When warm is the weather sheep lose their sweater.
Once a year all my sheep get haircuts. We call this process sheering. Just like with people, haircuts don’t hurt and the hair will grow back. We call sheep hair wool.
This sheep is half way through a hand shearing. She was born with black hair but the sun naturally bleaches her wool to a brown color
The wool is collected and then fleeced which means sticks or grass is removed and any dirty parts are cut off. My sheep like to get dirty so this takes a long time.
Lanolin is an oil that sheep naturally make to protect their skin and wool.
The next step is cleaning the wool. Check out this wool soaking in water. When dirt and lanolin are removed it is called scouring the wool.
After wool is fleeced ,scoured and dried, it is then carded or combed so all the hairs go the same direction. This part can be really fun.
The finished product is a soft, fluffy roving.
People use roving to make felted products and yarn.
Lots of things can be made out of wool like clothing, hats and blankets. Wool is extra groovy because it can keep you cool on warm days and warm on cool days.
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For more about wool and how you can make felted soap with wool roving check out our “Soap It Up” box for a Lesson in Saponification. During your ENGINEERING DESIGN CHALLENGE you will investigate soap and chemical compounds, pH and surfactants, bacteria and germs, surface tension, soapberries, wool, lanolin, entrepreneurship, and much, much, more.