In Search of the World’s Finest Wools is a photographic search around the world to find the finest wools available and to meet the dedicated people who care for the animals and harvest the raw wool. From this precious commodity comes the unsurpassed wools used around the world. An ethnographic marriage of stunning imagery and authoritative text, this book reveals the nature of the animals, the lives of the farmers and nomadic shepherds that care for them, and the cultures and traditions that have enriched wool-producing societies for centuries, including the use of wool in traditional costume and for utility. In Search of the World’s Finest Wools explores these wool-producing regions: *Greenland – Qiviut, the wool of the musk ox.From the stone age comes the rarest and most precious of all wools, a wool ‘so subtle with qualities somewhere between the lustre of silk and the softness of cashmere’ and a thermal quality eight times that of sheep’s wool; *Mongolia – Cashmere goat wool, a wool of ‘incomparable lightness and softness, yet with an unmatched body and warmth’ and a domesticated history dating to 9,000 BCE; *Kyrgyzstan – Taewit goat wool, the product of a cross of the Kyrgyz goat with the Orenburg cashmere goat, discovered by the wider world only after the fall of the USSR; *Ladakh – Pashmina goat wool, the ‘prince among Oriental wools’ produced by goats that prefer life at 16,000 feet (5,000 m); *Scotland – Shetland sheep wool, its fine guard hairs, the product of 250 days of coastal wind and rain, give superior thermal, wind and moisture resistance; *Australia & New Zealand – Merino sheep wool, the finest and ‘most noble of all wool breeds’, the high-maintenance sheep produces the finest of all wools with a fibre as little as 11 microns in diameter; *South Africa – Mohair goat wool, not as fine as other wools but its structure gives it softness, strength, elasticity (no creases), and unparalleled lustre; *Peru – Vicuna wool, once the exclusive preserve of the Inca emperor, almost hunted to extinction in the 1960s, the ‘princess of the Andes’ produces wool that outranks Musk ox and cashmere. People have used wool in a surprising number of ways for thousands of years, though primarily to keep warm or protect their skin from the sun. The world’s wool-producing societies have deep connections to their animals, and anyone who works with wool holds it in the highest esteem for its beautiful practicality. In Search of the World’s Finest Wools is an excellent choice for tailors, knitters, weavers, rug purchasers, travellers and anyone interested in wool crafts, ethnography and culture.
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