A material, which is composed of thin and continuous strands is known as fiber. Fiber can be classified into natural fiber and synthetic fiber. A fiber obtained from plants and animals is known as natural fiber. Synthetic fibers are man-made fibers, most of them are prepared from raw materials (petroleum) called as petrochemicals. Examples of natural fibers include – cotton and wool. Examples of synthetic fibers include nylon, polyester, etc. Wool is a natural animal fiber obtained from sheep, goat, yak, camel, etc. All these animals have an outer covering of hair, which is shaved off to form wool fibers.
Sheep hair has two types of fibers: the beard hair and skin hair. The skin hair provides the fiber to make wool. The process of making fiber into wool follows a series of processes:
Shearing → Scouring → Sorting → Dyeing → Straightening, Rolling and Combing
This is the first step of processing fiber into wool. In this method, the fleece of the sheep along with a thin layer of skin is removed. This process is done in spring weather as sheep do not require the outer skin to keep them warm during spring. Shearing is mostly done by machines or sometimes by hands.
After the shearing process, the sheared hair is washed in big tanks to remove grease, dust, and dirt by automatic machines. This process of washing sheared hair is known as scouring.
In sorting, hairs of different textures and types are sorted and by doing so, we can differentiate between low and good quality fibers. The good quality fibers are used for clothes and the lower quality is used for making rugs. The fleece is sorted according to type and texture.
This process involves dyeing of fibers in different colors as the natural fiber is generally white, black or brown in color.
Straightening, Rolling, and Combing
After the dyeing process, the fibers are straightened, rolled and combed into yarns. Wool made from fibers is further used for making sweaters, woolen clothes, etc.
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