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“We have given you, O Adam, no visage proper to yourself, nor endowment properly your own, in order that whatever place, whatever form, whatever gifts you may, with premeditation, select, these same you may have and possess through your own judgement and decision […] We have made you a creature neither of heaven nor of earth, neither mortal nor immortal as the free and proud shaper of your own being, fashion yourself in the form you may prefer.”
Oration on the Dignity of Man – Giovanni Pico della Mirandola

The wool under the microscope

published on 12.12.2019

Wool is a natural tissue produced by some mammals. Humans generally take advantage of sheep. In the Iberian Peninsula, the two best known sheep breeds are churra and merina. The first is very good at producing meat and milk, while the second is a good wool producer. If we mixed both races we would obtain a mediocre sheep that would not produce good meat, good milk, or good wool, hence the popular saying “do not mix churras with merinas”. In Catalonia we also have a good native wool producer: the xisqueta. But there are wool from other origins, such as angora wool, obtained from a rabbit, cashmere wool, from a goat or alpaca wool, from a South American camelid. They are very valuable and exclusive wool. Its comfort and heat capacity is due to the microscopic structure of the fiber. The smaller the diameter, the better. With the use of electron microscopy it has been known that angora and cashmere are very thin (15-16 microns), followed by merino (17-18 microns) and alpaca (20 microns). However, the best wool in the world is obtained from the vicuña (12-14 microns), a wild South American camelid from which the alpaca comes. The Incas already reserved it for royalty. If we want to shelter like a king we should choose wool, from a kind of llama.

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