Monday, November 9, 2015

There are  four natural fibers used in textile production; wool, silk, cotton and flax (linen). Cotton and Linen are termed a cellulose fibers,as they come from plants. Wool and silk are protein fibers as they are derived from animals. Of all the natural fibers, wool is my favorite and with the chill in the air, arrives the season where it shines! Wool is absorbent, strong (unless you get it wet) and naturally warm. It is a great insulator because the natural crimp of the fiber allows them to hold together well and create air pockets. Just think of those cozy sheep!

Since before 10,000 BC, the tribes of northern Europe spun and wove wool into usable cloth. To spin it they drew the raw wool out with one hand, twisting it into a crude thread with the other. The resulting product was a thick and uneven. They later developed a spindle by fitting a stone or clay ring onto the end of a short stick. 

Much later, about 700 AD, the spinning wheel replaced the ring and stick method. The first loom for weaving consisted of a beam with lengths of yarn (called 'warp' yarns) hung and weighted on the bottoms by stones and the weft yarns (crosswise yarns) being threaded under and over the warp.

Knitting, which uses the technique of interlocking loops instead of  weaving over and under at right angels, seems to date to the 11th century. Most historians place the origin of knitting in Egypt with examples of colorful wool stockings dating between the 11th and 14th centuries.

Despite the development of mechanical and increasingly more elaborate looms over thousands of years, the basic principles of spinning and creating wool fiber into fabric have remained the same.

There are nearly one thousand million sheep in the world with over 200 varieties of fleece used for wool fabric production. I am very grateful to each one of them for producing such a fantastic and sustainable product!

I love working with wool. Because of it's unique molecular structure, it can be shaped and manipulated easily with heat and moisture. 
Here are some fun things created with wool for the upcoming season that will be available on our shopping site