Wool is the fleece of the sheep, goat, alpaca and camel. The warmth, softness, strength and susceptibility to take dye render wool the most valuable of all textiles. Its quality depends upon the climate, food and shelter of the animal.

Wool is first sorted into two grades - the long and short, staple - according to length. The oil is then removed by scouring, in which process it loses about one-half its weight.

The long stapled wool is combed to lay the fibers parallel, which are spun into worsted yarns for hosiery, carpets, etc.

The short staples or noils are woven into dress goods.

Shoddy or waste is used for filling weaves in cheaper materials.

From the Angora goat is manufactured a very fine, silky mohair.

The merino sheep - originally from Spain -has also a beautiful staple.

Alkali and high temperature injure the staples which, however, resist the chemicals used in coloring.

To test woolen cloth, apply a lighted match to the warp and woof threads. Pure wool will not burn but shrivels and gives off a disagreeable odor; the cotton or linen threads will burn.