Wool Wise

hacienda-pepper_200Soft, warm, luxurious, fine, superfine, insulating and warm are just some of the adjectives used to describe one of nature’s most popular natural fibers, wool.

Although derived principally from sheep, a member of the Caprinae animal family the hair of other mammals such as rabbits, llamas and goats can also be referred to as wool.

Utilized for centuries for a multitude of applications wool is quite different to hair or fur as it has a distinctive texture i.e. it is crimped and grows in staples or clusters and has an elastic quality. Wool is also a popular yarn because it is fire resistant and can absorb up to 30% of its weight in moisture and the medical profession consider it to be hypoallergenic.

China is the market leader of wool production closely followed by Australia and New Zealand. The coarser fibers from the wool of breeds such as Drysdale, Lincoln, Tukidale and Romney are generally used to make carpets.

Global wool production exceeds 2.1 million tonnes per annum with 41% of world wool production being classed as coarse wools, 37% as fine wools and 22% as medium wools. Approximately 60% of wool harvest is utilized for clothing manufacture including pullovers, coats, socks, gloves, school uniforms and even cloth diapers and approximately 33% is used for the manufacture of rugs, carpets and upholstery.

If you have ever been privileged enough to wear the beautiful yarns of angora and cashmere you may be a convert from even the finest of merino wools. Cashmere clothing items such as cardigans, shawls, scarves, hats and gloves can come at a very high price, however once worn the value of this beautiful yarn far outweighs the cost. Lamb’s wool is generally softer than the wool of adult sheep and a favorite with baby apparel.

Wool is also a very appealing choice for making rugs and carpets from the Bedouin tribes in the Middle East to the Tibetans of the Himalayan regions and beyond to the far corners of the planet. Carpets and rugs made from a variety of wool fibers are available in a myriad of designs, sizes and colors from hand made with natural dyes to those commercially produced in factories.

Whether you are looking for apparel in beautiful and lasting wool or to decorate your interior with a carpet or rug, wool will always be a premium choice!

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