Friday, November 12, 2010

Fiber Friday -- Wool

I really am learning to love natural fibers and their qualities. One fiber I have yet to gain real experience with is wool. So, I thought that, with a little research, we might learn a few things together.
Fun Facts about Wool

  • There are more than a billion sheep in the world today yielding nearly 6 billion pounds of wool each year.
  • Australia ranks first in the world’s wool production. The US ranks about 15th.
  • The average once-a-year sheering of one sheep produces about 8-1/2 pounds of wool.
  • The US only produces about 40% of the wool used by manufacturers in this country and import the rest.
  • Wool yarn is very resilient and the fibers stretch making it resistant to wrinkles
  • Wool has excellent insulation properties and is warm in the winter and cool in the summer because of its ability to absorb moisture. Also, no static cling with wool.
  • Wool is very versatile and can be made into very lightweight knits or bulking tweeds and heavy over coating.
  • Recent technology has given us wool that is moth proof, shrink proof and machine washable. Check those labels, however! Don’ assume all wool is like this.
  • Most wools need to be washed by hand or dry cleaned.
  • Wool is popular for interior design fabrics because it is naturally flame retardant, again, because of its ability to absorb moisture.
Caring for Wool Fabrics

  • Wool is easy to care for. Because of its moisture content, it does not attract static electricity. Static attracts dirt.
  • Make sure and check manufacturer’s recommendations for dry cleaning or hand washing.
  • Most wools need only be cleaned 1-2 times a year depending on use, of course.
  • Dirt only sits on the surface of wool fibers and can often be simply brushed off.
  • Treat stains immediately using a clean cloth to lift out of the stain as soon as possible. Rubbing the stain will drive it deeper into the fibers making removal more difficult. Stubborn stains should be handled by a dry cleaning specialist. 
  • If wool gets wet, hang it up out of direct sunlight to dry. Direct sunlight can damage wool.
  • Wool articles should be stored clean and in airtight bags or containers.
Sew Happy,

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