Woolbed

Ingun Grimstad Klepp, Kirsi Laitala and Tone Skårdal Tobiasson

Summary

We have studied Norwegian and Swedish consumers’ experiences and perceptions related to using wool in bedlinen and sleepwear. We have used a variety of research methods including a web-based survey, qualitative interviews, a material test where informants commented various fabric samples, as well as user trials where informants tested sleeping in merino bedlinen and sleepwear. Informants were positively curious about bedding in wool. It appears that the change in use of wool follows a pattern where one context or setting is used as a springboard into a new setting. Important springboards among informants are; dressing their own babies in wool, next-to-skin underwear in sports, and tradition and handicrafts related to wool. Differences between Norway and Sweden are apparent in a different relationship to wool and to bedlinen. The market for woollen underwear is growing in Sweden and the differences between the two countries can thus be expected to decrease. Barriers related to hygiene, heat regulation, structure and softness are important in consumers’ thoughts about a wool-bed.

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Wool is a knitted fabric that itches, isn’t it?

Marie Hebrok and Ingun Grimstad Klepp

Abstract

In this article, we explore in what ways consumers’ preconceptions of wool influence their ability to recognize it as a fabric. Do we know that it is wool because it itches, or, conversely, does it itch because we think that it is wool? The analysis builds on three different methods; wardrobe studies, sample tests and interviews, in order to explore both informants’ visual senses, and also applied tactile senses. It aims to bring together social science and textile technology methodologies and understanding in order to understand the properties of wool. It does this through adopting a multisensory understanding of the material. The research aimed to explore the associations with and experiences of wearing wool. This, we argue is as important as the senses in the process of identifying woollen fibres. The research found that the strongest influences in fabric identification were: perceptions of use, fabric type and fibres, colour, structure patterns and the ‘feel’ of the fabric.

Click here to access the article (ingentaconnect.com).

Valuing Norwegian Wool

Marie Hebrok, Ingun Grimstad Klepp, Tone S. Tobiasson, Kirsi Laitala, Marit Vestvik & Madeline Buck

Summary

Wool has been called the white gold and has warmed and brought joy to the Norwegian population throughout history. It is also a textile fibre with many unused features. The starting point of the project Valuing Norwegian Wool is a desire to help Norwegian agriculture, wool based industry, and design to exploit the potential inherent in Norwegian wool as raw material, and in the Norwegian textile tradition. Norway has a thriving textile industry and several strong companies that produce products made of wool. The marketing of the origin of the raw material these products are produced from is however rather inadequate and sometimes misleading. While fewer and fewer of the products are made of Norwegian wool, consumers – not without reason – take it for granted that Norwegian producers use Norwegian wool.

The project is funded by the Norwegian Research Council and led by SIFO. The project partners include representatives from the entire value chain – from agricultural organizations, industry and commerce, and design and consumption. This report is one of many publications in the project and makes visible the challenges that exist in the value chain, but also the great potential that is there.

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Potential of Woolen Materials in Health Care

Kirsi Laitala, Ingun Grimstad Klepp, Marit Kjeldsberg & Kjersti Eilertsen

Paper

Abstract

Woolen textiles may have more potential use areas within the health care than what they are used for today. They have many benefits such as being self-extinguishing, flexible, and having high isolation as well as moisture absorption properties. While absorbing moisture it releases heat, and as the evaporation rate is slow, woolen materials do not give a rapid chill that some other faster drying materials have. Therefore wool can hold lot of moisture before feeling wet. Due to wool’s potential to shrink in wash, the challenge has been how to wash wool to get it clean enough for health care use. Laboratory experiments were designed in order to see woolens’ tolerance to different washing treatments, as well as their properties related to soil repellence and stain removal.

The results showed that wool tolerates to be cooked without causing additional felting shrinkage, as well as spin dried at high velocity (at least 1400 rpm), as long as there is no mechanical action that could cause the fibers to get entangled. Therefore, the acceleration and slowing-down phases of spin-drying program have to be rapid, so that the centrifugal forces will keep the garments trapped in place against the walls of the drum. Especially untreated woolen fabrics showed good soil repellence against water based soils, as the outer layer of woolen materials is hydrophobic. However, if the staining occurred it was more difficult to get wool clean than synthetic fabrics. Cotton got even more soiling, but it tolerates more efficient washing and detergents than wool does. Wool has potential to replace some of the materials that are more commonly used in health care today, such as cotton, polyester and polyamide, and improve the use properties without compromising the hygiene. The frequent washing of textiles cause wear and tear, creates extra work as well as environmental consequences. Woolen products are washed less frequently than products mare of other fibers. Therefore, an increase in the use of wool can be a way to reduce washing frequency.

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