As one of the most common textiles in the world, wool has found a huge variety of uses over the centuries and still today is one of the most interesting textile materials with a huge range of different unique properties, and with quite a large range of types of wool being used too these properties can change drastically. There are many resources to help identify and understand different types of wool like the guide at British Wool who specialise in sustainable uses for wool, but this quick guide will take a look at some of the different types of wool common to see.
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Common to see in some high end and luxury clothing in particular, lamb’s wool is extremely smooth and soft whilst also being hypoallergenic. It primarily comes from the first shearing of the lamb so one sheep can only provide one shearing of lamb’s wool making it a bit rarer and a bit harder to come by, hence why it’s often mostly used in more premium goods, but possesses some great qualities for this same reason and over the years has become one of the most sought-after textile materials for clothing and some other soft goods.
Merino Wool –
Another type of wool often used in more premium goods but aimed towards the sportswear market instead – it’s a great textile for regulating body temperature making it perfect for both hot and cold climates. Merino wool comes from sheep that were native to Spain but the largest farming populations are now in Australia and New Zealand, but the superfine and very soft wool is still very much in demand.
To continue the trend of luxury textile material for clothing, Cashmere is likely one of the more well-known types of wool but is also one that doesn’t come from sheep. The fibres are difficult to obtain as they must be combed from cashmere goats rather than being sheared and the goats only produce a very small amount of this wool – it’s also quite fragile as a textile compared to sheep’s wool and is much less durable but is still highly sought after in the fashion industry for it being incredibly lightweight and very soft too.
One of the tougher and more durable types of wool, this textile is preferred for outerwear and praised for its more weatherproof properties as well as being much thicker and warmer too. Unlike the other types of wool in this list too, it’s much more available and doesn’t command a higher price for being scarce or harder to obtain either. There are many other types of wool including alpaca and camel wool which is widely used as well as wool from the angora rabbit, as well as some other variations of sheep wool – the different properties of these types of wool are always very interesting too, and show just how much variation can be found from a material many group together as one type.