A number of individuals believe that wool solely comes from protein fiber produced by sheep. While the hair of sheep is largely considered as the primary source of wool, the hair of camels and rabbits is also regarded as wool. Worchester wool is wholly made from sheep’s wool.
The characteristics of wool can be altered either by genetic engineering of sheep or through design modifications when the woolen fabric is being manufactured. A number of products made from Worchester wool are manufactured through design modifications to the fabric. Moreover, Worchester wool, which is featured in a number of different products, may be blended with different fibers, synthetic or natural, to get the desired product.
When talking about Worchester wool, it is important to note a number of different types of fleeces may be used in the production of wool. Lamb’s wool, for instance, refers to the fleece taken from young sheep before they reach the age of eight months. Such wool has a softer feel as the fiber has a natural, tapered end.
Pulled wool, on other hand, is taken from sheep that have been slaughtered. The wool is removed through the use of various chemicals. However, the process results in low quality wool fibers. As a result, such fibers produce low grade cloth.
Virgin wool refers to wool that has not been processed in any way. Thus, it goes into manufacturing the same way it was taken from the sheep. As such, the term “virgin” should not be taken to mean wool of a higher quality as this may not necessarily be the case.
Worchester wool can be used in the manufacture of a number of different fabrics. Such woolen fabrics are categorized either as woolens or worsteds. Woolens have fibers which are short and curly. These properties make such fabrics uneven and weak. Unlike woolens, worsteds are much more durable fabrics. However, woolens make warmer, thicker fabrics than worsteds.
Worchester wool as well as other wool varieties produced in England is largely considered to be superior in quality to wool produced in America. The major steps involved in the production of Worchester wool are shearing, grading, cleaning, weaving and finishing.
Sheep are sheared once every year, mostly in the springtime. Once the fleece has been recovered from the sheep, grading is done which breaks up the fleece based on its overall quality. It should be noted that quality wool is retrieved from the shoulders and the sides of sheep. Such wool is usually used for clothing. However, higher quality wool does not always mean that the wool is durable.
The wool retrieved directly from sheep contains dirt, dried sweat as well as grease. The wool is then cleaned after which thread is created by spinning the fibers into yarn. This is followed by weaving where the yarn is made into woolen fabrics. Such Worchester wool fabrics may be woven by hand or machine. It should be noted that hand-woven Worchester wool fabrics are more valued in the market.
After the products have been woven, a number of finishing procedures may be used. These include ‘fulling’ which involves interlocking the wool fibers by immersing the fabric in water and ‘decating’ where the product is protected from shrinking.