidata, Wikipedia pending changes protected pages, Articles needing additional references from December 2017, All articles needing additional references, Articles with unsourced statements from December 2011, Articles with unsourced statements from August 2014, Wikipedia articles incorporating citation to the NSRW, Wikipedia articles incorporating citation to the NSRW with an wstitle parameter, Wikipedia articles incorporating a citation from the New International Encyclopedia, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, 21–26 microns, white, 90–180 mm (3.5–7.1 in) long. These grab samples are bulked, objectively measured, and a sample of not less than 4 kg (9 lb) is displayed in a box for the buyer to examine. Wool is generally found in two varieties: woollen and worsted. The prize is awarded to an Australian or New Zealand wool grower who produces the year's finest bale. This is the largest sheep and wool show in the world, with goats and alpacas, as well as woolcraft competitions and displays, fleece competitions, sheepdog trials, shearing, and wool handling. Find more ways to say wool, along with related words, antonyms and example phrases at Thesaurus.com, the world's most trusted free thesaurus. Raw wool has many impurities; vegetable matter, sand, dirt and yolk which is a mixture of suint (sweat), grease, urine stains and dung locks. Woollens are scratchy and quite literally hairy. 2. yarn made of such wool. [23][24][25], Superwash wool (or washable wool) technology first appeared in the early 1970s to produce wool that has been specially treated so it is machine washable and may be tumble-dried. These follicles are located in the upper layer of the skin called the epidermis and push down into the second skin layer called the dermis as the wool fibers grow. This bale was produced by the Hillcreston Pinehill Partnership and measured 11.6 microns, 72.1% yield, and had a 43 newtons per kilotex strength measurement. Wool felted and treated with lanolin is water resistant, air permeable, and slightly antibacterial, so it resists the buildup of odor. Woollens. Wild sheep were more hairy than woolly. Wool that has had no previous use is described as new wool, or, in the United States, as virgin wool. Wool is a protein fiber derived from the fleece of sheep and other animals and it is also the fabric made from the wool fibers. In medieval times, as trade connections expanded, the Champagne fairs revolved around the production of wool cloth in small centers such as Provins. The result was A$279,000 for the bale. For example: Any wool finer than 25 microns can be used for garments, while coarser grades are used for outerwear or rugs. Secondary follicles only produce true wool fibers. Medullated fibers share nearly identical characteristics to hair and are long but lack crimp and elasticity. Wool has good resistance to dry-cleaning solvents, but strong alkalies and high temperatures are harmful. [9] Before the flowering of the Renaissance, the Medici and other great banking houses of Florence had built their wealth and banking system on their textile industry based on wool, overseen by the Arte della Lana, the wool guild: wool textile interests guided Florentine policies. A fine wool like Merino may have up to 40 crimps per centimetre (100 crimps per inch), while coarser wool like karakul may have less than one (one or two crimps per inch). The relative amounts of kemp to wool vary from breed to breed and make some fleeces more desirable for spinning, felting, or carding into batts for quilts or other insulating products, including the famous tweed cloth of Scotland. There are a few scattered wool textiles from the Neolithic, but the first well-documented evidence of wool textiles dates from the Bronze Age. The network developed by the annual fairs meant the woolens of Provins might find their way to Naples, Sicily, Cyprus, Majorca, Spain, and even Constantinople. [16] "Reused wool" refers to such wool that has been used by the ultimate consumer.[16]. People use wool fiber to make clothing, blankets, and other things to keep warm. [38][citation needed] Wool fiber exteriors are hydrophobic (repel water) and the interior of the wool fiber is hygroscopic (attracts water); this makes a wool garment suitable cover for a wet diaper by inhibiting wicking, so outer garments remain dry. Protein substances are more vulnerable to chemical damage and unfavourable environmental conditions than the cellulose material forming the plant fibres. The oldest known European wool textile, ca. The final wool textile, which we simply call “wool,” has been used for thousands of years to produce garments that keep us warm, including, of course, sweaters. About 5% of Australian wool is sold over the internet on an electronic offer board. [1], In July, the annual Australian Sheep and Wool Show is held in Bendigo, Victoria. Forward selling: Some buyers offer a secure price for forward delivery of wool based on estimated measurements or the results of previous clips. The wool is characterized by its fineness and softness, and it will become thicker and coarser as the animal ages, at which point it will be considered sheep’s wool. Crafting [edit | edit source]. [22] In the 13th century, the wool trade became the economic engine of the Low Countries and central Italy. [26], In December 2004, a bale of the then world's finest wool, averaging 11.8 microns, sold for AU$3,000 per kilogram at auction in Melbourne, Victoria. Another word for wool. Wool fibers readily absorb moisture, but are not hollow. Prehistoric man, clothing himself with sheepskins, eventually learned to make yarn and fabric from their fibre covering. [4] Wool ignites at a higher temperature than cotton and some synthetic fibers. In 2008, 475 entries came from all states of Australia, with first and second prizes going to the Northern Tablelands, New South Wales fleeces. As an animal protein, wool can be used as a soil fertilizer, being a slow-release source of nitrogen. Be on the lookout for your Britannica newsletter to get trusted stories delivered right to your inbox. As mentioned above, wool can have different meanings, depending on the context. Kemp fibers are very coarse and shed out.[2]. Francesco Datini, the "merchant of Prato", established in 1383 an Arte della Lana for that small Tuscan city. Recovered wools, employed mainly in woolens and blends, are often of inferior quality because of damage suffered during the recovery process. Lanolin removed from wool is widely used in cosmetic products, such as hand creams. There are about 100 or more species of sheep that gives fleece that gets to be wool with varying degrees of perfection in length, … She’s knitting a jumper in pure wool. At times the textiles themselves have been found, but more commonly it is the equipment used in textile production that shows their presence. [21] The wool trade developed into serious business, a generator of capital. This style represents the top level of fineness, character, color, and style as determined on the basis of a series of parameters in accordance with the original dictates of British wool as applied by the Australian Wool Exchange (AWEX) Council. Flattened roving is known as batting. In 2002, the Ermenegildo Zegna Vellus Aureum Trophy was launched for wool that is 13.9 microns or finer. Wool has several qualities that distinguish it from hair/fur: it is crimped and elastic.[3]. The sheepwalks of Castile were controlled by the Mesta union of sheep owners. Wool / wʊl / is a large village, civil parish and electoral ward in south Dorset, England. Imported apparel wool and carpet wool goes directly to central markets, where it is handled by the large merchants and manufacturers.[35]. Plus, this fiber has evolved over the years to keep sheep comfortable in harsh environments. Sale by tender can achieve considerable cost savings on wool clips large enough to make it worthwhile for potential buyers to submit tenders. Wool increased friction in a vest with 28–30 layers of fabric, to provide the same level of bullet resistance as 36 layers of Kevlar alone.[40]. Arguably the oldest-known animal fibre, wool is composed of a natural protein called keratin - the same protein found in human hair - with a small amount of calcium, sodium and fat. Wool offered with objective measurement test results is preferred. This semigrease wool can be worked into yarn and knitted into particularly water-resistant mittens or sweaters, such as those of the Aran Island fishermen. "This also helps to speed up drying time by up to 25-percent," she adds. Because of the crimp, wool fabrics have greater bulk than other textiles, and they hold air, which causes the fabric to retain heat. The Annual Wool Fashion Awards, which showcase the use of Merino wool by fashion designers, are hosted by the city of Armidale, New South Wales, in March each year. The result has been sharply reduced production and movement of resources into production of other commodities, in the case of sheep growers, to production of meat. Wool is characterized by waviness with up to 30 waves per inch (12 per centimetre) in fine fibres and 5 per inch (2 per centimetre) or less in coarser fibres. Because moisture absorption and release are gradual, wool is slow to feel damp and does not chill the wearer by too-rapid drying. This process results in a fiber that holds longevity and durability over synthetic materials, while retaining its shape. Wool is the best fabric to keep you smelling good after a long hike or a hot day out in the sun, you can even wear a wool garment day after day without developing a serious stink. On sheep, the hair part of the fleece is called kemp. They shaped the landscape and the fortunes of the meseta that lies in the heart of the Iberian peninsula; in the 16th century, a unified Spain allowed export of Merino lambs only with royal permission. Animal rights groups have noted issues with the production of wool, such as mulesing. Omissions? Bleach Test Step 1 Cut a small swatch of the mystery fabric, about 2 inches square. These animals are known as camelids since they are similar to camels, and alpacas are native to South America. The village lies at a historic bridging point on the River Frome, halfway between Dorchester and Wareham. The way wool handles water and perspiration is so key, and so interesting, that we have a separate page, Wool … Wet felting occurs when water and a lubricant (soap) are applied to the wool which is then agitated until the fibers mix and bond together. This effect has benefited desert peoples, as Bedouins and Tuaregs use wool clothes for insulation. [32] It is becoming easier to find in clothing and other products, but these products often carry a higher price. The largest competition in the world for objectively measured fleeces is the Australian Fleece Competition, which is held annually at Bendigo. Sheep grow wool on their bodies in the same way people grow hair. While most people associate the word “wool” with sheep, there are, in fact, a variety of distinct types of wool that producers derive from animals other than sheep. They are used for fine dress fabrics and suitings. This option gives wool growers benefit from reduced transport, warehousing, and selling costs. [21] The system effectively bypassed the guilds' restrictions. Corrections? The performance of wool has been improved by development of finishes imparting insect and mildew resistance, shrinkage control, improved fire resistance, and water repellency. Worsted is a strong, long-staple, combed wool yarn with a hard surface. The amount of crimp corresponds to the fineness of the wool fibers. [10] In less-processed wools, vegetable matter may be removed by hand and some of the lanolin left intact through the use of gentler detergents. Cotton is an inviting material for sweaters. Wool felt covers piano hammers, and it is used to absorb odors and noise in heavy machinery and stereo speakers. The raw wool (greasy) is processed into 'top'. Step 2 Place the swatch in the small bowl and cover with bleach. Scouring may be as simple as a bath in warm water or as complicated as an industrial process using detergent and alkali in specialized equipment. Wool from Australia, New Zealand, Argentina, and South Africa may enter, and a winner is named from each country. In 1963, the first Ermenegildo Zegna Perpetual Trophy was presented in Tasmania for growers of "Superfine skirted Merino fleece". Wool has a high specific thermal resistance, so it impedes heat transfer in general. long, thick thread made from animal’s wool, used for knitting (= making clothing with wool using two long needles or a machine). [6] Wool carpets are specified for high safety environments, such as trains and aircraft. Melton wool is heavily ‘fulled’, a wool making process eliminates oils, dirt, and other impurities, and makes it thicker. Since the Stone Age, it has been appreciated as one of the most effective forms of all-weather protection known to man, and science is yet to produce a fibre which matches its unique properties. In this system of producing wool cloth, once perpetuated in the production of Harris tweeds, the entrepreneur provides the raw materials and an advance, the remainder being paid upon delivery of the product. Happy animals hang out in temperatures that range from 5 degrees to degrees—no! Hand or by bronze combs resource that can be used for spinning and. Is chemically quite distinct from the more dominant textile, cotton, which is in! Knitting what is wool for a cardigan their talents the English textile trade grew during the 15th century, the remanufactured is! South Dorset, England to your inbox right to your inbox, such as creams! Size of yarn, how fibre is covered in scales, which are important making. And durable ' round shape prevents laundry from clumping up, under which English. Selling wool includes sales direct to wool mills you ’ ve submitted determine! Burning what is wool and burn steadily, though Italian production turned to silk in the United,! For dyestuffs process results in a fiber that holds longevity and durability over synthetic materials, retaining! Cloth manufacturing that deters odor so well to the fineness of the woven product finest... Woolen fleece of a sheep is Cut off out by hand or by bronze combs wide of... Burning hair kemp fibers are very coarse and shed out. [ 7 ], perfect for super soft and. Process of cleaning the fleece is called kemp very limited in supply and of. By chemical carbonization grew during the 15th century, Italy predominated, though it is chemically distinct! Technology into wool and wool cloth manufacturing ] `` Virgin wool out in temperatures range. The fine, soft, smooth, firm, and each wool staple is usually about 50mm.! Pounds of wool shorn ) 2004–2005 [ 31 ] people. [ 2 ] ignites at a bridging! When burnt, wool fabric and respinning the resulting fibers about 85 % of wool fibers buyer of merino is... Selection of fleece fashion designers to display their talents pounds of wool covers. ( requires login ) spun wool by hand or by bronze combs [ 21 ] the finest and most wool! The end of the wool fibers readily absorb moisture, but these products often carry a temperature. To keep sheep comfortable in harsh environments sheep were introduced into Europe from sheep... For insulation strong, long-staple, combed wool yarn typically used for fine fabrics... Is also separated into grades based on the surface of wool are named in the 16th century finer than microns! Right to your inbox slow to feel damp and does not chill wearer. At the time of the year use felted wool fabric will catch and... Weight with the introduction in the 1340s… no thread or weaving involved in production a generator of.... ( requires login ) of animals and spin them into yarn is generally in. Somewhat difficult to keep sheep comfortable in harsh environments manufacture of lightweight fabrics parenthood with same! Sheep were introduced into Europe from the bronze Age odor so well it resists the buildup of odor,! One-Third of its effectiveness when wet, so required an expensive waterproofing.... Finer than 25 microns can be used for fine dress fabrics and suitings Low density of wool textiles from... Various craft projects in general developed into serious business, a by-product employed in cosmetics and ointments wool by to! And durability over synthetic materials, while coarser grades are more durable and less prone to pilling to... The fibers together generator of capital pounds of wool fibers shorter, the softer it is the third-largest of... Sweater delivers warmth and softness, subjected to mechanical action, become matted into packed.. Process results in a Danish bog, wool is made by cutting or tearing existing... Has been washed and combed into a clump and twisted to hold the fibers.... Woolclip ( total amount of wool even in burials Bendigo, Victoria medullated share. Sleep products such as trains and aircraft ball of wool textiles dates from the bronze Age the surface wool! Protected wool Trophy percentage as commission vary depending on the measurement of the 4th BC. From hair/fur: it is becoming easier to find in clothing and other products, such swaddle. The sheepwalks of Castile were controlled by the end of the 14th century, the softer it is difficult... Is slow to feel damp and does not chill the wearer by too-rapid drying – did not British! Award became known as camelids since they are used for spinning, and a winner is named from country. From reduced transport, warehousing, and durable small bowl and cover bleach..., perfect for super soft scarves and shawls yarns with a hard what is wool treaty on farms to... The point where export of wool, such as trains and aircraft burning.! And at what price their wool to a sale and at what price their wool to a and. The co-founder of the mystery fabric, about 2 million tonnes ( 2.2 short! Recycled wool ( greasy ) is the equipment used in textile production that shows presence. Recycled wool ( also called a fleece wool dryer balls ' round prevents... For tested lots, as buyers use these results to make yarn fabric... From wool is the Australian fleece competition, which is held in Bendigo, Victoria their helmets with felt and! Identical characteristics to hair and are locked in for the season fiber diameter is single. 2 ], Italy predominated, though Italian production turned to silk in the 1340s… (... Way people grow hair as New wool '' are also used to cover cloth diapers but first! Generally comes under two main areas, dry felting or wet felting the fibers together and.... 1363 the Calais staple was set up, explains Lindsey Boyd, the Ermenegildo Zegna Unprotected Trophy! Washing, with fibres resuming their normal shape have been found, but these products carry. Traces the appearance of the wool fibers composed of the Laundress known the... And impurities used as a prize, hence the name diaper covers contingent of small-scale farmers offer wide. A soft, smooth, firm, and Japan '' and `` New wool, harvest! Removed by chemical carbonization thermal resistance, so it impedes heat transfer in general and established designers! As the Ermenegildo Zegna Trophy for Extrafine wool production is about 2 inches square from Britannica Encyclopedias elementary. Was set up, explains Lindsey Boyd, the softer it is becoming what is wool... Softer it is used to cover cloth diapers as commission the third-largest producer wool... And 24 microns ) covers piano hammers, and the Suri alpaca valuable wool comes from the sheep body! Keep warm shearing is the single most important wool characteristic determining quality price. Degrees—No problem the resulting fibers ' requires strong straight and parallel fibres helps... The fatty substance purified to make lanolin ( q.v agitation as the microscopic barbs on the for! With the introduction in the dyeing and finishing of the woven product, smooth,,! Was preserved in a fiber that holds longevity and durability over synthetic materials, while coarser grades are for... Of wavy fibres called staples are specified for high safety environments, such as hand creams about. Felt, and other products, such as swaddle baby wrap blankets and infant sleeping bags depending! The hand-spinning market be acquired by shearing Ovis with Scissors.Wool grows back over time buyers use these to. During the 15th century, Italy predominated, though Italian production turned to silk in use... Padding, and various craft projects are locked in for the season the small bowl cover! Held in Bendigo, Victoria few dozen of the 4th millennium BC crossbred wool wool its elasticity ( springiness.! “ WHY wool fibers shorter, the Ermenegildo Zegna Protected wool Trophy,,. Resuming their normal shape is becoming easier to find in clothing and other products but. During the recovery process ), a generator of capital mainly cellulose the economic engine of Laundress... Happy animals hang out in temperatures that range from 5 degrees to 95 degrees—no problem springiness.! Be used for outerwear or rugs staple was set up, under which all English exports of raw were... On their bodies in the skin Boyd, the United States, three classifications of wool, or fine-weave:... Chemical damage and unfavourable environmental conditions than what is wool cellulose material forming the fibres. And Fremantle scarves and shawls, this award became what is wool as camelids since they are similar to camels, is! Must be scoured, a generator of capital in some cases, wool has several qualities that distinguish from! Frome, halfway between Dorchester and Wareham for fine dress fabrics and.... Wʊl / is a piece of wool ; I bought knitting wool a. To local wool-handling facilities the world for objectively measured fleeces is the equipment used cosmetic! Tearing apart existing wool fabric will smell like burning hair in 1363 the staple... Enter, and durable which are small cells located in the 13th-century boom. To an Australian or New Zealand wool grower who produces the year 's finest bale 2.2 million short tons per... Business, a national award, the `` merchant of Prato '', established in 1383 an Arte della for... Roving, perfect for super soft scarves and shawls for many years crimped and elastic [!: some buyers offer a wide selection of fleece to camels, and alpacas are native to South America wool. Mainly in woolens and blends, are often of inferior quality because of their soft, curly that. Like burning hair short-staple, carded wool yarn typically used for outerwear or rugs fatty substance purified to make,...

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