How Are Woolen Sweaters Made?

Most people are aware that wool comes from sheep, but only a few people know how long it takes for raw wool to transition from a sheep's fluffy coat to a wearable cloth. Wool is cleaned and transformed into silky yarn through a multi-step process. Although automation can make the process considerably faster nowadays, the technique is essentially the same as it has been for millennia.

So, if you have been wondering how to make woolen sweater, we have got you covered. We also aim to debunk some misconceptions surrounding wool such as the alleged harm that it brings to the sheep.

Contrary to this belief, shearing the wool off the sheep’s body actually keep it from uncontrollably growing. Overgrown wool can be harmful to the sheep as it can block their sight, and be a home for bacteria and other insects to fester on.

Now that we have got that out of the way, let’s move on to the steps on how to make woolen sweaters.
  • The Sheep and the Shears

Sheep sheds shear their sheep every year at the end of winter, using electric equipment similar to a razor. This tool is designed to remove all of the sheep's fleece in one piece.

The fleece is then transferred to a wool table with slats spaced apart to allow shorter wool and trash to fall through. By hand, twigs, leaves, and other unwanted pieces of the fleece are removed, and the remainder is then folded and rolled.

The annual fleece of a single sheep can weigh up to 8 kilograms, though most are about 3 to 4 kilograms. Shearing does not hurt sheep when done properly, which is a top priority for our Baabuk wool suppliers. Shearing gives them a thin, cool covering that keeps them cool in the summer. Sheep's fleece can overgrow if they aren't sheared like in the famous case of "Shrek the Sheep."

After that, the wool is sorted and cleaned.

  • Classing the Wool

The length, diameter, strength, crimp, and colour of the individual fibres in the fleece are measured and evaluated. Worsted fabric for suits and other clothes is created from finer wool, while woolen fabric for coats, jackets, and carpets is made from coarser wool. Similar-grade fleeces are mechanically squeezed into bales and kept for transit.

  • Cleaning and Washing

Raw fleeces are greasy because they contain lanolin. They will still hold vegetable and other dirt from the fields. Dirt, other pollutants, and natural oils are removed from the wool by a simple step of washing it.

Some of the leftovers of the wool that are collected from the cleaning process are repurposed. Many beauty products, such as skin moisturizers, include lanolin, a wax secreted by sheep to help maintain their wool.

  • Straightening the Curls

The washed and mixed wool is made up of tufts of tangled, curly fibres. By brushing the wool over a succession of rolling drums with pointed teeth, the curly wool turns into straight and soft fibres that are ready for the next step. This is thanks to a carding machine that is made up of rolling drums covered in pointed teeth that combs through the fibres.

The drums have different diameters and revolve at varying speeds, so the wool fibres align into a fine web as it develops.

  • Spinning Wool into Yarn

Spinning converts the wool pieces into usable material. This part of the process involves spinning 2-5 strands of wool together on a wheel. This results in long, strong pieces of wool that resemble yarn.

Different processes generate different types of yarn, each of which is useful for a specific end product. Worsted spinning, for example, produces a smooth, thin yarn that is ideal for suits and other finer-quality garments. Woolen spinning, on the other hand, produces a thicker yarn suitable for knitting.  

  • Bringing in a Pop of Colour

Wool absorbs water quickly, making it easy to dye. Depending on the final product, it can be dyed at almost any stage of the process. The desired colour is produced by simply immersing the wool in boiling water with the dye material or by applying colourful dyes directly to the fabric.

From Raw Wool to Your Favorite Woolen Sweaters

The transformation of a sheep's fleece into soft and cozy wool is a true art form that must be carefully managed. Although the process can be time-consuming, the end result is full of natural benefits. We hope this guide on how to make woolen sweaters has been helpful to you.

Here at Aklanda Australia, our pride lies in producing high-quality Merino knitting wool in Australia. Our high neck sweater come in simple sweater knitting patterns to highly intricate knitting sweater patterns. The best thing about it is that you can order them today right at the comfort of your own home.