September 09, 2011

Description of Wool Carbonization

The article "From Sheep to Shop" includes a thorough description of wool carbonization, the treatment of wool during large-scale commercial processing to remove chaff.

According to the article carbonization puts wool through a dilute sulphuric acid solution, baking, crushing, neutralizing, washing with soda ash and soap, and bleaching with hydrogen peroxide.  The article is at

To avoid carbonized wool, you buy wool at the raw or scoured stage, or buy prepared wool from a company that uses other methods of coping.  For example, rollers can crush chaff, or the miller can accept only fleeces from clean pastures and/or sheep that wear coats.

I am contemplating a wool purchase and I'm giving some thought to these considerations.  BFL top is so wonderfully, consistently white and free of bits.  Scoured wool that I buy and then comb will mean a fair bit of effort to source and to comb.  It might yield streaky wool with bits I have to remove while spinning.  On the other hand, it might be softer and more lustrous.

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