Wool is a natural animal fibre. It is from the hair of sheep and several other breeds of animals, including alpacas (alpaca wool) and goats (cashmere). Wool fibres are extracted from animals either by shearing or combing. In some cases, the fine hair is even plucked. This procedure is not painful for the animals since the only hairs which are removed are already loose, allowing the hair to be collected by hand. The gathered hairs are first washed with rice starch to reduce their weight, then cleaned and combed several times to remove any loose ʻun-fineʼ hairs and get rid of any lingering dirt. The wool fibres are then ready to be spun into yarn.
Properties and qualities
Wool is naturally crimped, which makes it easy to spin into yarn. It has excellent insulating properties, is resilient, elastic and durable. Characteristically, wool is also hypoallergenic and flame-resistant. The fibre diameter of wool ranges from 16 microns in superfine merino wool to more than 40 microns in coarse hairy wools.
Wool is best known for its warmth due to its excellent insulating properties. It is breathable which makes it an excellent year-round material, its fibres trapping heat in the winter and letting the air circulate in the summer. Wool’s strong durable fibres also makes for a long-lasting material. As wool is hypoallergenic and resistant to dust, it is an excellent choice of fibre for those with allergies.
How does it feel?
Wool has a hairy texture. Depending on the fineness of the wool fibres, it can range from being very soft to coarse to touch.
Most wood items can be cleaned with a damp cloth. For more specific cleaning instructions, refer to the type of wood. For best results, refer to the care instructions on your wood product.