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Wool thread is a long, fine cord spun out of multiple fibers of wool. Thicker varieties of wool thread are sometimes called wool yarn. Wool is the fuzzy fur shaved from sheep. This type of thread is used in sewing to make items like clothing and blankets, but it is most often used in embroidery and needle art, where the thread is dyed and used as part of a colorful design. Wool thread can be made from different types of wool, each lending its own unique characteristics to the fabrics made from it.
Types of wool often used in wool thread include Icelandic wool, lamb's wool, and Shetland wool. Though the term can refer to any wool made in Iceland, an island country located near Greenland and Scandinavia, Icelandic wool is generally made up of a combination of coarse and fine wool fibers that give the wool softness and durability. Lamb's wool is usually the first wool shorn from a young lamb. Usually used in warm jackets or rugs, Shetland wool is fleece from a different kind of sheep called a Shetland sheep.
One type of wool thread used in needlework is called tapestry wool, and it is used for embroidery as well as tapestry work. Tapestry differs from embroidery and needlepoint. While embroidery and needlepoint involve stitching a design into an existing material, a tapestry is woven on a vertical loom, an upright weaving tool used for carpet and rug weaving. The base or ground thread that is loaded on the loom for weaving is usually a strong fiber like cotton or linen, and the weaving thread is often a more delicate and attractive fiber like colored silk, cotton, or wool thread. Though many people erroneously refer to decorative hanging embroidered cloths as tapestries, a true tapestry is a fully woven fabric piece that hangs on the wall.
Because weaving a tapestry requires the use of needles to guide the vibrant threads through the base threads, called the warp and weft, used in tapestry works, the art is considered a form of needlework. Other types of needlework include needlepoint and embroidery. Traditionally, needlepoint is done on a canvas base using cotton or wool thread, and the designs are made of a series of counted cross stitch unites, each of which looks like an x. Embroidery is done on a piece of cloth, and allows the application of more free-form stitching than traditional needlepoint.