Tuesday, July 19, 2011

AgBCs: W is for Wool

Wool—it's the natural fiber grown from sheep. But besides keeping you warm in the winter, wool clothes can also keep you cool in the summer?

Wool is also flame resistant—it won't catch on fire. And, different breeds of sheep grow different kinds of wool. Fine wool is used to make suits, medium wool to make blankets and coarse wool is used to make carpets.

Taking a field trip to a sheep farm can be a fun way for students to learn about livestock production in Ohio. Don't know any sheep farmers? Contact the Ohio Sheep Improvement Association—or your state's organization—and they can help you connect with a sheep producer in your area. While there, ask to bring back some of the wool with you, then try this dun, "Dyed in the Wool" activity from the Ohio Sheep Improvement Association:

  • Wet the wool. Make sure it's thoroughly washed and wet.
  • Add 2 packages of sugarless Kool-Aid to a crockpot of water. You may use one package for a lighter shade.
  • Stir.
  • Add wool.
  • Turn the crochet on high.
  • When the crockpot is hot and steaming, you may turn the temperature down to "simmer" or low for 30 minutes.
  • At the end of the 30 minutes, turn the crockpot off. The dye bath should be "exhausted."
  • Now, rinse the wool and wash it with soap or detergent. Make sure the water temperature is consistent. Do not plunge the hot wool into cold water.
Have fun!

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