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 th

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

American goats.

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

as lambs.

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.