A wool fabric known to be used mostly for sweaters is made out of animal hair. People mostly think that wool is made out of sheep hair, but many other animal hairs are also used to make wool fabric. Animal hair is spun into yarn which is used to knit and weave sweaters.
The reason why the wool fabric is preferred over any other fabric when it comes to weaving sweaters is its thermal insulation and durability. The waviness called ‘crimp’ is the reason for its insulation. The more crimp the fabric has, the higher the insulation. It also has a high – flame resistance which is why it is also used in textiles where flammability needs to be reduced.
Different types of wool fabric
There are many types of fabric different from sheep hair:
Cashmere is known for its softness and is quite pricey. Cashmere wool is made from cashmere goats that are found in Kashmir in India and the name comes from these furry goats. It is expensive because the amount of wool produced by these goats annually is only around 150 grams and is soft due to the diameter of the hair that is around 18 microns. Because of its softness and rareness, cashmere wool becomes a very desirable product.
Merino is also very fine, just like cashmere wool with hair diameter under 20 microns. But unlike cashmere wool, Merino wool is one of the most common types of wool. The wool is derived from vastly bred Merino sheep mostly in Australia. This wool fabric is originally a bit greasy so before it can be spun into yarn, lanolin needs to be removed from it. This wool is used for various sorts of garments and also for industrial garments.
Initially, in the early 20th century, suits made out of camel hair were very famous. Even though camel wool has great insulation, it is not that durable when compared to other wool fabric. It is also not that comfortable on the skin due to the roughness of camel hair. This is not suitable for garments that are in direct contact with the skin.
As the name suggests, this is made out of alpaca hair. South America has been busy breeding alpacas for their hairs for thousands of years. The hair of younger alpacas has a diameter of around 15 microns but as the wool ages, it becomes rough which is why wool from an older alpaca is not suitable for garments. There are also a variety of alpaca breeds used for wool fabrics. The wool made of the hair of the Suri alpaca is among the most prized materials when it comes to natural textiles.
Angora is the fabric that is made out of the hair a very special and different breed of rabbit. They are known to produce wool that is incredibly soft and fine because their hairs also have the same features. The rabbits are kept in conditions that are different from the usual ones and because of its softness, the wool fabric is quite expensive.