Learn a bit about wool textiles

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The instant thought that comes to mind with the term wool is usually restricted to fibrous elements on sheep skin but there are various kinds of wools available in the markets which are made differently. As far back as history goes we see people having large flocks of sheep as part of their wealth and using its wool to make clothes. England’s prosperity in the middle-ages was built up largely on wool, as sheep farming was the principal industry.

Many knitting lovers use natural fibres like wool in their projects. Such fibres are a joy to work with and make long-lasting pieces of clothes however acrylic is a lightweight, soft, and warm, with a wool like feel. Some acrylic is used in clothing as a less expensive alternative to cashmere, due to the similar feeling of the materials but it can irritate the skin of people with dermatological conditions. Wool has several qualities that distinguish it from hair or fur.  It is crimped, it is elastic, and it grows in clusters. Wool is the textile fibre obtained from sheep and few other animals such as cashmere and mohair from goats. Alpaca fibre is exclusive textiles in the world; the secret of its durability and light weight is the way that the thread of the textile has been treated before weaving.  The alpaca wool is extremely fine and soft with a great capacity for retaining heat.

Some may wonder why woollen garments keep us warm when cotton or linen does not. There is always a great deal of air between the hairs as wool is a bad conductor, the air present in their pores is also a bad conductor of heat and does not allow the internal heat to go out. Heat finds it very difficult to get across a layer of air. So, whether the wool which holds a layer of air is on the animal’s back, or on our back in the form of clothes, it still keeps the body warm by the way it prevents the body heat from passing off into the atmosphere.

Learning to knit sweaters and other warm clothes such as mitts and socks is common in many families. To produce an item, knitters have their own methods of making products like using garter stitch, basket stitch, or ribbing, and knitting in one colour or incorporating stripes. Knitting also depends on the type of fibre we use for knitting. Now-a-days acrylic fabrics may fuzz or pill easily but other fibres are designed to minimize pilling. Acrylic takes colour well, is washable, and is generally hypoallergenic. Acrylic is resistant to oils and chemicals. It can be useful in certain items, like garments for babies, which require constant machine washing.

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Helen Roberto is a freelance writer and loves to participate in discussion of textile industry globally. In her spare time, she works as an admin to maintain this blog and few others. Her knowledge on the subject has benefited many associated to home textile manufacturing and marketing.

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