- Wool is extremely durable. Wool can be bent back on itself as many as 20,000 times without breaking. For cotton that number is 3,000 times, silk 2,000, and rayon even less yet. Wool can be stretched up to 30% of its length when dry and 50% of its length when wet without breaking.
- Wool is naturally flame resistant. Although wool will ultimately burn, it requires much more contact with a flame than most any other fabric natural or artificial. Once the flame is removed, wool will stop burning. This is why it is advisable to smoother a flame with a wool blanket.
- Wool can absorb up to 30% of its weight in water without feeling damp or clammy and retains 70% of insulation qualities even when wet.
- Wool is the only known fiber that can help the wearer regulate body temperature in a wide range of temperatures. It is capable of keeping the wearer warm in winter and cool in summer. A good example of this is desert dwellers, who, for thousands of years have relied on wool to protect them from the heat of the day and cold of the night.
- Another interesting quality of wool is that it resists absorbing odors and readily disperses them.
- Globally there are about 1 billion sheep, which produce about 1.3 million tons of fleece annually with 60% of the wool going into apparel. Australia is the worlds’ largest wool producer and produces about 43% of the worlds’ fine merino wool.
- Armed forces worldwide rely heavily on wool for their clothing and bedding. Roman and Greek soldiers used wool to line the inside of their armor and helmets. Bomber pilots and their crew during World War II used thick wool lined jackets to withstand sub zero temperatures.
- George Mallory was a famous English mountaineer who took part in the first three British expeditions to scale Mount Everest in the 1920’s. He and his fellow mountaineers dressed for the brutally cold temperatures by layering with silk and wool and using leather as their outermost layer and windbreak.
- Virgin wool is wool that is spun and used for the first time. Lambs wool is “just that” the wool of a young lamb. Ragg wool is less soft and sturdier and is used for things like gloves. Worsted wool is a long strong fiber that produces a somewhat harder wool surface. Woollen is a much softer and shorter wool such as merino wool that is used in finer softer garments. Recycled wool is wool that is taken from a existing application and broken apart and re-spun to make a new article or garment.
With all of our modern technology and advances in fabrics and various fibers Wool’s qualities remain unmatched to this day.
Written by DMK of Seven Grains.