Wool is a miraculous fibre, able to be used in a wide variety of valued ways – clothing, interiors, furnishings, insulation, even surfboards!
But how does wool go from the sheep to the shop?
It starts on the farm.
The key to growing the best quality wool is by providing the sheep the best quality food and lifestyle. At ZQ, we set the highest standards and certification to ensure the fair treatment of all animals on farm, which includes regenerative practices and respect for their environment. This is a process that’s continuously evolving and improving under the new ZQrx framework, ensuring we continue to produce the most ethical wool in the world.
The wool cycle:
1. Wool that comes straight off the sheep is called ‘Greasy wool’, due to its natural lanolin coating which gives it a waxy feel.
Sheep are shorn once a year using clippers similar to those of hairdressers. It’s like getting a number 2 haircut! Shearers are highly skilled athletes who work to minimize stress on the animal and ensure they leave a short layer of wool to help insulate the sheep for the changeable Spring weather.
2. Next we need to wash the wool, so it’s cleaned of all the dirt and plant matter picked up from on farm. This process is called ‘Scouring’, where wool is gently cleaned in a series of baths.
3. Top making follows, which is a combing process that helps align all the fibres in one direction, ready for the spinning stages. This process brings out the wool’s light, fluffy feel.
4. Spinning is a process that slowly draws the fibres out, and then incorporates a twist to create different types of yarn.
5. There are several types of yarn, yarn processed with a high twist creates great lustre and shine, whereas a low twist creates more bulk and loft.
Worsted yarns use fine, long stable fibres that are spun with a high twist, giving it lustre and shine, best suited for suiting and intimate apparel.
Semi-worsted which is a combination of merino and crossbreed sheep producing a yarn more suited for woven and knitted apparel and carpet.
Woollen yarns being primarily medium crossbreed to strong wool sheep producing a fibre with more bulk suited for carpets, blankets and heaver woven or knitted apparel.
6. Depending on the requirements of the final product, the yarns are then knitted or woven into fabrics.
7. Fabric is then cut and sewn into beautiful merchandise, garments and products ready for new homes and happy customers!
8. Wool is biodegradeable, which means at the end of your garment’s life, it can be commercially composted and will breakdown, returning to the earth to grow new grass for more sheep to eat – starting the process all over again!