What comes to mind when you hear the word wool? Steel wool? Sheep? Yarn? Pulling something over someone's eyes? Fabric? All of those are valid but today's post is going to deal with the fabric and the sheep. Ever since I took a tailoring class in college and had to sew a tailored blazer and pants, wool has fascinated me.
Recently I've become interested in wool embroidery and even have a project to complete for my guild. So what's the deal with wool anyway? Let's learn some facts about wool.
1. Definition - According to the wool entry in dictionary.com wool is "the fine, soft, curly hair that forms the fleece of sheep and certain other animals, characterized by minute, overlapping surface scales that give it its felting property." As well as the "fabrics and garments of such wool."
2. Wonders - There is actually a web site about the wonders of wool and it opened my eyes. Wool is sustainable, sheep grow a new fleece every year. It also biodegrades in a couple of years and has natural protection from the sun. Pretty cool!
3. Warmth - Why is wool so warm? There are so many website that glow about wool but this one told me that wool does not trap heat, rather it insulates. (And is naturally fire retardant.) I am liking wool more and more.
4. Other good qualities - There are like a million of them but the ones that struck me is that it is wrinkle resistant, resists dirt and lasts a long time. You can read more here.
5. Itch - You won't itch from allergies as wool resists dust and mites. And at this website they say Merino wool is NOT itchy, even is good for bedding. I am not making this up,. read more by clicking.
6. Age - This site informed me that wool has been around and with the same basic characteristics since the stone age. Take that polyester!
7. Clothes moths - The main problem people have with wool clothing is that it attracts clothes moths and their larvae will eat the wool. I did not know this, I thought it was the moths. To get rid of them freeze the clothes, sprinkle them with black pepper, keep them in cedar and use lavender oil. I knew nothing of this, I only thought of moth balls but they are toxic so careful. Read it all here.
8. Most expensive - If you're super rich, you will want the finest wool in the world, right? This is vicuna wool from a reclusive animal that lives in high elevations of the Andes mountains and cannot be commercially farmed. A jacket will run you about 21,000 dollars but it's supposed to be super soft. Want to sew with it, have around $1,300 a yard ready. Fascinating to read about it at this site.
9. Other types - I found a cool description of 10 unusual types of wool and surprisingly I had heard of most of them. A new one for me was Qiviut which is a domesticated musk ox from Alaska. If this wool is from Alaska, what quality do you think it possesses? You guessed it, warmth. 8 times warmer than normal wool to be exact. Read about the other nine!
10. Craft world - Embroidery on wool felt is very big in the crafting world right now. There are, naturally, lots of different threads and felts to use. This is a great site for learning about this at the very beginning level. Personally, I am using wool felt but there are cases to be made for others.
11. Expressions - Besides the one I alluded to in the definition point there are others. My favorite is "wool gathering" maybe because I am a day dreamer but my Mother would call it wool gathering. I learned here that it's because kids used to gather wool that would attach to bushes from passing sheep. Easy to do and therefore, easy to day dream while doing it. I love learning about words.
12. Songs - Of course. Do you prefer nursery rhymes?
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My last fact post was about cotton. You can read it here.