The wool process from the time we shear the sheep until we turn it into a product is very important. It is a delicate process and must be carried out carefully. Wool is a natural fiber obtained from sheep (goats and, mainly, sheep), and other animals such as llamas, alpacas, guanacos, vicuñas or rabbits, through a process called shearing. It is mainly used in the textile industry to make products such as socks, sweaters, blankets, bags or gloves.
Wool contains natural oils such as lanolin and creatine and has elasticity natural, more than any other fiber. Its chemical structure ensures that if we turn or stretch it, it will return to its original position. This feature ensures a greater durability and resistance. It does not wrinkle and quickly recovers its original state. Wool is made mostly of an animal protein called keratin and is an insoluble macromolecule. Wool can be classified into merino wool, knitted wool and ordinary wool. As a curious fact, the largest producers of wool in the world today are Australia, Argentina, China, India, Iran, New Zealand, Russia, South Africa, the United Kingdom and Uruguay.
The 7 steps of the wool process to transform it into a product
From Raza Merina we want you to know what are the 7 steps of the wool process from the time the sheep is sheared until we transform it into a product.
Shearing the sheep, the first step in the wool process
The process of shearing the sheep is carried out once a year and there are two methods different to carry out the shearing of our sheep. These methods are the criollo or maneado. The Creole is the most traditional process, where the sheep is tied before starting to cut the fleece. In it hobbled method , the cut is made with the animal loose and the process begins with the stomach and ends with the head. Once we obtain the wool, we separate it by its tonality and classify it by colour.
The wool process in terms of washing
Wool washing is very important, since the final quality of the product depends on it. The first thing to do is wash with hot water to the sheep to later remove the organic remains. Once removed, it will return to wash the sheep this time with cold water and let it dry on a flat surface. For washing wool it is very important to use ecological products that do not contain chemical products that can damage the wool.
Scarming of wool
Scorching is a wool process in which the wool is combed and stretched until it ends up drying and remains soft. During the process, we will carefully separate the fibers by hand without cutting them.
The wool process and its spinning
In this step, the wool goes from becoming a roving to a thread. And how is this achieved? In this process the wool is twist the fiber until we get the desired yarn thickness. how much more twist we give to the thread, we will obtain greater resistance. A spindle or a spinning wheel is used, which intertwines and twists the previously combed wool at the same time. We can get more or less thickness depending on the time the thread spends stretching and twisting.
wool skein process
This process of the wool is in which we will obtain the creation of balls of wool. We wash these balls of wool again with soap to remove any residue that may have been left behind.
There are many ways to dye wool, the fiber is dyed naturally with different natural or vegetable products and these will be boiled in water until the color is released. From vegetables such as turmeric, henna or rhubarb we can obtain dyes. This process is done with the wool in skeins because the wool is very compact and, in this way, allows the product to penetrate well into all the fibers. The substances that we can add to fix the color are salt, vinegar, alum stone or copper sulfate.
Final finishes of the wool process
As the last step in the wool process, when dyeing, the fiber is wound with the help of a machine, which turns the skeins into balls or transfers them into cones. This machine will help to tighten the thread or yarn around it. Once you have the wool rolled up in the winder, place the thread adjusting it in the metal part of the winder and start turning the crank gently. With this simple step you will get perfect balls , with which you will avoid messes and tangles in your materials, in addition to avoiding jerks when weaving.
With the steps that we have previously explained , You will already know how we make the products you use daily. For us, wool is our star product, and it is that Merino wool is still considered today as the “queen of fibers”, since its natural properties have not been matched despite man’s attempts. Currently, merino wool continues to be a benchmark for the global textile industry thanks to its properties.