Many people don’t realise that wool is very much like human hair, in that it has the three same compounds that hair is made up of. It has the cuticle, which is the outer layer, then it has a inner layer called the cortex and finally the very center which is the medulla. There are different types of wool that come from different animals, and the source is the fleece of that animal. When going through the manufacturing process, wool changes its characteristics. By doing this it means that wool can be blended with other types of materials to give it a unique look, feel and scope.
When wool is being produced for the craft market or for making clothes it can be produced in two different ways. It can be produced as woollen and another category is worsted. Woollens are comprised of fibres that are short and curly. In this original state they are uneven in size and are not very strong. The finished product that is made with woollens is usually very soft and fuzzy and the item tends to be much warmer compared to worsted.
When you look closely at worsted wool the the yarn is longer and smoother and although it doesn’t create as much warmth as the woollens the fibres of worsted wool are much better at keeping out the wind and rain.
Manufacturing the wool means it goes through various processes depending on the animal that the raw fibres are being taken from. This can include sheering, cleaning, and scouring.
Once this first process is done, then it goes into the next process where it is graded and sorted then it has to be carded.
It is now ready it to be composed into different craft items or clothing using techniques such as spinning, weaving or knitting, for example.