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Types of Wool

Virgin Wool

This means the wool is 'new' and has not been re-processed from old garments and is Good for rug hooking

Note:  Fabric made from re-processed wool is referred to as 'Shoddy', hence the general  term of shoddy meaning of low quality  and is not good for rug hooking.

Pendleton Wool and Flannel Wool

Fabric made by the Pendleton Company, a famous USA woolen mill and is Good for rug hooking

Flannel refers to the weave/type of fabric; a wool fabric, usually a plain weave, may be a simple check or stripe made using woolen yarn and has a brushed finish.

Cashmere Wool

Wool from the Cashmere goat, which is highly prized because of its softness and light weight.. Cashmere is Good  for rug hooking

Merino Wool

Merino sheep are a breed kept because of the length of their fleece and its fine denier or thickness. This fleece is often used for Worsted yarns and fabrics because the long 'staple' or individual fiber means there are fewer hairs on the finished surface.  Merino wool is Good for rug hooking (worsted weaves, however, are too flat and will not full up when washed, so worsted is Not good for rug hooking.)

Tweeds

Most all tweed wool is Good for rug hooking

Tweed is a heavier weight cloth, traditionally woven in the area across the border between England and Scotland, including the banks of the river Tweed. Tweed wool is made using yarn spun from the fleece of  local sheep breeds like Cheviots & Herwicks that have coarse fleeces. Tweed fabric is often woven using a 'marled' or 'heathered' yarn, where many colors are spun together to form a muted coloring, and may be woven in a check, plaid or stripe, usually using a herringbone weave. The cloth is warm, and has a brushed or hairy surface; it may be fine and fashionable or coarse and hardwearing. See Linton Tweed for some interesting information.

Donegal Tweed

 . . . is made in Ireland and is woven using black and white yarns that have knobs or bumps spun into the yarn.

Harris Tweed

. . . is a trademarked product and is made only on the Outer Hebridean Islands; see Harris Tweed for more information.

Houndstooth and Herringbone

 . . . are types of weaves that create a pattern in the wool cloth and most are Good for rug hooking

Houndstooth is a weave that results in a distinctive pattern where two colors of yarn  form a 'check' that tessellates or interlocks. Herringbone is a weave that uses two colors (one for warp, one for weft) arranged so that a VVVVVVVVV pattern of stripes forms on the fabric.

Worsted Wool

Yarn or cloth made from long staple wool, often Merino, that has a high degree of twist, with the fibers all aligned, and a non-hairy surface. Worsted wool is usually woven with a 'twill' weave, which stays very flat and tight, therefore it is Not good for rug hooking.

Also, worsted fabrics tend to unravel easily due to the lack of hairs that interlock when washed to full or felt the wool. Causing it to remain thin and unsuitable for hooking.

Best Weight of Wool for Rug Hooking

Skirt or pant weight is ideal for rug hooking; it is a medium weight fabric. Coat weight and blanket weight wool is thicker, and can sometimes be used for hooking. The weight of wool fabric you use depends upon the width of your strips, or your "cut".  Regardless of the actual fabric used, you need a minimum of 4 or 5 threads in a strip in order for the strip to hold together during hooking. A very fine or lightweight flannel may have 45 or 50 warp threads to the inch, so you can cut 10 strips from each inch of fabric, while a heavy tweed may have only 15 or less, meaning you can only cut 3 per inch. A light-weight fabric can be cut wider, but will tend to collapse when hooked in wider widths and the

loops will not stand erect, so it may be better to hook with two strips at once rather than use a strip twice as wide.

Labeling of Wool

The Wool Mark is an internationally used mark, made up of interlacing lines forming a sort of shamrock shape, which wool mills are licensed to use if their product is 100% Pure New Wool and of high quality. Get to know this sign. However, even wool bearing this mark may be  unsuitable for rug hooking; worsted & gabardine woolen fabrics qualify to use it but should not be used for hooking. Also, some woolen fabrics are treated to make them machine washable, "shrink-proof, or are otherwise treated so that they will not "full"; a term for a small amount of shrinkage which is desirable for rug hooking, since it helps lock the individual fibers to each other and make strips less likely to fray during hooking. Most rug hookers find wool with up to 10% nylon content acceptable for hooking. Nylon accepts acid dyes the same as wool and silk, so overdyeing is not a problem. Many of the finer/softer fibers, especially those made of Lambs wool, Cashmere, Camel Hair, Vicuna, & Angora, wear better if made from a 90% wool / 10% nylon blend.