Wool Story

By Haley Howard ©2015

Lamb: Oh, dear. Where has my mother gone? 

Dog: Don’t worry, little lamb. She is being sheared. 

Lamb: Sheared! What does that mean? 

Dog: Shearing means to clip off all the wool of a sheep. It doesn’t hurt the sheep at all; it’s just like a haircut. Your mother will be just fine. 

Lamb: But what will she do next winter when it gets cold? She won’t have any wool to keep her warm! 

Dog: Don’t worry. By next winter, all of her wool will be grown back and just as thick. 

Lamb: Oh, okay. But why are the humans shearing off my mother’s wool? 

Dog: Well, you see, humans are strange creatures and they don’t grow thick hair or wool all over their bodies like any sensible animal, like you and I do. So humans need to shear off the wool to make clothing and blankets to keep them warm in the winter. 

Lamb: Really? How do they make clothing out of sheep wool? 

Dog: After the farmer has sheared off all the wool, he sells it to a factory, like Pendleton Woolen Mills. At the factory, the wool is sorted and cleaned. It is washed many times to get rid of grease and dirt; and all the burrs and straw are picked out. After all the wool is clean and dry, it is carded by a machine. 

Lamb: What does carding mean? 

Dog: Carding means to comb the wool. It gets all the tangles and knots out and makes the wool very soft and fluffy. 

Lamb: What happens next? 

Dog: Well, after the wool has been carded, it is spun into yarn or thread. A machine twists the wool into long strands. Those long strands are what make up the cloth that humans’ clothes are made out of. 

Lamb: So then they turn the long strands into clothes? 

Dog: Not quite yet. First, they dye the wool different colors, otherwise humans would all be sheep color. To dye the yarn, the wool is dipped into colored liquid. The color stains the wool and changes the color. Then machines weave the yarn into cloth. The cloth can either be a solid color, or be patterned. At Pendleton Woolen Mills, they are famous for their brightly colored blankets with intricate patterns. 

Lamb: Wow, humans do all that just to make clothes? 

Dog: Yup! 

Lamb: Silly humans, they should just grow their own clothes like us!