Merino Wool comes from sheep in Australia, New Zealand, and Argentina, who are bred for their dense, insulating wool. Wool fibers are naturally water-resistant so they keep you warm even when wet!
What is merino wool and why should you use it for your next clothing drop?
Merino wool is a type of high-quality sheep’s wool that comes from Australia, New Zealand, and Argentina. If you’re looking for a soft wool material to make a new sweater with but aren’t sure if cotton or polyester would be better, consider trying out merino wool. This eco-friendly material has been bred from sheep specifically for its water-resistant properties and lighter weight.
Merino wool is also super warm without any itchy uncomfortable feeling because the fibers are thin yet packed tightly together which increases heat retention. And unlike other types of wool, no part of the sheep needs to die in order to get their prized fiber.
Why merino wool is a good material to keep you warm in the winter?
Wool fibers are naturally water-resistant, so merino wool can keep you warm even on the coldest winter day. With insulation properties comparable to down, it insulates your body heat better than cotton or synthetic fibers.
Even if it’s wet outside, wearing merino wool won’t make you feel like your clothes are wet and heavy! Another great feature of merino wool is that it has an antibacterial effect.
It contains lanolin which inhibits the growth of bacteria after some time in contact with sweat. There’s no need for a sweater treated with chemicals to prevent odors – just throw your sweater in the washing machine when needed.
What types of clothing work best with merino wool?
Merino wool can be used to make a huge range of items from activewear to bedding. It’s also an ideal material for clothing for winter because it can keep you warm while still breathing and not trapping heat as cotton does.
Merino wool is usually lightweight and thin, so it provides good insulation without making you feel sweaty or damp on warmer days. You can use this versatile material to make sweaters, socks, long underwear, hats, scarves, and even blankets!
What are the different types of merino wool?
There are three main types of merino wool: superfine, fine, and strong. The numbers signify how many fibers were used to spin each thread – the lower the number the thicker the yarn.
Superfine merino wool: Superfine merino is great for extra-lightweight garments.
Fine merino wool: Fine merino wool is thicker than superfine but still lightweight compared to other types of wool. It’s the ideal material for normal-weight garments like tights, socks, pants, jackets, etc.
Strong merino: this type of fiber is best suited for sturdy winter sweaters or other items that will receive a lot of wear and tear!
Merino Wool Benefits:
Merino wool use has many benefits over cotton and synthetic materials Merino wool doesn’t irritate the skin like cotton does because it’s free from sharp spines found on plant stems. The thin fibers are soft and lightweight, yet far more insulating than cotton can ever be. Because it’s a natural fiber and resists odors, no harmful chemicals need to go into merino wool during production.
Wool also requires less energy and water to produce than cotton. It’s naturally flame retardant and doesn’t require any softener or finishes at the mill either! Merino wool is typically machine washable so you can get years of wear out of your garment without doing much work to take care of it.
Unlike other types of wool, sheep aren’t harmed in the harvesting process so it’s an eco-friendly material that’s sustainable for future generations.
There are many benefits to using merino wool instead of cotton for your next winter sweater:
- doesn’t cause an itchy or uncomfortable feeling
- highly insulating without sacrificing breathability
- naturally flame retardant and water-resistant
- resists odors – no need to add chemicals during production
- requires less energy and water than cotton to produce
- merino wool is soft, lightweight, and thin while still providing exceptional insulation.
What materials can be mixed with merino wool?
Some other materials that can be mixed with merino wool include silk, cotton, polyester, spandex, and even hemp!
Merino wool vs normal wool: what’s the difference?
Many people (especially in North America) use “wool” to refer to any type of fiber insulation, but really wool is only one type of animal fiber. Merino wool is different than normal wool, even though it’s made from sheep, like other types of wool! The merino breed produces finer fibers that are softer and lighter than other types of sheep wool.
Merino wool can come from any merino breed – it’s not specific to a certain type of animal-like some other types of wool!
Different breeds produce different thicknesses of yarn, which is why superfine/fine/strong are names that refer specifically to the number of fibers used in each spinning process.
Because merino wool can be made from any type of merino sheep, you may see different breeds referred to as “merino”- just like with other types of wool, there are no standards set in place for naming a certain type of animal breed by the fiber they produce.
For example, Corriedale is another name for superfine or fine merino because it’s known for producing softness and thinness. Delaine Merino is another name for fine/superfine/medium weight merino, so these names are usually used to differentiate between thicknesses of yarn rather than breeds.
Merino sheep have fluffy undercoats that keep them warm during winter months – this down-like material called kemp is removed (and used for pillows and things like that) before spinning yarn.
Merino wool vs cotton: How is merino different?
Cotton is a plant fiber that can be mixed with other fibers to create clothing, but it’s not as insulating as wool. It doesn’t have the ability to absorb or wick away moisture like wool does because it’s made up of larger rounder organic molecules – these organic molecules are less efficient at transporting heat than wool fibers which are thin and flat.
This is why cotton can cause your skin to feel chilly when wet – even though it’s an excellent thermal insulator when dry! Cotton also has sharp spines on stems that irritate skin whereas sheep never need to be sheared in order for their wool to come off. If you’re new to merino wool don’t worry about getting prickled! The soft fibers are attached to the sheep without harming them in any way, just like you would pet your dog or cat.
Cotton is grown all over the world, which causes it to be grown in various climates and conditions (like heavy rain) – this makes cotton production very water-intensive because of how wet the fiber becomes after processing. Cotton requires lots of pesticides and herbicides during growth, more than most plants do.
There are many types of clothing that are made from 100% organic cotton – these clothes are very breathable and actually require less energy to produce than conventional cotton because they relied on fewer harsh chemicals. This is why I’ve featured all-natural fabrics like hemp and organic cotton in my designs, but I still love merino wool for its’s superior moisture management, insulating properties, and breathability!
Merino sheep have two types of coats: a downy undercoat that insulates them from winter colds and a long coarse outer coat. This outer coat is too coarse to wear as clothing so it must be sheared off every once in a while- this doesn’t hurt the sheep though because they don’t have any spines or sharp edges! The soft wool gets attached to the sheep without any harm done, just like you’d pet a dog or cat.
Some breeds of merino sheep produce extremely fine fibers that can be spun into yarn, while others produce stronger and coarser fibers – this is why you get different thicknesses of yarn when spinning merino wool!
When the sheep grow too much fiber for their coats to handle it has to be shorn off by hand using special shears. The soft fibers attach themselves to the sheep without doing any harm at all – just like you’d pet a dog or cat!
Is merino wool expensive?
Generally speaking, merino wool is more expensive than synthetic fibers and fabrics. This is because it requires a lot of intensive manual labor to shear the sheep and clean the wool. To give you an idea- a regular-sized sheep can produce about 13 pounds or 5 kilos of fiber every year!
There are different price ranges for merino wool depending on weight – just like with other fabrics, a lighter yarn will obviously cost less than a thicker one even if they’re both made from 100% superfine merino wool.
In addition, finer grades will be softer but pay attention to what’s been done to the fabric during processing as well! Cleaning and sorting add time and money… After spinning the wool is washed again before being knit into fabric. If it spends less time in the washing machine, that’s less money spent on cleaning. It’s also important to note that fine yarns are usually more expensive when they’re made from 100% merino wool.
Merino wool vs cashmere:
Merino wool is lighter, thinner, more breathable, and less itchy than cashmere (which originates from goats.) If you’re looking for a material that has the same feel as cashmere but won’t cost you an arm and a leg- try merino wool instead!
When softness or itchiness is your priority – go with superwash merino yarn. This means the fabric has been treated to remove lanolin, which is what makes certain fibers like cotton and acrylic cozy warm. Without this coating, the fabric will be much softer, especially when used in sweaters! It’s also good news for people who are allergic to lanolin.
Superwash processed merino is still very high quality when compared to fabrics made from various synthetic fibers – it’s just easier to care for and won’t shrink or fade as easily.