As with many discoveries of early man, the use of wool began with the challenge to survive.
The early men started rearing herds of wool-bearing animals to protect themselves from the cold climate.
The wool of sheep came to be recognized as the most practical to use.
A sheep's body is covered with hair.
Their bodies have two types of hair: rough beard hair and fine under hair.
It's the fine under hair that provides fibers for making wool.
In order to obtain high quality wool, sheep undergo selective breeding.
Where parents are specially chosen to give birth to sheep which have only soft under hair.
Selectively bred sheep are then nurtured.
Shepherds take their herds of sheep for grazing, where they are fed on grass and leaves.
They are also fed on a mixture of pulses, corn, jowar and minerals.
This method of feeding and nurturing of sheep is called rearing.
Once the reared sheep develops a thick layer of hair, it is shaved off.
The hair thus shaved off is then processed to get wool.
Sweaters made of wool give us immense comfort in the winter.
This is because of the wool's property to trap air.
Air is a poor conductor of heat. So heat from our body is trapped within, keeping us warm.
The quality of wool obtained from sheep depends on their breed.
Given above is a table with names of different breeds of wool and their quality.
Apart from sheep, wool can be obtained from other hairy animals.
Yak wool is common in Tibet and Ladakh.
Angora wool is obtained from Angora goats found in Jammu and Kashmir.
The underfur of Kashmiri goats is very soft and is woven into the very famous Pashmina shawls.
The hair on the body of a camel is also used for wool. Llama and Alpaca are two wool-producing camels found in South America.
Wool is naturally obtained from sheep hair.
Soft under hair of the sheep is used for making wool.
Selective breeding is done by specially choosing parents such that they produce offsprings with soft hair.
Different sheep breeds are used to make the wool of different qualities.