Wool, one of the oldest textile fibres known, has survived the test of time because of its unique natural properties. The basic characteristics wool possessed in the Stone Age era, for instance, are still the fundamental qualities that make wool unique in this 20th century. Today there are many other textile fibres, but as yet science has not been able to produce another fibre containing all the natural properties of wool. Wool remains unique; a masterpiece of design.

Wool Insulates Against Heat and Cold Because it absorbs moisture vapour, wool clothing provides superior comfort in both hot and cold weather. In cold weather even a little moisture on the skin becomes cold, quickly reducing body temperature. However, by absorbing body moisture a dry layer of air is left next the skin and this helps to hold in body heat. In addition the crimp in the wool fibres makes them stand apart from each other. As a result, little pockets of still air are trapped between the fibres. This lining of air trapped inside the fabric acts as an insulator. Still air is one of the best insulators found in nature.

The absorption/evaporation process works in hot weather to help keep the body cooler. Evaporation of perspiration is the body's natural cooling device. Wool helps this process along. Its thirsty cells absorb body vapours and help reduce skin temperature. Also, much of the outdoor heat is blocked out because of wool's insulating barrier of air pockets. This means that the body is kept at an even temperature.

Wool is Healthy
Because wool has the ability to insulate against heat and cold, it protects against sudden changes of temperature, and it lets your body breathe. Wool can absorb up to 30 percent of its own weight in moisture before it becomes really damp. As moisture is absorbed heat is generated so that the wool remains warm rather than cold and clammy. After doing strenuous work or playing sport it is a good idea to pull on a wool jumper as it allows the body to cool down slowly and chills are prevented.

Wool is Water Repellent
While wool can absorb moisture, it repels liquids. The scales on the outside of the fibre cause liquid to roll off the surface of the wool fabric. For instance, if you accidentally spill water on the floor, it is no use trying to mop it up with an old wool jumper because the wool will not absorb the liquid. Similarly, if you are caught in a shower or rain, it will take quite some time before the rain penetrates your wool clothing, and so wool keeps you dry. Even if wool does eventually get wet it generates heat and keeps you warm, not cold and clammy.

Wool is Fire Resistant
Wool is naturally safe. It does not have to be specially treated to become non-flammable. While it can catch alight, it will not flare up nor support a flame. Instead of burning freely, once the flame is removed a cold ash is left which can be brushed away immediately. Wool does not melt when burned, and so cannot stick to the skin and cause serious burns. Because of its fire-resistant qualities, wool blankets, furnishings and carpets in your home are necessary insurance, and wool for clothing (particularly children) will protect from accidents associated with fire. Firemen wear wool uniforms, and fire-fighters in rural areas should always ensure they dress themselves in wool before rushing to fight a fire.

Wool is Naturally Elastic
Wool's natural elasticity, greater than that of any other fibre, makes it comfortable to wear because it fits the shape of the body. Wool can be twisted, turned and stretched, and yet it returns to its natural shape. This is why wrinkles disappear from wool garments when they are rested, and why wool carpets retain their springy pile for many years. A wool fibre when dry can be extended by about 30 percent. When wet it will stretch by between 60 and 70 percent. This means that a wool garment gives freedom of movement, especially important for children's clothes and sportswear, when ease of movement is all important.

Wool Wears Longer
Wool not only wears longer, it also keeps its good appearance and stays new-looking longer. It doesn't get shabby in a short space of time. Each wool fibre is made up of millions of "coiled springs" that stretch and give rather than break, and so wool is extremely durable. Wool stands up to the stresses and strains of normal wear because it gives rather than resists friction. The durability and strength of the coarser wool gives us furnishings materials and carpets which retain their good appearance for a long time. One of the reasons why so many people hang on to a favourite old wool garment for so many years is because it retains its original appearance longer than most other fabrics.

Wool is Versatile
Wool fabric, knitwear and carpets are made from a wide range of wool types varying from extrafine for suits and knitwear through to broad fibres which give carpets their strength and character. This means that wool gives designers endless potential for their creations - from delicate fabrics to rugged outdoor wear. Wool technologists have developed an endless number of combinations of weave, knits and textures, from sheer lacy knits and light airy worsteds to bulky tweeds and heavy overcoating. Different sheep breeds, each with their own unique fibre characteristics provide manufacturers with different wools for an even wider range of products. Blending various wool types in different ways adds further to wool's versatility. It is small wonder then that wool is found in products as diverse as paint-rollers and mattresses, carpets and coats, furnishing fabrics and high-fashion suits, blankets and underwear, curtains and skiwear, wall paper and tennis ball coverings.

Wool Resists Static
Because wool naturally absorbs moisture from the air, the tendency to collect static electricity is reduced. Walking across a wool carpet, you are less likely to receive a shock when you touch a grounded object. Wool garments are much less likely to "spark" or cling to the body.

Wool Insulates Against Noise
As mentioned above wool is a wonderful insulator against noise. It absorbs sound and reduces noise level considerably. For this reason wool wallpaper is often used in offices, restaurants, airport terminals, etc. Wool is also an ideal material used in such places as concert halls to attain the best acoustics possible.

Wool Resists Dirt
Wool resists dirt, retains its appearance, and stays cleaner longer. Its ability to absorb moisture prevents a build-up of static electricity and therefore wool does not attract lint and dust from the air. Furthermore the crimp in the wool fibre and the scales on the outside of the fibre assist in keeping dirt from penetrating the surface. The same qualities also make it easier to clean.

Wool is Easy to Sew
For the home dressmaker, wool cuts cleanly, doesn't fray, drapes naturally, doesn't crush with handling and pins don't mark it. It responds instantly to shaping by iron and steaming and then holds shape.

Wool is Fashionable
Leading designers throughout the world prefer to use wool - it comes in a wide choice of textures, weaves and weights, and is suitable for any style required. No fabric drapes like wool fabric. It is alive, flexible and tailors easily. The soft and easy "give and take" of the wool fibre keeps garments in shape, prevents stretching and sagging, and resists wrinkling.

Wool Dyes Beautifully
Wool dyes so easily and the range of colours is limitless. The scales on the surface of the wool fibre tend to diffuse light giving less reflection and a softer colour. Because proteins in the core of the fibre are reactive, they can absorb and combine with a wide variety of dyes. This means that the wool holds its colour well as the dye becomes part of the fibre.

Wool is comfortable
Wool is so comfortable to wear because its elasticity means garments fit so well and yield to body movement. It absorbs moisture, allows your body to breathe, yet never feels damp and clammy. No other fabric serves so well under such a variety of conditions, nor combines so many natural properties.