Unearthing Fabrics is a new series that looks at the history of your favourite fabrics before you started wearing them on your backs.
Of course, wool always feels warm especially in the Kenyan winter, that’s why cucu loves it.
Wool is a natural fiber that grows on different animals – sheep, goat, camel and rabbit. The animal is shaved then it regrows its wool till it needs to be shaved again.
Sheep grows a coat of wool & it’s sheared off once a year. This shorn coat is called either fleece or grease wool because it has oil, lanolin, manure & vegetable matter.
The wool that has too much matter is removed. Followed by washing the remaining fleece with soap or detergent and a lot of water. Alternatively, scouring is done by submerging the wool in an acid bath.
The dried wool is ‘teased’ or ‘picked’. It’s put in a picker that opens up the locks and makes the wool fluffy. A special spinning oil is also added to help them stick better together.
Then, the woolen fibres need to be carded so the wool is combed many times with a machine. Finally, the smaller fibres are placed on a spinning frame & yarn is made.
The yarn is collected on wooden bobbins. When, they’re full a cone winder is used to transfer it to a paper cone. The paper cone can be used in a knitting machine.
Water-resistant & it absorbs up to 30% of its weight in moisture & liquid.
Absorbs and dries moisture quickly so if you’re sweaty then you wont stay wet compared to cotton.
Breathable and it can stay warm in colder areas but stays cool in hotter areas.
Odor resistant, it’s doesn’t easily pick up odors.
Wool is Bio-degradable.
It easily draws in colour dyes.
Looking After Wool
To begin with, it needs to cleaned with cool water & mild detergent in warm water. It can be soaked for 3 or 5 minutes to remove deep stains.
Whilst, removing water, never wring it and dry it on a flat surface.
Types of Wool
There are many types of wool including Virgin Wool. Merino wool, Cashmere, Alpaca, Angora & Mohair.