Chapter 3:Fibre to Fabric


Wool is obtained from wool yielding animals such as sheep, goats, yak etc. These animals bear hair on their bodies. Fleece is formed by the hairy skin of sheep which is of two types; the coarse beard hair and the fine soft under hair. Wool is made from fine soft under hair. Some breeds of sheep bear only fine soft under hair. Such animals are reared by selective breeding.

Animals that yield wool

Most commonly, wool is obtained from sheep. Angora, goat, yak, llama, alpaca and even camels also provide us with some good quality of wool. These animals have a thick layer of hair in their bodies called fleece which is used to make wool fibre. The underfur of Kashmiri goats is used to make fine shawls called Pashmina shawls.

From fibres to wool

For obtaining wool sheep are reared. Let us know about this process.
Rearing and breeding of sheep: Looking after the sheep until they are fully grown is called rearing.
Sheep is a herbivorous animal and completely depend on grass and plant leaves. Rearers also fed them with a mixture of corn, pulse, jowar and minerals. Sheep are kept indoors in winter and fed with leaves,
grain and dry fodder. Good breed Sheep have a thick layer of hair on their body which provides good quality of wool in large quantities.

Processing fibres into wool

The conversion of fibres into wool involves the following steps.
Shearing → Scouring → Sorting → Cleaning of burrs → Dyeing → Rolling
Let us know briefly about these processes.

(i) Shearing:
It is the first step of processing and includes the removal of fleece from the skin of sheep. It does not hurt them, as the outer surface of the skin is dead and sheep do not feel pain. This process is done during
summers because fleece protects them from chilling winters
(ii) Scouring:
This step involves the cleaning of fleece for removing dust and other unwanted substances.
(iii) Sorting:
The wool is not uniform in all parts of the fleece of a sheep. Some of the fleece is sorted according to its texture. The process of separating the fleece of a sheep into sections according to the quality of woollen fibres is called sorting.
(iv) Cleaning of burrs:
Small fluffy fibres picked out from the fleece are called burrs. Then, fibres are again scoured and dried.
(v) Dyeing:
Since the fibres are mostly black, brown or white in colour, they can now be dyed in various colours.
(vi) Rolling:
Once the dyeing process is complete, the fibres are straightened, combed and rolled into yarn. The longer fibres are used to make wool for sweaters, while the shorter fibres are spun and woven into woollen cloth.
Some Indian breeds of the sheep are given below in the table: