Wool production dates back about 10,000 years to Asia Minor, when people living on the Mesopotamian Plain used to use their sheep for food, shelter, and clothing.
Sheep were first hunted for their meat, not their wool. Sheep fur is short and thick and over the years seemed like a perfect way to keep man warm from the freezing winters.
The Mesopotamians used to use the sheep for their meat, but also for their milk, once they started killing them, their skin was made into leather, and the wool just provided added warmth.
However, making clothes from yarn meant that the yarn needed to be spun. The problem with sheep wool was that it was too thick and fragile to do so.
There was also a difference between the sheep’s fur on its belly and on its back. His belly fur was of better quality and by about 5000 BC, man started spinning wool taken from the sheep’s belly fur.
One of wool’s main advantages is that is easier to prepare it for spinning than it is to prepare vegetable fibres, cottons, and flax; you just cut it off the sheep and comb it out and its ready to be spun.
It is a very warm material, and therefore most warm clothing, even blankets are made of either pure wool or with wool mixtures.
It does not soak water; instead, the lanolin on it makes it shed water. This is why sheep is not bogged down and soaked up during rain.
The quality of wool is such that it absorbs colours very easily. Therefore, dyeing and pattern making on wool clothing is easier than on flax clothing.
Did you also know that wool is fire resistant, and is considered to be even stronger than steel?
There are two main types of wool threads; woollens and worsteds.
Woollens are a general term that refers to all fabrics produced by weaving wool thread (yarn). The fibres of these threads are short.
Worsteds is a general term to refer to fabrics woven from worsted threads which have longer fibres than woollens. Worsteds are considered better than woollens.