A material, which is composed of thin and continuous strands is known as fibre. Fibre can be classified into natural fibre and synthetic fibre. A fibre obtained from plants and animals is known as natural fibre. Synthetic fibres are man-made fibres, most of them are prepared from raw materials (petroleum) called as petrochemicals. Examples of natural fibres include – cotton and wool. Examples of synthetic fibres include nylon, polyester, etc. Wool is a natural animal fibre obtained from sheep, goat, yak, camel, etc. All these animals have an outer covering of hair, which is shaved off to form wool fibres.
Sheep hair has two types of fibres: the beard hair and skin hair. The skin hair provides the fibre to make wool. The process of making fibre into wool follows a series of processes:
Shearing → Scouring → Sorting → Dyeing → Straightening, Rolling and Combing
This is the first step of processing fibre 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 fibres. The good quality fibres 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 the dyeing of fibres in different colours as the natural fibre is generally white, black or brown in colour.
Straightening, Rolling, and Combing
After the dyeing process, the fibres are straightened, rolled and combed into yarns. Wool made from fibres is further used for making sweaters, woollen clothes, etc.
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