WOVEMBER WORDS #5
Since we are considering “Growing Wool” at the moment, today we shall feature a couple of snippets from “Growing Better Wool” by A.E. Henderson, published in 1968. Please note that the views expressed in these quotes belong to A.E. Henderson and are not necessarily the views of WOVEMBER! iv. and vi. are particularly contentious amongst TEAM WOVEMBER, who collectively believes in the loveliness of all the different sheep colours, and who enjoy the wonderful variety of WOOL textures besides simply “soft”!
It is possible to give a description of “excellent” wool and to describe how this may be produced. But usually it is under only the most favourable farming conditions that this can be achieved at a cost which leaves some margin of profit. In a difficult environment, or where the issue is complicated by meat production, the cost of modifying the environment or any other limitation to wool production may be far greater than any advantage gained by being able to sell the highest grade wool. It is only the woolgrower with a thorough understanding of his own limitations and opportunities who can decide which forms of wool damage can be eliminated or controlled, and whether in fact this would be a profitable undertaking for him.
The requirements to be met before a fleece, or wool in general, is considered “good” can be summarised as follows:
i. The fleece should be even in all respects with individual characteristics well maintained over the back and to the edges of the fleece.
ii. Fibres should be long, but this will vary with fineness of fibre. Staples should be blunt rather than pointed.
iii. There should be no discolouration of a permanent nature and preferably none of suspected permanence.
iv. There should be no black or brown fibres.
v. Wool should be free from vegetable contamination.
vi. Wools should be soft to handle.
vii. Fibres should be structurally sound.
viii. Individual fibres should be crimped. Crimp should be regular and definitely expressed in the staple.
ix. Staples should be compact and clearly separated.
Good “architecture” of the fleece. Crimp is regular and definite, staples are well defined, free from each other and have a minimum of pointed tip.
– A.E. Henderson, “Growing Better Wool”, 1968