WOVEMBER WORDS #9
If you have ever seen a stray, wiry white hair in your knitting wool, and didn’t know what it was, then it may come as a surprise that “most sheep grow hair as well as wool; the hair is known to wool staplers as ‘kemp.’ Some of the best wool-bearing breeds are almost entirely free from kemp, but some may be expected in most British breeds, especially those from the hill lands. In our enthusiasm for wool as a material, we sometimes forget that to the sheep who bears it, it is a thatch grown to protect it from the particular climate it must endure. Rain runs more easily off hair than off wool, so kemp increases in wet districts.”
– Elsie G. Davenport, Your Handspinning, 1971, Select Books, Mountain View, MO, USA.