Well, here's the thing. Sheep's wool is intended as a weatherproof covering. It is designed to stick together and for the fibers to go in multiple directions to prevent the sheep from being impacted by crazy weather changes. Wool also has a good "memory" meaning that the fibers tend to always try to return to their original organization.
|First, it gets carded by hand or machine. Carding is basically running the wool between 2 big brushes to make the fibers lay in the same direction (more or less).|
|Once it has been carded, the wool looks like this. Notice how the fibers are all more or less in a straight line now.|
|Then the fun part-it gets dyed into gorgeous colors! Now it is called roving.|
Now, this characteristic of wool is actually one of the major things that makes it most suitable for diapering! The more the fibers stick together, the more absorbent the diaper cover is, because the fibers will fill in the "holes" that are created with knitting. I typically knit out of roving instead of yarn because this makes the cover more absorbent and "leak proof." However, it also makes it slightly "fuzzier" in appearance as a new cover. A cover knit from yarn will have less initial fuzz, but also more holes and thus a bit less absorbency/will leak sooner. So it kind of depends on what you are wanting! If you are ordering from me, if you prefer yarn over roving, please tell me-I am more than happy to do either!
One thing to know about wool though, is that because of the "memory" that I talked about earlier, ALL items that are made out of wool will fuzz eventually. The more wool content, the more tendency to create that fuzzy effect. Because diapering wool is usually at least 75% wool (preferably 100%), the "fuzz factor" is high! So even items made of wool yarn will eventually look fuzzy (though they will probably nto start out looking that way-that completely depends on the yarn used). The other thing to know, especially if you are considering buying used, is that the fuzz does not show up well in photographs. You kind of have to take an out-of-focus, oddly angled photograph to capture it. I tried to do that this morning so you could kind of see....
|This is what a pair of woolies made from roving looks like from a "top shot"|
|The same pair from that weird side angle-you can probably see the mild fuzz. This is probably a typical amount for the type of roving I usually work with. Of note, these have not been lanolized. The lanolization process does decrease the fuzz.|
|This is my store bought sweater that is 20% wool. I've worn it about 15 times total, I think. You can see the fuzz forming on the bottom, and this sweater was machine knitted from yarn made of 80% cotton and 20% wool.|
|This is the fuzziest/"worst" roving I have ever worked with, so this is about as bad as you can expect it to get.|