Whether it’s a dress or a T-shirt, wool clothing has an important place in our culture. It regulates and insulates, reduces body odor, has fire-retardant properties and is hypoallergenic.
It’s also durable and long-lasting. It’s a natural fiber that holds in heat extremely well, which makes it one of the best fabrics for outerwear and base layers.
You can find wool clothes in a variety of weights, weaves and textures, and from different breeds of sheep. From a fine, supple material used for formal suits to a coarser, more rugged fabric for everyday wear, wool is one of the most versatile fabrics in the world.
During the Middle Ages, wool became central to European life and textile technology. As it is a natural fabric that is primarily made of keratin-based proteins, wool fabrics are able to hold in heat exceptionally well and provide a comfortable level of elasticity.
The origins of wool can be traced back to 6000 BCE in ancient Mesopotamia, where people first domesticated sheep. Eventually, sheep were moved throughout the Persian, Greek and Roman empires, providing food and clothing for its citizens.
Sheep wool get more info can be spun into thread, which is then woven into cloth using a loom. A loom is a frame made of wood that allows wool fibres to be stretched in a crisscross pattern.
In the past, people scoured and washed their wool before it could be used to make cloth. This process was a time-consuming, labor-intensive job, but with new technologies in the 19th century, it was possible to spin and weave wool faster and more efficiently.
This led to the emergence of mass-produced fabric. With machines able to produce better quality and more quickly for less money, the textile industry was forced out of the home and into factories.
With this shift came new competition, like cotton, a fabric that was easier to process and was cheaper to manufacture than wool. In response to these competitions, the English introduced laws that forbade its colonies to trade in wool.
It was also a political issue; rulers passed laws that required people to wear certain kinds of wool clothing on special occasions, and the British government made it illegal to smuggle wool out of England without paying high fees. These laws were aimed at protecting England’s “golden fleece” and making it harder for colonists to compete with their own native wool.
Another factor that helped wool become more popular in Europe was the use of the loom, which allowed for the quick production of cloth. Previously, it took weeks or even months to weave cloth.
Once the loom was introduced, the scoured and washed wool became easier to use as it could be spun into thread. The scoured and washed wool was then spun into yarn, which is the thread that goes into making cloth.
This can be done by hand or with a machine, depending on the kind of cloth being made. Often, hand-spun wool is preferred in garments that have a tighter fit or where the knitted fabric is intended to have a more technical look.