Animal Fibre - Wool
Wool comes mostly from sheep. It was the first fibre to be spun into yarn, and it provides more warmth than other animal fibres.
Wool comes mostly from sheep. It was the first fibre to be spun into yarn, and itprovides more warmth than other animal fibres. Apart from sheep, wool also comes from the angora goat, yak, llama, alpaca, and even camels. All these animals have a thick coat of hair or fleece, which keeps them warm. Wool is obtained from this fleece. Sheep wool is more commonly available in India. In Tibet and Ladakh, yak wool is more common, whereas in Jammu and Kashmir, it is the angora wool. The famous Pashmina shawls come from the soft under-fur of the Kashmiri goat. In South America, the llama and the alpaca are two animals that yield wool. Actually, there are many different breeds of sheep that are reared in different parts of our country to obtain wool. Some breeds of sheep are selectively reared. This means that their parents are chosen for their special characteristics to give birth to them. For example, some sheep are selected because they have soft under-hair. This process is called 'selective breeding'. The Nali and Lohi breeds are found in Rajasthan and Punjab, the Rampur bushair in Uttar Pradesh and Himachal Pradesh, and the Bakharwal in Jammu and Kashmir. Gujarat breeds the Marwari and Patanwadi sheep. Each breed yields wool used for different purposes.
Sheep are herbivores, and prefer grass and leaves. However, shepherds also feed them mixtures of pulses, corn, jowar, oil cakes and minerals. In winter, they are fed leaves, grain and dry fodder.
In our country, many people earn their livelihood from the wool industry. However, the sorter's job can be dangerous. They can get infected by a bacterium called anthrax, which causes a fatal blood disease called sorter's disease. When workers face such risk due to their occupation, it is called an occupational hazard. Sheep rearing is a lot of hard work.
Animal Fibre - Silk
Silk is the queen of textiles. It is an animal fibre produced by the silkworm to build its cocoon.
Silk is the queen of textiles. It is an animal fibre produced by the silkworm to build its cocoon. Silk was discovered in China, when empress Si-lung-Chi was worried about the damaged mulberry leaves in her garden. Emperor Huang-ti found that white worms were eating up the mulberry leaves and spinning shiny cocoons.
Silkworms are not worms actually, but the larvae or caterpillars that have hatched from the eggs of the silk moth.
Different types of silk moths yield different types of silk yarn, such as:
Silk is the strongest of all natural fibres. A soft silk yarn is as strong as a comparable thread of steel. Sericulture, or silk farming, is the rearing of silkworms for the production of raw silk.
Extracting silk from the cocoon:
In our country, women are involved in a big way in the sericulture industry. They contribute to processes of rearing of silkworms, reeling of silk from cocoons, and processing of raw silk into fabric. This enterprise contributes to the nation's economy and also helps rank India among the leading silk producing countries. Of course, China leads the world in silk production.