wool

Wool Types

Wool is classed as follows: fine, usually short-staple wool of Merino fineness and including Delaine Merino, combable fibers 2 in. (5.1 cm) or more in length; medium, or mutton, 21/2 to 6 in. (6.4–15.2 cm) long, e.g., Cheviot and Southdown; long-staple, 10 to 15 in. (25.4–38.1 cm) long, loosely crimped, e.g., the Lincoln and the Cotswold; and carpet, 1 to 15 in. (2.5–38.1 cm) long, strong, coarse, and usually blended for uniformity. For industrial purposes the fiber of the camel, Angora goat (see mohair), Kashmir goat (cashmere or pashmina), llama, alpaca, and vicuña is classed as wool.

Sheep are sheared with mechanical clippers. The fleece thus recovered is classed as lamb's wool, or first clip; hog wool, clipped from sheep 12 to 14 months old; wether wool, from older animals; taglocks, the ragged, discolored portion; and pulled wool, usually weakened when recovered by sweating or chemical processes from sheep slaughtered for mutton.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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