Wovember Words #13

I scored a new-to-me book over the weekend: Edward Miller, Textiles, Properties and Behaviour in Clothing Use (new edition 1984.) I already was a big fan of Batsford Publications, but this was printed by Batsford Academic and Educational Ltd. A whole new world opens!

This is what Miller has to say about the different qualities of wool:

[The] many different qualities can be grouped into three basic types:

1) Merino or botany These are the best quality types, produced by Merino sheep which are bred entirely for their wool, their meat having small commercial value. These wools are about 50-100mm in length and are the finest, softest and most crimpy wools. They are the warmest types of wool but they are not the strongest nor the most durable. In general the better the quality the shorter and finer the fibre. Australia is the largest producer of these types, but South Africa, South America and other countries also prduce quantities of these fine wools. They are used for the best quality wool fabrics where maximum softness and warmth are desired.

2) Cross-bred types This is large group of qualities ranging from about 75-200mm in length. In general these wools are thicker, longer, not as soft, not as crimpy as the fine wools. As the quality types get longer in length they increase in strength and resilience but diminish  in softness and crimpiness. Some types have quite a high lustre and the whole range is much more varied than the Merino group. These wools come from many breeds of sheep, mainly British breeds crossed with Merino sheep, and prepresent types of sheep deliberately bred both for wool and meat. Countries such as New Zealand and South America, which have a large frozen-meat industry, are large producers of these types.

3) Carpet types These are long coarse wools about 150-400mm in length. They are strong and resilient but lacking in softness so that they are not suitable for clothing fabrics and as the name implies they are used in carpets where their lustre and superb resilience can be exploited. These types of wools are produced by Asiatic breeds of sheep, which have not been greatly improved by selective breeding and by mountain and hill breeds whose rigorous life does not lead to the production of soft fine wools.


Rough Fell sheep, which produces most definitely a Category Type 3 wool!

This entry was posted by tomofholland.

2 thoughts on “Wovember Words #13

  1. I would take exception at the description of ‘cross bred’ for all the lovely native breeds! Surely this group could have been given a more appropriate name? And the purported superiority of the Merino reminds me of people in the horse world who think that thoroughbreds are better than any other breed. Horses for courses! 🙂

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