A couple of weeks back it was Wool Week! I discovered this about half through the week, but thought I couldn't let it pass by without doing ANYTHING at all...
I arranged a little coffee/knitting morning at my local cafe and a couple of friends and I met up and chatted all things woolly - lovely!
I do feel quite passionate about using natural materials in my work wherever I can - it's not always possible, but I do my best.
The 'campaign for wool' website has some brilliant information on it. I nicked a bit for this post... check out some of these fascinating facts about wool (and read about more here)
Wool is a protein fibre formed in the skin of sheep, and is thus one hundred percent natural, not man-made. Since the Stone Age, it has been appreciated as one of the most effective forms of all-weather protection known to man, and science is yet to produce a fibre which matches its unique properties.
As long as there is grass to graze on, every year sheep will produce a new fleece; making wool a renewable fibre source. Woolgrowers actively work to safeguard the environment and improve efficiency, endeavouring to make the wool industry sustainable for future generations.
At the end of its useful life, wool can be returned to the soil, where it decomposes, releasing valuable nutrients into the ground. When a natural wool fibre is disposed of in soil, it takes a very short time to break down, whereas most synthetics are extremely slow to degrade.
Wool fibres are crimped, and when tightly packed together, form millions of tiny pockets of air. This unique structure allows it to absorb and release moisture—either in the atmosphere or perspiration from the wearer—without compromising its thermal efficiency. Wool has a large capacity to absorb moisture vapour (up to 30 per cent of its own weight) next to the skin, making it extremely breathable.
People are always concerned about the itchy texture and allergic reactions - but read this:
A SAFE SOLUTION
Wool is naturally safe. It is not known to cause allergies and does not promote the growth of bacteria. It can even reduce floating dust in the atmosphere, as the fibre’s microscopic scales are able to trap and hold dust in the top layers until vacuumed away...
I also think we've generally become a little too sensitive and our skin is not used to the feel of it, but I do believe it can get used to it over time. These days wool has been spun and treated in a way that causes it to be super duper soft anyway and feels lovely on the skin.
It also holds its shape so much better than acrylic too, so when you buy clothes made with wool - it looks better and for longer. Vintage woolly jumpers and cardigans are the perfect example of this, as back in the day it would almost always been made with wool. I have a gorgeous one I picked up in my local charity shop, of which I will be wearing for many more years to come. :)