09 September, 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 http://www.woolipedia.com/fromsheeptoshop.html.

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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