Wool is a textile fibre cultivated from animals such as sheep, goats, alpacas and even camels. These animals are sheared before their wool is spun into yarn.
Each kind of animal provides a different fleece, which creates different kinds of yarn with different characteristics and properties, as you’ll see below.
They each result in knitwear with different textures and traits; knit fabrics typically vary in softness and insulation levels...and of course price.
Most commonly used for socks, scarves, jumpers, and cardigans, as well as in suits and winter coats.
The term ‘wool’ can mean the spun fibres of several animals. But it is commonly used to describe the fibres coming from sheep and goats. Sheep’s wool is warm and provides fantastic insulation for those nippy days.
Wool is a resilient fibre and can last for years when cared for properly. That’s why op shops are always filled with outdated woollen jumpers from the eighties and nineties!
Sheep’s wool can be dyed in the full range of vivid colours. It repels liquid, keeping you dry during those wet days, and can even be fire resistant, although, it’s best not to test this at home!
Most popular for sweaters, children’s clothing, socks, and fine knits.
Lambswool is wool that is sheared off a young sheep for the first time at the age of 7 months. As this is its first coat, it is particularly fine. It’s perfect for knitwear that sits close to the skin as it feels luxuriously soft.
Lambswool is a very high quality wool, therefore doesn’t need much processing. Being a type of sheep’s wool, lambwool shares most traits mentioned above, while being softer.
Merino wool is often used for jumpers, cardigans, thermal layers, activewear, scarves, gloves and other accessories.
The finest grade of wool comes from Merino sheep. It is prized as the best wool as it is extremely soft against your skin.
Merino knitwear can be worn throughout winter and into the warmer months as it works as insulation against the cold or heat. This trait makes merino wool excellent for activewear, as it will keep you toasty when you’re running out the door, and be breathable as you start to heat up.
Most commonly used for scarves, socks, jumpers, cardigans and jacket linings.
Alpaca wool is a hypoallergenic alternative to classic sheep’s wool as it lacks lanolin. It is also softer and more durable as well as being much warmer.
Often used for sweaters, faux fur, blankets, scarves and other woollen accessories.
Mohair is the wool from an Angora goat. This kind of goat produces hair that is long and silky.
Mohair is quite textural, luxurious and soft. It is often used to create an animal friendly fur and can be dyed a myriad of vibrant colours without the risk of fading.
Most commonly used for cardigans, sweaters, shawls, and lightweight summer clothing.
One of the most popular and prized wools, cashmere is best known for its amazingly soft feel. It comes from a goat referred to as the Cashmere goat, but called Capra Hircus Laniger.
The undercoat is used to create this fine cashmere wool. It is considered a premium wool, due to a limited supply.
Acrylic wool is used for affordable wardrobe items, jumpers, cardigans, sweaters and accessories.
Acrylic wool is made from artificial materials. It imitates wool in some ways, in that it does not absorb water, it is warm and can be very soft.
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