What Happens to All That Wool in Fine Rugs

Ever wondered how fine rugs are made and what really happens to all the wool? We share some insight into exactly how wool is used in fine rugs.

Recently, two New Zealand farmers made a surprising discovery: a wandering sheep with over 44 pounds of unshorn wool on it. The two farmers, Peter and Netty Hazel, estimate that the sheep, now named Shaun, had been loose and wandering the countryside by itself for approximately six years, and that when it is shorn the yield could break the Guinness world record for most fleece ever taken from an animal at one time.

Peter estimates that Shaun’s wool, which is of surprisingly good quality for a sheep that’s been wandering the wild and been unkempt for so long, could make “3 to 4 pullovers.” Regardless of what Shaun’s impressive fleece is made into (we’d like to think at least some of it will end up as high quality fine rugs!), once it’s been shorn it will become one of two different kinds of yarn: woolen or worsted.

Woolen fabrics are the ones with the softer, fuzzier appearance. They’re spun from shorter fibers (usually less than 3 inches). Woolen fiber is bulky, heavy, and uneven, giving it a shaggy appearance. This makes it a great insulator, as well as a good knitting yarn. 

Worsted fiber on the other hand is made from longer, thinner threads and is much lighter and smoother looking. It also has a higher tensile strength than woolens, and handles creasing and folding much better. Worsted yarn is used to create stronger, more durable textiles.

Before Shaun’s wool becomes one of these two types of yarn, it has to be cleaned and scoured before it can be processed. From their, it will be spun into one of the two types of yarn (or a combination of both), and then used to make clothing, fine rugs, or one of the other many useful products that wool can be processed into.

Whether or not this strange sheep’s remarkable fleece in particular ends up on our store shelves or not, knowing the ways that wool is processed, weaved, and then turned into fine area rugs helps to give a better understanding of what rugs are made from, and what can be expected of them. For more answers about wool and fine rugs, and how the two should be handled and cared for, come in to the store and speak with one of our trained fine rugs specialist.

share this: