Last modified on
October 3, 2014
100% SHEEP WOOL: Organic, Longwool, Baby Merino, Lambswool, Merino, Peruvian Highland, Norwegian, Superwash, Stretch, Natural and Semi Luxury Blends
There are two main types of wool yarn: worsted and woolen (woollen). They are determined by the type of wool used to spin them, the preparation of the wool, and the way the wool is spun. • Worsted yarns are spun from long fibers of similar length lying parallel to each other. Worsted yarns are smooth, firm, and strong, and have a characteristic sheen, especially when spun from a lustrous fleece. • Woolen yarns are spun from rolags. The wool fiber for woolens is usually shorter than one used for worsted preparation. Did you know? Researchers have found that nine months is all it takes for Merino wool garments to biodegrade.
There are three main groups of wool: Fine Wools, Longwools, and Down Wools. The quality of wool is determined by the following factors: fiber fineness, length, scale structure, color, cleanliness, and freedom from damage. Long Wools are valued for their luster and strength, the Down Wools - for being bulky but without weight, having maximum elasticity and resilience. Fine Wools are the softest, with more elasticity and loft, and slightly lustrous.
The finest wool yarns are made from the fleece of the following sheep breeds: Merino, Wensleydale, Bluefaced Leicester, Rambouillet, Debouillet, then Cormo, Comeback, CVM (California Variegated Mutant), Dormer, Polwarth, Falkland, Patagonia Sheep, Romeldale, Targhee, Zenith, Corriedale, Columbia, NZ Halfbred, and others. Each breed grows fleece with a characteristic crimp pattern - the natural waviness or curl of the wool fibers. - Reference: In Sheep's Clothing, N. and J. Fournier.
The most popular breed in the US is Cormo. This is an Australian sheep breed developed by crossing large-framed Merino rams with a British longwood breed. Cormo sheep have a fine, soft, heavy fleece, and are used for woollen and worsted fabrics, handknitting yarns, and felts.
Global wool production is approximately 1.3 million tones per annum, 60% of which goes into apparel. Australia, China and New Zealand are leading commercial producers of wool. Most Australian wool comes from the merino breed. Breeds such as Lincoln and Romney produce coarser fibres, and the wool of these sheep is usually used for making carpets.
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