Merino wool is a type of wool that comes from the merino breed of sheep. The Merino sheep, one of the oldest breeds in the world, produces a type of wool known as merino wool, which is widely used, luxurious, and all-natural.
It is known for being soft, fine, and highly breathable, making it a popular choice for clothing, particularly for use in activewear and base layers. Merino wool is also moisture-wicking, meaning it helps to keep the skin dry by drawing sweat away from the body.
It is also naturally odor-resistant, making it a good choice for clothing that may be worn for extended periods of time without being washed. Merino wool is typically finer and softer than other types of wool, and it is also more expensive due to the high demand for the fibers. It is often used in a range of clothing and accessories, including socks, tops, sweaters, and hats.
There is no doubt that wool is one of the most versatile materials on earth, and Merino wool is one of the most precious. The Merino sheep breed is primarily found in Australia or New Zealand, where they can survive in a wide range of climatic conditions and tolerate temperatures ranging from minus 20 and 35 degrees Celsius.
Merino wool is more comfortable to wear next to the skin because it is softer and thinner than normal wool. Additionally, there are numerous advantages to wearing wool next to your skin.
The Origins of Merino Wool
Over the past few decades, Merino sheep have been most prominently recognized and bred in Australia and New Zealand. However, the Merino sheep has its roots in Spain in the 12th century. For centuries, these sheep were bred in southwestern Spain, contributing to the country’s economy. Spain had exclusive control over the trade of merino wool.
In 1797, Merino sheep were brought to Australia. Selective breeding of the ewes in Australia over the years catalyzed an even premium version of wool called ‘Australian Merino’.
Fine merino wool is also reared on the South Island of New Zealand, in addition to Australian Merino. Furthermore, in addition to Australian Merino, the South Island of New Zealand also produces exquisite merino wool.
Merino Wool Fabric Characteristics
Merino wool’s combination of affordability and luxury, as well as its strength and durability, makes it highly coveted. Merino sheep are the source of Merino wool. In addition to being extremely absorbent, merino wool is water-resistant and provides insulation, making it an ideal choice for base layers in cold weather. Depending on the production method, merino wool fabric can be both soft and comfortable or scratch-resistant and sturdy. There are numerous grades of merino wool, and ultra-fine merino wool is good for combining with silk or cashmere.
Merino Wool Qualities
Merino wool is a fine and soft wool that typically has a diameter of less than 24 microns (μm). The staple length is usually between 65-100 mm. The Saxon Merino breed produces about 3-6 kg of greasy wool per year, while a good quality Peppin Merino ram can produce up to 18 kg. There are five basic types of Merino wool, which are distinguished by their diameter: strong (broad) wool (23-24.5 μm), medium wool (21-22.9 μm), fine wool (18.6-20.9 μm), superfine wool (15-18.5 μm), and ultra-fine wool (11.5-15 μm).
There are several characteristics that make merino wool fabric unique:
- Softness: Merino wool is known for being extremely soft, making it comfortable to wear against the skin.
- Breathability: Merino wool is highly breathable, meaning it allows air to flow through it easily. This makes it a good choice for activewear and base layers, as it helps to regulate body temperature and keep the skin dry.
- Moisture-wicking: Merino wool is moisture-wicking, meaning it absorbs and transports sweat away from the skin. This helps to keep the skin dry and comfortable.
- Odor resistance: Merino wool naturally resists odors, which makes it an excellent choice for clothing that people can wear for extended periods without washing.
- Wrinkle resistance: Merino wool resists wrinkles, which means it maintains its shape and appearance even after you wear it or wash it.
- Durability: Merino wool is a strong and durable fabric, and it can withstand repeated wear and washing without losing its shape or quality.
- Hypoallergenic: Merino wool is hypoallergenic, meaning it is less likely to irritate sensitive skin or cause allergic reactions.
- Temperature regulation: Merino wool is able to regulate body temperature, keeping the wearer warm in cold weather and cool in warm weather. It is also able to absorb and release moisture, helping to maintain a comfortable temperature and humidity level.
How is Merino Wool Fabric is Made?
Farmers shear Merino sheep to harvest their wool without causing any harm to them. Workers clean and sort the raw wool into different grades. They card the wool into long thin strands and spin it before loading it onto reels to prepare it for weaving.
The process of making merino wool fabric involves several steps:
The first step in the production of merino wool fabric is to harvest the fibers from the sheep. This is done through a process called shearing, which involves carefully cutting the fibers from the sheep’s skin using specialized shears.
After shearing the fibers, we clean them to remove dirt, debris, and other contaminants. We use a combination of mechanical and chemical processes.
We clean the fibers and sort them by quality, length, and color to ensure that they are consistent in terms of their characteristics. This is important for producing high-quality fabric.
The next step in the process is to prepare the fibers for spinning by separating them and aligning them in the same direction. This is done using a machine called a card, which consists of two cylinders covered in fine wire teeth that comb the fibers into a web.
Once you card the fibers, you can spin them into yarn. You can use a spinning machine to twist the fibers together and create a continuous strand of yarn.
Weaving or Knitting
Once you spin the yarn, you can use it to produce fabric. You can accomplish this by weaving the yarn, which involves interlacing it with another set of yarns to create a fabric. Alternatively, you can knit the yarn, which involves looping it together to create a fabric.
After the fabric has been woven or knitted, it undergoes a finishing process to give it the desired appearance and characteristics. This may involve washing, drying, pressing, and other processes to soften the fabric, remove any remaining impurities, and give it the desired texture and drape.
Overall, the process of making merino wool fabric involves several steps, including shearing, cleaning, sorting, carding, spinning, weaving or knitting, and finishing. These steps are necessary to transform the raw fibers into a high-quality fabric that is soft, fine, and highly breathable.
The competitive advantage of Merino fabric is its organic, renewable, and biodegradable features. This fabric is revolutionising the fashion business thanks to its advantages of sustainability and high-quality construction.
Cashmere vs Merino Wool: What Is the Difference?
Cashmere and merino are two of the world’s softest and most royal wool fabrics. They are employed in similar ways to create socks, sweaters, and other cold-weather items. But what distinguishes cashmere from merino, if you’re thinking of buying clothing manufactured from one of these materials?
Merino is more resilient, less expensive, and a little bit simpler to maintain, but Cashmere tends to be a little bit softer and warmer. The main distinction between the two textiles is that Merino is made from the wool of a Merino sheep, whilst Cashmere is made from the hair of a Cashmere goat. They are both pricey, breathable, moisture-wicking materials.
Cashmere vs Merino Wool: Which One is Better? Comparison:
Wool circulates air to keep animals cool, warm, or dry according to the season. Therefore, people generally consider it to be one of the most breathable materials. Cashmere and merino are highly breathable varieties of wool. People recognize them as such.
However, since cashmere’s strands are a bit finer and can produce a thinner fabric, it would have to be the more breathable option. Merino tends to be more breathable than other kinds of sheep’s wool, which can often feel stuffy, but does not come close to cashmere’s permeability. When compared to fleece, which is wool crafted from synthetic materials like polyester, cashmere and merino are both highly breathable.
Since they frequently need special care, many people believe that cashmere and Merino are delicate materials. This is only partially accurate because, if properly cared for, they can both last for a very long time.
The fact that cashmere and Merino are both flame-resistant and can self-extinguish if they catch fire is one of their strongest durability traits. However, both of them tend to shrink and can get deformed if you don’t wash and dry them properly.
Merino wool, though, tends to be a little more durable because its fibres aren’t as finely spun as cashmere. Merino offers a few more uses than Cashmere as its fibres are slightly stronger.
The textures of cashmere and merino are quite similar. Although cashmere and merino wool are among the softest available, cashmere is slightly softer than merino due to its finer and thinner fibres. Merino wool is the softest variety of wool, but it can be hard and unpleasant for some people, especially those with wool allergies.
Merino and cashmere are both warm fabrics that are mostly used for winterwear. Both provide excellent insulation for the wearer, but because cashmere’s fibres are softer and thinner than Merino’s, it generally keeps the wearer an extra warmer.
Merino frequently provides a decent degree of warmth without becoming uncomfortable. Additionally, due to its endurance, it can be used to create various fabrics and apparel items for which cashmere is not often appropriate. Merino is warmer than other kinds of sheep’s wool due to its softness.
Wool is one of the greatest materials if you want something that has a high capacity to drain away moisture because it is made to keep animals dry, warm, and comfortable. As a result, Merino and cashmere both have a propensity to dry fast and are excellent at wicking away moisture.
Both fabrics can become saturated if they get sufficiently wet, making it difficult to conclude which one is superior based just on its capacity to wick away moisture. Cashmere, however, may offer a little edge in being more moisture-wicking because it is a little more breathable.
Both merino and cashmere are commonly woven materials. The majority of woven materials lack significant stretch. They both have a moderate degree of stretch, and if not taken care of properly, they both risk losing their shape.
Knitted merino is more stretchy than woven merino wool as well as Cashmere since the latter is typically woven and only very infrequently knit.
Easy to Care For
If you want to keep your cashmere and Merino wool in their finest condition, you must give them both extra care. Merino requires less maintenance because it is more resilient, but if you aren’t careful, both are prone to shrinkage.
Both cashmere and Merino are frequently used for garments in cold climates due to their warmth and softness. Merino has a wider range of applications, whereas cashmere is more delicate. But some of the most popular uses for cashmere include the creation of socks, hats, gloves, scarves, and sweaters, none of which are generally subject to a lot of wear and tear.
Although still soft and warm, merino is a little more resilient. Its strength makes it useful for creating a wider range of clothes, especially outdoor apparel that undergoes greater wear and tear. Merino wool can be used to make sweaters, stockings, suit jackets, thermal apparel, and even blankets.
Making clothing from premium Cashmere fibre alone is highly expensive since the fibre is both rare and precious. Not everyone can afford 100% pure Cashmere apparel. Hence comparatively less expensive Merino wool is blend with Cashmere fibre to reduce the cost of the clothing. With this quality of blend, the end products are not only affordable but also have a quality similar to Cashmere.
Merino offers a superior choice when it comes to price, as it provides a wide range of alternatives for garment kinds, construction, and use, while being reasonably priced. Because of the aforementioned factors, cashmere is relatively pricey.
The higher the grade and the finer the fibre, the more expensive the clothing will be, regardless of whether the fibre is Merino or Cashmere.
‘Cashmere Merino’: Merino Wool Blend with Cashmere
Cashmere Merino is a fabric made by blending premium cashmere fiber with merino fiber. This combination results in increased durability and improved overall performance. Typically, Cashmere Merino is composed of 25% cashmere and 75% merino fibers, making it a warmer and softer fabric due to the unique characteristics of both fibers.
With 25% softest, most exquisite cashmere, it is incredibly soft and supple. This fabric contains 75% extra fine merino wool, making it more durable and affordable than pure cashmere, and much softer than pure merino wool.
Cashmere Merino is a wonderful yarn for just about everything and everyone, gentle for babies and sensitive skin and toasty warm for winter weather.