Varieties of wool September 18, 2020 – Posted in: Natural fibers, Wool

The different varieties of wool

Here is a brief discussion of some of the different varieties of wool although there are many more. Each wool has its own characteristics.

– Sheep wool

The most classic wool, renowned for its resistance,  it is the cheapest wool quality and also the coarsest.
Subject to shrinkage and felting if not maintained properly.

– Merino wool

This is the finest grade of sheep wool, finer than traditional sheep wool; there are four main breeds of merino sheep. Its fiber is thermoregulatory and antibacterial.

– Lamb’s wool

Lambswool is divided into two categories: lambswool and virgin lambswool. The difference is in the length of the fibers. Lambswool, with shorter fibers, will be very soft and less thick but, therefore, a little less durable. Lambswool is softer than sheep’s wool, and just as warm.

– Mohair

Please note: the Angora goat  yields a hair from which we can obtain mohair, unlike the Angora rabbit with which produces ”angora.”
There are three different qualities of mohair: mohair, kid mohair, and finally the most beautiful and rare, super kid mohair. These three qualities of mohair are distinguished according to the age of the goat for the first two varieties, and a soft down located at the neck of the animal for the third. These animals have a very fine and very soft coat, in particular the super kid. The best qualities of mohair are found in South Africa contrary to idea that it is from Asia.

– Angora

This is produced from the long, fine hairs of the Angora Rabbit.

– shetland

Comes from a breed of sheep raised on the Shetland Isles, north of Scotland. . The yarn is fluffy and easy to knit

– Cashmere

Mainly originating from a region of Central Asia, cashmere is made from goat hair with a diameter of less than 19.5 microns.The number of threads determines the thickness of the cashmere 2 ply, 4 ply, 8 ply etc… Hygroscopic and insulating, cashmere is warmer and lighter than wool. There are now three hybrid breeds producing a quality extremely close to cashmere wool!

– The alpaca

Alpaca comes from a mammal of the camelid family, the alpaca PACOS llama, bred mainly in South America. Thermoregulatory and insulating (7 times higher than that of wool).
At the start of space exploration missions, NASA equipped its astronauts with clothing made from alpaca.
There are different varieties including the BABY Alpaca and the ROYAL alpaca. their fibers are very soft and silky, comparable to extremely resistant silk.

– The yak

Living in the highlands of Central Asia, the yak molts in late winter and the breeders collect the wool. We must distinguish the yak wool which can be rough, from the khullu (the light down located under the belly of the animal).
at the end of winter, the yak moults. The light down under the belly of the animal (the khullu) .

– The vicuña

Comes from a species of South American mammal that lives in the highlands of the Andes, part of the camelid family; the Incas called it the wool of the gods Softer, rarer and more expensive than alpaca or cashmere, the vicuña remains forever one of the most luxurious fibers (for purists) in the world.

– The qiviut

Coming from an ancient animal as impressive as it is rare, the arctic muskox, known as the “muskox,” the fiber is stronger and eight times warmer than sheep’s wool. It is one of the rarest and most precious wools ever produced.

– The guanaco
– The lama

And many others wool fibers: Camel, Baby Camel, Macina, Dongola and Nilgiri, produce wool in Africa and India as well as Avikalin, Avivastra, Dormer and Rabo Largo.

Références for this article:

The Juliette Ozouf team.

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