Basic Wool Processing Steps
Wool is an amazing natural fiber that has many benefits and can be used for so many items. The question is; what are the steps needed in order to process wool from sheep, which then goes into producing fabrics. Here are the major steps involved in wool processing:
- Shearing of the sheep is typically done once per year, often in the spring. The fleece recovered from a sheep can weigh between 6 - 18 pounds.
- Grading and sorting of the fleece, is the breaking up of the fleece based on quality.
- Cleaning and scouring is done to the wool to remove contaminants such as; sand, dirt and grease.
- Carding is the process that disentangles the wool and straightens it so its suitable for processing.
- Threads are formed by spinning together the wool to create one strand of yarn.
- Weaving is the process in which the yarn is woven into a fabric. There are two basic weaves; the plain weave and the twill. Woolen yarns come from fabric using the plain weave, and worsted yarns are created using the twill weave.
- Finishing is the process where the wool fabric undergoes a series of finishing procedures. These processes are: fulling (fabric is immersed in water to make the fibers interlock); crabbing (this permanently sets the interlock); decating (which is shrink proofing) and sometimes the fibers are dyed.