Wool is the fiber collected from sheep predominantly, but also goats, rabbits and alpacas. Wool differs from hair or fur in that it is elastic, grows in clusters, and is crimped. The crimped characteristic makes wool relatively easy to spin because the individual fibers tend to attach to each other. Crimping also means that the fiber is bulkier than hair or fur and thus can trap air, which means that it is a good insulator against either heat or cold.
The amount of crimping is one of the determining factors in the wool’s quality. More crimping makes for finer wool fabric. Merino sheep, typically raised in Australia and New Zealand, produce about 100 crimps per inch whereas coarser wool such as karakul may only have one or two crimps per inch. By contrast, hair and fur has no crimps and is, therefore, more difficult to spin. Suppliers of wholesale wool of many qualities can be sourced at productpilot.com.
More than half of world’s wholesale wool is purchased by the garment industry, though wool is an incredibly popular crafting material. Rich in tradition, knitting, weaving and spinning require great skill. When compared to other fibers, such as cotton, wool ignites at a higher temperature, the flames spread at a slower rate, the flames produce less heat, smoke and toxic gas, and most importantly, wool is self-extinguishing. These characteristics make wool a good choice for carpeting inside planes and trains, and clothing for soldiers and firefighters.
Wool is an international commodity, with the biggest merino wool producer being Australia, followed by New Zealand and China. New Zealand is the largest wool supplier of crossbred varieties. Wholesale wool dealers and producers benefit from the services at productpilot.com, which keeps businesses informed of changes in the wool market.
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