Craft:Wool and spinning

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DM Tips:Crafts - Wool and spinning

Wool can be sheared from sheep and goats. The breed harvested will determine the suitability of the wool for spinning, the key aspects being the crimp (the degree of waviness to the wool, the greater the crimp the more elastic the wool) and the staple (the length of each hair of wool, varying from as short as three and a half inches long to 10 inches or more in some rare prized breeds as long as 18 inches and 14 lbs or more of wool per animal!) As with all domesticated animals the best breeds are found where they have long been husbanded and where there is wealth for farmers to keep many and so breed only from the best. The Rjurik Nordmoor is a rare exception, the inner layer is extremely soft, although short at just three to four inches, and makes fine knitwear, the outer layer is longer but coarser making good tweed.

Some farmers wash their wool before selling it, in practice this simply means throwing the sheep into a pond or river before shearing it, the wool is then more valuable, but has lower weight due to the absence of dirt, accordingly in practice wool washing is done for pride or amusement rather than to increase the farmer's income.

Once wool has been shorn, it must be carded, the clumps of wool are pulled between two cards each covered in tiny hooks until the threads are all aligned and all separated. This carded wool is then rolled into a rolag which is then spun into thread on a spinning wheel.

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