The following items are related to wool, or WeatherWool, or what we do, or what we admire, but do not mention us directly. The links are mostly presented in the order in which we came across them ... except that after we had been doing this for a couple of years, I decided to switch and put the most recent at the top to make it more natural for anyone who might visit here periodically.
There is a separate page, Wool and Sleep, focused on the benefits of wool bedding.
- Real Wool Facts is a collection of fact sheets about wool, presented by the IWTO (the International Wool Textile Organisation), which does a great deal to promote wool. This website focuses on sustainability, environmental factors and animal welfare. They address wool sleepwear and resistance to fire, but it seems weird to me there is relatively little info on why wool makes great clothing!
- Debby found some info that wool is beneficial to those with eczema. Here is a quote from MedicalXpress.com: “The researchers found when children switched to wool after wearing cotton, they showed a significant decrease in eczema severity whereas eczema worsened when those wore wool changed to cotton.” And Woolmark, the research and education and marketing arm of the Australian Sheep Industry, has made an article available online: Treating Eczema with Superfine Wool | The Woolmark Company This is actually a really, really big deal for some people.
- Click here for a ton more info on wool from SheepUSA.org
- Spinning Yarn by Hand, Traditional Way ... A nice tutorial. I can't comment on the accuracy because I don't know anything about it. But the author wrote she's been doing this for years and she has the results. So I was convinced. Her explanations and photos are clear and she seems very nice.
- Wool and Sleeping ... There is some interesting material posted by the folks at Wool Sleeping Bag ... this material seems important to me. Of course they are biased toward wool, as are we. On the other hand, information like this is why we are biased in the first place. They have info about Sleeping Outdoors (in wool) and lots more
- The National Institutes of Health (USA) published some research on
"The impact of sleepwear fiber type on sleep quality under warm ambient conditions". The research shows "small but statistically significant" benefits of sleeping in wool versus cotton and polyester, particularly for older people.
- The same (as previous bullet) authors published another paper, "The effects of fabric for sleepwear and bedding on sleep at ambient temperatures of 17°C and 22°C", which found that "Sleep onset latency (SOL) was significantly shortened when sleeping in wool with trends of increased total sleep time and sleep efficiency compared to cotton sleepwear."
AmericanWool is the public outreach arm of the American Sheep Industry Association. On their website is plenty of good info, as well as a link to ExperienceWool, where you'll find specific information about wool clothing.
- The Australian Wool Education Trust website, WoolWise.com, has an avalanche of information about wool.
- Woolmark is an internationally recognized organization representing the Australian Wool Industry. Their website offers a great deal of information about wool. Among these cool offerings are a few courses, divided into sub-modules, covering Fundamentals; Science & Technology; Industry Voices; Fashion & Design. And a separate series of informational presentations, include:
- Wool is Good for the Skin
- Wool is 100% Natural and Renewable
- Wool is 100% Biodegradable
- Measuring Wool's Environmental Footprint
- Wool is Naturally Breathable
- Wool is Naturally Odor Resistant
- Wool and the Carbon Cycle
- Wool and Greenhouse Gas
- Global Wardrobe Study ... a longer presentation offering evidence that, compared to other types of garments, woolens are kept longer, need less laundering and are more likely to eventually be passed along to others
Orson Welles Wool Film!
Cinema highbrows often cite Orson Welles' Citizen Kane as the greatest film ever made and Welles was a huge name for decades. America's wool industry seems to have peaked in the 1950s, but wool was still important enough -- or maybe he was just a wool lover -- that in 1977 Welles narrated a tremendous 14-minute film FROM FIBER TO FABRIC ... WOOL'S A NATURAL. Welles had a marvelous voice, and his 1938 radio adaptation of HG Wells' (only one e and I presume no relation!) War of the Worlds famously caused some panic here in New Jersey. FIBER TO FABRIC, made for The American Sheep Producers Council (defunct?), may lack drama, but presents some fantastic information Fantastically Welles! (Sorry about that!) ... Big THANK YOU to my Old Friend Bob for flagging this to me!
- Synthetic clothing continually releases small amounts of plastic and other materials ... where do these pollutants go, and what effects are they having? This is not a concern with woolens. Click here for a Youtube video on the same subject. Here is another YouTube video -- 6 minutes -- describing the abundance and spread of microfibers released from the wear and cleaning of synthetic clothing. The video offers the claim that these microfibers are so abundant that filters designed to capture them were removed from washing machines because the filters clogged up so quickly. The video claims the microfibers are everywhere in Nature, and that millions of these microfibers have infiltrated the bodies of all of us ... and that we get more every day from the foods we eat. We love that our 100% Merino Fabric is fully biodegradable and does not contribute to this problem.
- Sheep History in New England
A customer tipped us to this great video that describes the significance of sheep and wool in the history of New England. I had no idea there were millions of Merino Sheep in New England in 1840 or so. But that surely explains why there is so much wool-industry history, and so many traces of the wool industry still in New England. Tom Wessels, the narrator/host of the video, is talking sheep in the first 5 or 6 minutes, but the whole video, about interpreting the history of the landscape, was very interesting to me. Thanks for the tip, Andy!!
- Check out KISS THE GROUND on Regenerative Agriculture
- The American Sheep Industry Association has a website, SheepUSA.org, and a Facebook page. In 2015, the ASI invited us to tell their 150th Annual Convention about WeatherWool.
- The International Wool Textile Organization has lots of information about wool! We would love to join eventually, but with annual dues at about $2500, it is geared toward much larger companies than ours.
- A fine review of merino's benefits published by RunRepeat.com, a reference for runners and hikers. This page was flagged to us by customer Tim Dillon. ... THANKS TIM!!
- This is a really cool drone-movie (from very high), shot in infrared, I think, showing a sheep dog herding sheep through a chute! Many thanks to Heidi N. Moore, @moorehn, who posted this on Twitter ... and to my Great Friend Gil, who flagged it to me.
- A customer from Louisiana referred me to this paper about the benefits of exposure to cold weather. On the next-to-last page are a couple of sentences stating that exposure to cold weather can increase the amount and activity of brown fat cells, which seems specifically devoted to the creation of heat.
- A nice story written for SEAMWORK MAGAZINE by Devon Iott, who visited a sheep ranch in Tennessee. The women who run the ranch have several breeds. They raise the sheep, shear the fleece, spin and weave sweaters. The WeatherWool Ranch might someday be in Tennessee!
- "While people bought 60% more garments in 2014 than in 2000, they only kept the clothes for half as long." ... that quote is from this article about "Fast Fashion" and its footprint regarding surprisingly (to me, anyway) large use of water and energy, as well as generation of waste.
- Here's a 10-minute YouTube video on processing wool. What really impresses me is that in the first 17 months after posting, this video had 52 million views!
- A very short discussion and diagram of the steps involved in processing raw wool into garments and other products. THANKS to the Science Learning Hub of New Zealand for this work!!
- This is a technical paper on the Thermodynamics of Adsorption written by Alan Myers and published by the University of Pennsylvania. This would have been over my head even when I was a science student way back when. One important thing I will note tho is that the paper addresses adsorption in the simple environment of activated carbon. I think the biochemical and biophysical properties of wool complicate the situation a lot.
- There are studies that have found wool helps people sleep significantly better ... here's another study about babies and wool.
- Vanishing Fleece is a really interesting 2019 book written by Clara Parkes, who describes her experiences turning a bale of raw wool into yarn. Much of what she writes about is very familiar to us, as we did pretty much all of it. But we continued with our yarn ... weaving, finishing, testing, sewing ... etc., developing our own brand of clothing.
- An article in Vogue Magazine about a woman who is using wool to replace polystyrene as a thermal insulator in shipping packaging.
- The Australian Government CSIRO has published The wool fibre and its applications, by Dr Geoff Naylor. There is some fascinating information in this 34-page article.
Growing great sheep that produce great fleece, and then turning that fleece into WeatherWool requires an amazing team. And it's the same story for just about any product in our tightly integrated and highly specialized society. WeatherWool works with many professionals having a wide variety of skills , and each time we speak with them, we learn more about what they do. A tremendous illustration of this situation is the 1958 essay I, Pencil, written by Leonard E. Reed. It's a great 5-minute read, addressing the many different efforts that need to be coordinated to make a pencil. And there are surprisingly (to me!) many. But what I'd not been aware of, previously, was that the bigger point of the essay, made only in the last couple of paragraphs, is that the vast array of players and equipment necessary to make the pencil could not have coordinated or even envisioned by top-down, centralized planning. I, Pencil is primarily a tribute to Freedom.
People sometimes ask me why I always capitalize Freedom. ... Because Freedom is huge to me. And because I much admire the old style of written English in the American Declaration of Independence, for example, where Life, Liberty, Happiness and Sacred Honor are all capitalized.
- We were honored recently by a customer comparing us to Loro Piana, the great Italian textile company that is now owned by LVMH. And I was interested to learn that Loro Piana had undertaken to breed their own sheep with extremely fine fleece.
- The American Wool Organization offers a short piece about shearing, and how, for an experienced professional shearer, it's like a dance between sheep and woman (in this case).
- An interesting 1-minute tour of the structure of a wool fiber via a sort of 3-dimensional video, courtesy of the International Wool Textile Organization.
- "I thought the below video might amuse you. It's about 1700 year old finely crafted wool tunic found in Norway. They estimate the cost of having it made today by the traditional methods in use at the time would be about 44000usd. If ever anyone complains your wool is too expensive you can point them to this. ..... https://youtu.be/15IxF53AZfE " ... This quote from a note sent to me on 20 March 2021 by Advisor Will Cooke. THANKS WILL! ... That was very interesting. I really love learning about the ancient ways. --- Ralph
- Zipper broken? Here is a a great short YouTube tutorial on fixing a zipper slider that is not zipping the teeth together. THANKS to Sterling Wong! Also, it turns out (should not have been a surprise) you can easily find online ZIPPER PLIERS designed for exactly this chore. Sterling's video shows how to do it with a standard needlenose pliers. And THANKS to UCAN Zippers USA for another similar video. There are lots more such videos out there
- Gardening with Wool??!!! ... Debby found an interesting article at AmericanWool.org ... Adding waste wool to soil can significantly enhance plant growth. One study claimed wool pellets cut tomato growing days from 76 to 38 ... growth was twice as fast! An astounding result. The study focused on wool sheared from parts of the sheep (face, belly, back end) that have (until now, anyway) had little to no value. The waste wool was formed into pellets that aided gardens in various ways ... nitrogen, water retention, slug control, insect resistance, mulch ... The work, and the wool-pellet soil amendments are new and I am guessing people will have a lot to say down the road. From our point of view, we are wondering if adding some of our tailoring remnants to our garden will help. I look forward every year to picking tomatoes in the back yard.
- Sheep101.info is exactly what its name suggests. MANY THANKS to Susan at THE BAALANDS in Maryland for putting this site together!
- Pretty cool drone-video of the movements of a flock of sheep. Video from Israel.
- Not a sleep study ... but this one is about wool and eczema. I guess it could be extrapolated to include wool bedding. Also item from Woolmark
The Exothermic Effects of Textile Fibers during Changes in Environmental Humidity: A Comparison between ISO:16533 and Dynamic Hot Plate Test Method , FIBERS (2023),from Drs Abedin and DenHartog at University of North Carolina ... this paper examines the heat released by various fibers in response to changes humidity. One line in the summary really got my attention, (emphasis is mine):
The exothermic effects of high regain fiber types have been described before; yet, there have not been reliable tests to demonstrate these effects on the human body.
24 August 2023 --- Ralph