Sheep literally gave us the word “stuff”. The word appeared in the 14th century as stof, from the French estoffe, meaning material, particularly that worn under chain mail. Later “stuff” became a specific term used in the wool trade to mean “worsted”. Worsted (which gets its name from the village in Norfolk famous for its community of Flemish weavers) is a wool yarn that is combed rather than carded, to create long parallel fibres, perfect for weaving into men’s suits.
Sheep numbers have halved in 20 years, partly because we are all using less wool. The Campaign for Wool continues to promote the value and versatility of our most natural and hypoallergenic material.