Variety: Latxa wool
Origin of the fibre: Sheep of the Latxa breed.
Origin: Basque Country and Navarre, Spain.
- Smooth and fine fibre.
- Medium length and diameter between 26 and 32 microns.
- Wide variety of natural colours.
- High quality and strength.
- Used for the production of clothing and accessories.
- Traditional and environmentally friendly production.
- Sheep fed mainly on local grass and fodder.
Latxa wool is a type of wool native to the Basque Country and Navarre in Spain, which comes from the Latxa sheep, a breed of sheep native to the area. Latxa wool is characterised by a soft and fine fibre, with a medium length and a diameter between 26 and 32 microns.
Latxa wool is highly valued for its high quality and strength and is mainly used for the production of clothing and accessories. It also comes in various natural colours, ranging from white to black, including shades of brown and grey.
Latxa wool is produced in a traditional and environmentally friendly way, as the sheep graze on natural land and feed mainly on local grass and fodder. This makes Latxa wool a sustainable and responsible choice for consumers looking for high-quality and environmentally friendly products.
HISTORY OF LATXA WOOL
Lacha wool is the natural fibre obtained from the sheep breed of the same name. The Latxas sheep is a species found on the Cantabrian coast that stands out for its long, coarse hair.
This breed is one of the most primitive in Spain and has been used to create the Mexican Chiapas breed. It is present in very specific areas (such as the northwest of Navarre and Alava, and the east of Biscay and Guipuzcoa). It can also be found in France, where it is known as manech.
WHAT ARE ITS ORIGINS?
The name given to this type of wool is quite revealing of its rustic character. As you may have guessed, "lacha" comes from "latxa", a Basque word meaning "vast", in reference to its coarse feel. It is thanks to this roughness and hardness that the sheep were able to withstand the harshness of the Basque climate.
Both the meat and dairy products from these sheep are in great demand due to their high quality.
CHARACTERISTICS OF WOOL
Characteristics of Latxa wool
- Rough feel
- Wool type of Churro origin, with no crossbreeding with the Merino breed.
- Smooth, thick and medullated fibres.
- Smooth and shiny coat.
- Its commercial classification within the Spanish wools includes it in types VII and VIII.
- The fleeces of these sheep stand out for not retaining water and drying very quickly.
- This sheep breed stands out for the great length of its coat, to the point that it almost reaches the ground.
- Uniformly white fleece. This is true of the two varieties of Latxa sheep (blond-faced and black-faced).
- Open fleece, falling on both sides of the spine.
- Ecological fibre: on the one hand, its production is beneficial to the welfare of the sheep. On the other hand, it gives rise to a totally renewable and biodegradable material.
- Versatility: as we shall see, latxa wool can be used for all kinds of purposes, both in the textile industry and in other sectors (e.g. agriculture).
- Resistance: garments made with this fibre are extremely durable, which is why they are considered a living example of slow fashion.
- Very easy to care for: its hardness simplifies maintenance considerably.
- High thermal insulation and optimum breathability.
- Very light and elastic, which makes it very comfortable.
- It repels fire and water, making it very useful for making technical garments.
As the Latxa sheep have to be shorn every year, it is necessary to dispose of their abundant wool production. Ecological and economic reasons make it advisable to transform this waste into a usable resource. This is where artisans and entrepreneurs have come to the fore with their ingenious proposals.
- Natural insulation for the filling of winter workwear (withstands extreme conditions very well). This would replace synthetic fillings commonly used in technical clothing (such as polyester in down jackets).
- Agricultural purposes (compost, biodegradable potting and mulching, fertiliser, etc.).
- Beacon and marking tapes.
- Alternative to the yarn used by 3D printers.
- Balls of wool that can be used to make garments, accessories or handicrafts.
- Haute couture clothing and accessories, especially for the autumn-winter season.
- Much of this wool production is exported to make carpets and rugs.
In addition, it is possible to mix this wool with other fibres to multiply its possibilities even more. In this sense, some projects have managed to increase its softness in order to avoid that the rubbing of this fibre on the skin causing itching.
The plans aimed at revaluing the wool production of the latxas sheep stand out for their environmental sustainability and for boosting the local economy. Moreover, all of them show how versatile these natural fibres are.