As we are nearing the end of our Working with Wool section, we have a lot of woolly words to share with you today, therefore Wovember Words will be short:
Numerous kinds of fibres, animal, vegetable, and mineral, are used in weaving. The best known, and probably the most useful, is wool.In section, magnified, a wool fibre is seen to be constructed of elongated cells, with an outside covering of horny, scale-like cells. These outside scales have microscopic bracts or imbrications. Hair and vegetable fibres do not possess imbrications. Under the varying conditions of spinning these imbrications become interlocked – this is one of the great advantages wool possesses over other spinning fibres. Fierce dry heat, strong alkalis and other abuses may destroy the bracts.
– Sheep & Fleeces, by Mark H. Prior, Woolstapler, Chichester, a chapter in Handweaving Today, Traditions and Changes, by Ethel Mairet, 1939
A classification of scales on hair. Wool typically has crenated imbricate scales.
A close-up of a single wool fibre, clearly displaying the crenated imbricate scales.
Rayon is completely smooth.