Wool has many merits over modern synthetic fibre, but it cannot compete on price to many materials manmade in India and the Far East. Wool was once among Britain’s strongest commodities, yet in 2010 it cost us more to shear a sheep than we could get for its fleece. There has been a slight improvement since, but wool is nowhere near as valuable as it once was. Geneticists are even trying to produce a sheep that will never need clipping! Pity, as there’s little more refreshing sight after a long, grey winter than that of a flock of just sheered, brand new-looking sheep.
The decline in the popularity of wool is a great shame – here is just a handful of its natural qualities
- naturally traps air within its fibres, making for excellent for warmth and insulation but also breathable if it is warm
- the ‘fuzzy’ surface offers some resistance to stains, trapping spillages rather than fully absorbing them
- considered to be naturally hypoallergenic, picking up less dust than many manmade or cotton fibres
- exceptionally safe for making fabrics and carpets, because it has a higher flame point, a slow flame speed (the speed at which fire it spreads), produces fewer toxic elements than many manmade fibres and becomes self-extinguishing in a fire, as it develops a charred crust when burned.
- resistant to static electricity due to the moisture retained in the fabric, meaning it is much less likely to ‘shock’ or cling.
- it offers high UV protection