Knitting wool is created by first shearing the wool off the animal. There are different types of wool including lambs wool, sheep wool, alpaca wool, and llama wool. Shearing means that the animals hair is shaved back and collected to use for clothing, towels, and other cloth items. Shearing does not hurt the animals and in very hot regions it has to be done to keep the animal from overheating. This is where using the hair from animals was first considered. Once the hair is removed it must be washed before it can be spun. Before the days of running water, people would fill porous bags with hair and put the bags into rivers or creeks to get out all of the dirt and other particles that were left behind. This process is similar today except that some people use their washing machines. The hair is washed in very hot water two or three times and then dried. Fine or dirty hairs are taken out.
Wool hairs can be purchased in most craft stores or bought from farms. The hair is not yet knitting wool. After the hair has dried, it will need to be spun. Some people use spinners which consist of a big wheel that is fed the hair. Spinning is what creates the knitting wool. Hairs are spun together to form a tight yarn. This yarn can then be used to knit. If a person cannot fit a spinning wheel into their home, smaller hand spinning wheels can be used. These are traditional spinning wheels that are two or three inches wide. Spinning the wheel that is attached to a stick and adding hair will begin to create the knitting wool. This can be a laborious process, but one that will be worth it.
After the knitting wool has been spun, people will begin to knit, which is another process by which yarn is interwoven to create clothing and other fabrics that people use everyday. Traditional knitting can take weeks or months to finish one or two items. Wool sweaters, blankets, shirts, and other clothing made from wool will last a long time because the wool is very strong material. Knitting wool is a renewable resource. Many people will combine different kinds of wool to create blends that may feel a little softer. These blends are also used to create different patterns. Dying the wool allows for more color choices.
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