Wool has been used to make garments since the dawn of civilization.
It usually consists of fiber from the fleece of sheep, but it may also
consist of hair from goats, llamas, and rabbits. However, sheep wool
fibers are more elastic than hair because of their crimp and overlapping
surface scales. Finer wool has more crimps per inch, and the scales
enable the wool fibers to stretch. Today, Australia is the leading
producer of wool.
Most sheep are sheared each Spring. The resulting fleeces are graded by length, color, fineness, and quality, and then cleaned. Their fibers are carded and spun into yarn that is used either for knitting or for weaving into fabric. Wool is frequently dyed, either as unspun wool, as yarn, or as woven fabric.
Wool fabrics are very versatile and comfortable. Wool absorbs moisture, and it is flame resistant, elastic, and water repellent. Wool fabrics are classified as either woolens, from woolen yarns, or worsteds, from worsted yarns. Woolens have a soft, fuzzy texture, and are made from yarn that is loosely spun. Worsteds are strong, smooth, and lustrous; they are made from yarn with a high twist. Both of these fabric types are available in various textures, weights, and weaves.
Some popular types of wool fabrics are as follows:
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Wool Fabric - Wool Fabrics Guide