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Friday, January 4, 2019

Fiber Fridays

Hi Crocheters, "Fiber Fridays" will be periodic Fridays when I post about the fiber world.  I thought I'd start with wool because that seems like a logical place to start, and there's a raging debate going on right now between animal rights activists, who feel that shearing sheep is cruel to the animal, and wool yarn providers, who point out that domesticated sheep need to have their fleece shorn.  I think you know which camp I fall into, though, like many debates these days, I also believe there's a middle ground that should be satisfactory to most.  Of course I believe there should be a lot of attention paid to sheep being cared for and properly shorn; and, if that's the case, then wool yarn is a great asset to humankind.  That's why I did a lot of research and wanted to know where my wool comes from before adopting Chausette from Owens Farm and having her fleece spun into beautiful yarn.

*If you'd like to learn more about the details of the debate, please read and follow Clara Parkes!  She encapsulates the discussion far better than I can and makes the case for shearing in an informed and rational way.

So, why is wool yarn so coveted?  Well, first I should say, "wool" is a very broad term; there are more breeds of sheep than breeds of any other livestock species (with the exception of chickens and other poultry). Worldwide, it is estimated that there are more than 1000 distinct sheep breeds, with over 50 breeds in the United States alone.  As a result, the different properties of each breed of fleece yields the different textures and qualities of different types of wool yarn.  I'll be going into more details in future posts, but suffice to say for now that insulation is the primary characteristic of wool that makes it so great for clothing.  A woolen sweater keeps you cozy and warm by trapping air between its fibers. It also allows perspiration to evaporate (wick) through the fabric, which helps keep your skin dry and comfortable.

Chausette will be sheared any day now, so stay tuned for before and after pix as well as the beautiful yarn her coat will produce!

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