Wool Silk Cotton And Linen
WOOLS are of various kinds:--
Highland, Welsh and Irish wools are from small sheep, not far
removed from the wild state, with irregular short stapled fleeces.
Forest or Mountain sheep (Herdwick, Exmoor, Cheviot, Blackfaced,
Limestone) have better wool, especially the Cheviot, which is very
thick and good for milling.
Ancient Upland, such as South Down, are smaller sheep than the last
named, but the wool is softer and finer.
Long Woolled sheep, (Lincolns, Leicester) with long staple wool
(record length, 36".) and fleeces weighing up to 12 lbs. The Leicester
fleece is softer, finer and better than Lincoln.
To the end of the 18th century Spanish wool was the finest and best
wool in the world. Spanish sheep have since been introduced into
various countries, such as Saxony, Australia, Cape Colony, New
Zealand; and some of the best wools now come from the Colonies.
Alpaca, Vicuna and Llama wools are from different species of
Mohair from the Angora goat of Asia Minor.
Kashmir Wool from the Thibetan goat.
Camel hair, the soft under wool of the camel, which is shed
The colour of wool varies from white to a very dark brown black, with
all shades of fawn, grey and brown in between. The natural colours are
not absolutely fast to light but tend to bleach slightly with the sun.
The principal fleeces are:
Lambs, 3 to 6 months growth, the finest, softest and most elastic
Hogs and Tegs: the first shearing of sheep that have not been shorn
Wethers: all clips succeeding the first shearing.
Wool comes into the market in the following condition. 1. In the
grease, not having been washed and containing all the impurities. 2.
Washed, with some of the grease removed and fairly clean. 3.
Scoured, thoroughly cleaned and all grease removed.
Wool can be dyed either in the fleece, in the yarn, or in the woven
cloth. Raw wool always contains a certain amount of natural grease.
This should not be washed out until it is ready for dyeing, as the
grease keeps the moth out to a considerable extent. Hand spun wool is
generally spun in the oil to facilitate spinning. All grease and oil
must be scoured out before dyeing is begun, and this must be done very
thoroughly or the wool will not take the colour.