Dear Kid,

Have you thought about wool recently? If you were, perhaps you were wool gathering (“wool gathering” means daydreaming). Here are things you don’t know about wool.

Wool comes from sheep. Except when it comes from sheep and alpaca, sheep and llama, sheep and camel, cashmere, angora, vicuna (what the heck is a vicuna?), yak, guanaco (not to be confused with guano), beaver, or otter.

Side note: There are two wild camelids in the South American Andes, the vicuna and the guanaco. They both live at higher altitudes than you do and they both have nicer coats.

Wool is biodegradable (but not very quickly so you don’t have to worry about it falling apart while you’re wearing it), flame-resistant, mildew and mold resistant, and contains natural UV protection (since lambs are not good about reapplying sunscreen).

Side note: Wool has uneven and negatively charged fibers and since stink-causing bacteria prefer flat, positively-charged surfaces they (the stink bacteria) usually hold conventions on synthetic fabrics.

Baa baa black sheep and other things you don't know about wool. DearKidLoveMom.comWool fibers are very durable. If you want to break a wool fiber, you’d have to bend it back and forth (the same way you break a pop top off a soda can) about 20,000 times.

Side note: Scissors are easier and faster.

The children’s song Baa, Baa, Black Sheep was probably an objection to heavy taxation on wool in England.

Side note: Being the black sheep of the family has nothing whatsoever to do with wool.

Despite popular assumption, My Friend the Internet assures me that sheep are quite intelligent.

Side note: They also have crazy peripheral vision. They have rectangular pupils (an excellent fact you might need during a trivia contest) and can see almost 360 degrees without turning their fuzzy heads.

Wool is used for clothes, piano dampers, and the insides of baseballs.

Side note: Most baseballs contain over 370 yards of wool windings.

In times of yore (and by “yore” I mean before either of us were born), wool was traded as commodity. (It still is, but I really wanted to say “yore”.)

Side note: When Richard the Lionheart (think Robin Hood) was captured, part of his ransom may have been paid in wool. Or maybe not. MFtI is conflicted on the point.

Wool is currently very popular (especially in Asia), which has driven up the price and caused farmers to send fewer lambs to slaughter (the better to raise them to wool-bearing age).

Side note: This is good for lambs, farmers, and knitting needle manufacturers.

Love, Mom