Everything there is to know about merino wool

Published on 28 May 2021 3 min read

Merino wool yarn is an amazingly versatile animal fibre. Wondrously soft to touch (goodbye prickly jumpers!), temperature regulating and odor-eliminating - is there anything this incredible fibre can’t do? Discover why this amazing knitting and crochet yarn is a top choice for makers and learn top tips for how to care for your merino wool garments!

So, what is merino wool?

Merino wool is an especially soft and fine natural fibre produced by merino sheep. Wool is made of proteins, which includes a combination of natural compounds and amino acids. This also means that 100% merino wool is biodegradable and planet-friendly. Yipee!

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So, what is special about merino wool?

Merino wool fibres are especially fine compared to other wools, making it gentler on the skin than other wool blends. It’s a myth that all wool is an allergen as studies have shown that superfine merino wool is actually less of an irritant than other fibres (including cotton!). If you do find yourself having a reaction to wool, merino or merino-blended yarns might be the answer. 

Is merino wool itchy? 

If you experience sensitivity to wool in general, maybe it’s time to give merino a go!

Symptoms such as itchy eyes, a cough or body rash may mean you’re allergic to wool. Some studies believe that this is due to lanolin, which is the natural grease, or ‘wool wax’, that’s found in the wool-producing animals, including merino sheep. If this is the case, why not try an acrylic yarn as a substitute?

Does merino wool help regulate body temperature? 

Unlike other wools, merino wool fibres are smaller, finer and have a unique crimp texture which has the amazing ability to help regulate your body temperature.

The porous composition of merino fibre makes this wonder wool both breathable and insulating. Air gets ‘trapped’ between the fibres to keep you warm in the cold winter months, while in the summer, these same fibres trap and divert sweat vapour, diverting it away from the body to keep you cool and dry. 

This incredible adaptability, makes merino particularly good for baby blankets and outdoor sweaters, for those who love adventures!

Can merino wool help eliminate odors?

Merino wool has the amazing ability to trap and release odors that are produced by bacteria. It just keeps getting better!

Thanks to its odor-eliminating and breathable properties, merino wool garments can go for months without washing. We’re not kidding! This fibre is super low maintenance.

How to wash your merino wool garments?

While it’s widely suggested that merino wool can be popped in the washing machine, for best results we always advise checking the care instructions found on your ball band for the safest, most effective method to keep your merino garments clean. Handwashing with a mild detergent is a great method to make sure your merino stays in tip-top condition! 

Read Our Guide to Handwashing Your Knitting

How to dry your merino wool garments?

After washing, dry flat on top of a towel, occasionally flipping over until your garment is completely dry to keep the shape of your garment intact. Whatever you do, don’t tumble dry your merino wool! This can alter the shape and damage your garment.

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