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Re: [BKARTS] "Cotton" vs "wool"

My OED has the following definitions for "wool" (paraphrased):
1 - fine soft hair from the fleece of sheep, goats, etc.
2 - (a) yarn and (b) cloth or clothing made from (1)
3 - any of various wool-like substances
4 - soft short under-fur or down
5 - (colloquialism) a person's hair especially when short and curly

Fibre arts or not, either side of the Pond, as soon as the word "wool"
is prefixed with a noun that names another substance it is understood to
be referring to definition (3). In such cases the other substance named
is assumed to be the material and the word "wool" merely refers to its
being in the form of loose unspun fibres. Several examples come to mind,
including steel wool, cotton wool (aka cotton batting), and rockwool (a
thermal insulation similar to glass fibre).

In a similar vein, although "floss" when unqualified strictly refers to
silk fibres (again, according to my OED), we have "candy floss" and
"dental floss".

As for the colour change, it sounds to me like phenolphthalein, which is
colourless in acid and neutral conditions and bright pink or purple in
alkaline conditions. I would not be able to explain what it's doing
there, though.
-Kevin Martin
 the Papertrail 

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Book_Arts-L [mailto:BOOK_ARTS-L@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx] On Behalf Of
Linda M. Cunningham
> >I've got a batch of snow-white cotton wool in the lab that 
> turns bright 
> >pink when in contact with deacidifying solution...
> <delurk> It may be different in the book world, but in the 
> fibre world, there is a huge discrepancy in your statement: 
> "cotton" and "wool" are two very diverse creatures.  Cotton 
> is a plant fibre, and wool is a protein fibre: they each 
> react quite differently to pH-tinged things like tape.  If 
> everything has changed colour in your sample, then you either 
> have cotton or wool, not "cotton wool."

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