(Read all the way to the end for information about our annual Shearing Day open house!)
When it’s cold outside, my thoughts turn to wool, and what a great resource it is. Here’s a quick Wool 101 class.
- Wool is renewable. Sheep are shorn once a year, providing a good supply of new wool all the time. Shearing sheep doesn’t hurt them—in fact, they NEED to be shorn to keep them healthy.
- Wool is earth-friendly. 100% wool clothing is completely biodegradable. Unlike polar fleece and other synthetic materials, your wool clothing items do not introduce little bits of plastic into our watersheds every time you wash them, and they are compostable once they’re worn out.
- Wool is warm. A wool shirt is significantly warmer than a synthetic shirt of the same weight.
- Wool is breathable. The scales on each fiber/shaft allow for natural airflow, helping your body to regulate temperature naturally. You can even wear wool in the summer!
- Wool doesn’t stink. Wool is naturally anti-microbial, and doesn’t allow bacteria to grow. You can wash your wool clothing much less often than other types of clothing because of this!
- Wool keeps you dry. The interior of the wool fiber absorbs moisture, while the scales on the outside of the shaft stay dry. So you might sweat while wearing wool but still not notice the clammy feeling common with other fabrics.
- Wool is fire-resistant. Wool tends to naturally extinguish itself when/if lit on fire. It also doesn’t melt like synthetics.
Can you tell I love wool? It’s a treasure—far surpassing any synthetics we’ve developed from petroleum byproducts.
I can hear some of you saying now, “Too bad I can’t wear wool. I’m allergic.” Or, “It’s itchy!”
I want to let you in on a secret. You might not actually be allergic to wool. And wool doesn’t have to be itchy. I admit that some wool is, because it’s been treated with caustic chemicals or it’s got lots of microscopic bits of hay left in it. Just like WHO grows your food is important, WHO grows and processes your wool is important, too. We use a Michigan wool processor that simply uses soap and hot water to clean the wool. And we do our best to remove as much hay as possible.
In fact, the proof is in the pudding. When I’m at a farmers market and people see the wool, I often say to them, “Wool is itchy, right?” They almost always nod. Then I ask them to touch the roving that I have along for sale. Almost always, a look of surprise comes over their face when they do touch it, and they exclaim, “It’s so SOFT!” Yes it is.
So, give it a try. Start wearing wool where you aren’t quite so sensitive–maybe your feet? Pay attention to how the wool item feels before you buy it. And join the ranks of wool lovers. You’ll be glad you did!
We will be hosting our annual Shearing Day on Saturday, February 26 from 9 am – 1 pm (come and go as you wish.) The farm is located at 13275 Blair Street, Holland, Michigan. We will be shearing our sheep that day, and our open house is geared toward folks who want to see shearing on a working farm and learn more about wool production. We will have fiber artists demonstrating their work that day, and we’ll have our farm products–including wool items–available for sale in our store. The open house is suitable for people of all ages, though very small children sometimes are bothered by the noise and smells of the sheep barn. Wear old clothing and dress warmly. We shear in a barn.
This event is free, but we would love it if you would consider a purchase from our store or a donation to help offset the costs of putting on this event.