Updated: Jun 17
Did you know that sheep's wool is one of the most widely used in the world? In effect,
working wool is a tradition and a know-how carried out by men for centuries. Indeed, this noble, soft and pure material has always allowed us to protect ourselves from heat, cold and humidity. Discover the 6 undeniable advantages of working with natural wool by reading this article.
Sheep's wool is by definition robust: it resists bad weather and does not fray. The fiber, that is to say the hair of the animal, also offers great elasticity to the wool. Note that the sheep's wool is washed several times and then fireproofed to survive the fire: a rare characteristic for this natural insulation. It insulates both cold and heat even when the wool is damp. It is said to be thermoregulatory: in the sense that wool maintains a suitable and ideal temperature for our body. Last important thing to add: wool is also impermeable to air.
Wool is hypoallergenic : this means that it greatly reduces or even eliminates the risk of allergy. For what ? Because it is largely composed of keratin (fibrous protein). Natural, wool is suitable for the most sensitive skin, including those prone to eczema. Indeed, unlike wool, which poses no health risk, some synthetic fibers cause severe skin rashes. Another point about wool: it is antistatic, that is to say that it does not produce static electricity. It therefore does not stick to clothes. New fun fact, it has even been proven that our heart rate is more regular when in contact with wool. Antibacterial, therefore, the wool does not leave any smell of perspiration on the clothes. The wool is also suitable for people with asthma or dust allergies. Indeed, it is very difficult for mites to nest in this material due to the thick layer of wax called lanolin.
Wool is a material that is generally soft and pleasant to wear: in particular that of Merino which does not itch. It is a light material offering a perfect weight/warmth ratio: you only wear a thin layer to keep warm. What makes this material an excellent technical garment thanks to its properties. You now know that wool has very interesting characteristics. Beyond the technical aspect, it is often used in the field of couture and elegance.
Enter the workshop of Jeanne who makes her jewelry by hand in natural wool and is inspired by ancestral methods of feminine beauty. Visit the artist's website or take a look at his creations.
4) Ultra resistant and easy to maintain
On the one hand, wool is easy to maintain thanks to keratin. This protein is indeed responsible for the flexibility of our hair and our nails. It coats the wool fibers and thus prevents the appearance of grease stains. On the other hand, wool is a breathable material and its scales open and close depending on the degree of humidity in the air as well as variations in temperature. This mechanism allows it to self-clean naturally. Practical, isn't it? In summary, wool is resistant to dust and fire. It is even able to withstand high heat and only ignites at 500°C! Strong and flexible, most wool products can be machine washed and tumble dried. However, care must be taken to use Woolmark machines and models. You therefore do not need to wash your textiles by hand all the time. To maintain your woolen clothing or jewelry, simply use a brush directly on the wool. In fact, dirt is easily removed thanks to its water-repellent effect: the water slides on the textile, making cleaning much easier.
5) Natural and durable material with high ecological value
Wool is a noble and pure material and by definition organic since it comes directly from the fleece of the animal. The first insulating substance used by humans, wool is healthy and therefore presents no health risk. It is also breathable and rot-proof (which cannot rot). In addition, wool is an ecological, biodegradable and sustainable material. Renewable resource par excellence: it grows back each year after mowing. For consumers attentive to their environmental footprint, including knitters and crocheters: this natural material is an excellent choice. Indeed, sheep's wool uses less energy in the production cycle unlike synthetic fibers which are very greedy in water, pesticides and oil. Let’s illustrate my point right away: the production of 100 sweaters requires 18% less energy than polyester and 70% less water than cotton. Finally, the wool does not depend on petrochemicals, because it is natural and in the majority of cases, made locally. If you want to have a more positive impact on the environment, opt for wool yarn and go to local producers.
6) Enjoyable to work with with endless artistic possibility
Comfortable, robust and promoting good health, wool is undoubtedly a noble and pleasant material to work with. It is flexible and easy to handle when making jewelry. For example, it can be handled, adjusted or positioned easily. You can therefore give free rein to your imagination as the possibilities are endless. Wool allows you to make almost any shape, play with textures (smooth, fluffy or even rustic), but also adapt the desired size to imagine new models. The tools are legion and can differ in the creation: knitting, crochet, sewing, needle felting or hot water. To play with colors, you can dye this material with spices. We can, so to speak, create any type of object: clothes, slippers, decorative or practical objects, toys, bedding. Wool, since it is very insulating, is also an excellent material for eco-construction.
Good to know: what is the felting technique?
Felting is a process specific to this material which consists of rubbing the fibers together in a humid environment. The scales will then cling to each other and make the felt.
Wool is insulating and very comfortable in addition to being a healthy and ultra-resistant material. In terms of design and accessibility, it remains pleasant to work with and offers a real diversity of forms and techniques in the creation of ethical clothing and jewelry. Wool is a unique material produced locally with a low carbon footprint since it is sustainable and naturally renewable. Imagine an ecological fabric, almost dirt-proof, warm and pleasant in all circumstances. In addition, wool is a noble resource linked to strong values: natural beauty, ethics, respect for animals and the planet.
If you want to know more, enter the workshop of Jeanne who makes her jewelry by hand in natural wool, go to the website of the artist Tournie Bijoux who is inspired by ancestral techniques and feminine beauty or take a look at his creations.
1, 2, 3… to your yarn balls.
Text by: Inès Trumel