Best Guide to Wool Types?

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Best Guide to Wool Types?

Post by ZombieKraft » Fri May 06, 2011 10:04 pm

I'm stocking up on my wool garments (mostly Pendleton, Eddie Bauer & Duluth stuff right now). I've noticed a huge variety in characteristics of the wool. Pendleton wool is very stiff and can be itchy on the skin (especially if new). The Merino Wool from Eddie Bauer is incredibly soft, comes in very thin weights and is by far the most expensive wool per weight. The Duluth lambswool is pretty darn soft and it seems you get very thick amounts at a good price (at least when the items are on sale).

Now I know lambswool is the first 50mm of the fleece produced during the first 7 months of a sheeps life. What I don't understand is the advantages and disadvantages to the various types. Is the thicker and scratchier Pendleton stuff longer wearing or more durable? Is the softer fleece warmer? If so by how much? How do those two wools compare to the Merino? I know Merino is supposed to be top of the line but I don't know why and how much of a difference it really makes (other than softness).



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Re: Best Guide to Wool Types?

Post by Indiana » Fri May 06, 2011 10:29 pm

The quality of wool comes down to the width of the fibres. Merino is very fine wool generally under 24 microns. this means it isnt rough. I dont know a lot about it but wiki has pages on wool quality

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Re: Best Guide to Wool Types?

Post by Resolute » Thu May 12, 2011 7:30 am

Merino and Rambouillet are both among the top fiber producing sheep. Like Indiana said, this is mainly due to the diameter of the wool. Generally speaking, the smaller diameter of wool, the softer it feels. This is partly why Merino wool is not nearly as itchy.

Other wools are more like hair than fluff, in layman's terms. They have ends that make you itch. Think of your neck after a haircut.

To be honest, I'm not sure if there's a great difference in warmth. That more depends on the knit. Stockinette would produce more warmth than, say, a lace pattern; a 2x2 rib would be stretchy but would bulk up the garment a bit more. Thicker yarns end up with a bulkier product than thinner yarns. Etc etc etc.

For a good wool guide that gives you a primer on all different types of fiber, check out this from Sierra Trading Post...

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