Searching for a perfect wool what you will find out from the text below:

1. What kind of wools do I use in my works and what are their properties?

2. How to care for your woolen product?

Sheep to sheep is uneven - that is - the origin and properties of wool

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The influence of an animal origin on the quality of a fiber

Not everyone knows that the properties of a wool differ not only depending on the species of animals, but also on their breed, country and grazing conditions. All yarns that I knit from, it is: sheep wool, alpaca and merino wool come from small local farms in the uplands of Peru (more about Peruvian inbreedings).

Due to natural conditions close to the primeval ones, over 2,000 m above sea level, the cover of these animals is at the same time delicate and adapts to the large daily temperature amplitude, that is, moderately warm days and very cold nights.

Up to down: chunky and normal peruvian wools, merino wool, alpaca wool

Wool from a Peruvian sheep, bulky spun

A sheep

Chunky Peruvian sheep wool

This unusual wool comes from Peruvian sheep, a combination of Corriedale and Merino sheep, which has very long and soft hair. It is not easy to get such a thick yarn, because its skeins are usually made much thinner – as they are more efficient in knitting, lighter and cheaper. However, whoever touches such a chunky and fluffy material wants to wear it soon, which is why this wool is the number 1 in my offer.

The fiber of this particular wool has only been twisted once (it does not consist of clearly visible threads, it is more like worsted wool), so you have to take special care of it so that it does not pill. Sheep wool has remarkable thermoregulatory properties that are the result of the construction of the fiber itself, that creates insulating airbags and thanks to the fact that the wool has to absorb water in the amount of 1/3 of its weight, before a person waering it will feel damp. What is more, natural good quality wool wicks sweat away without causing overheating. Loosely entwined works better than a thick-knit fabric.

For these reasons, wool is great for winter and thermoactive clothing.

Thin Peruvian sheep wool
It comes from the same sheep as the chunky Peruvian wool. It is its thinner equivalent, allowing for knitting more complicated patterns that would be less visible on a fluffy wool. This wool is less delicate in the touch.

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The main advantages of Peruvian wool:

  • breathable, the man does not sweat in it
  • it protects well against cold and adapts to body temperature in the warmth
  • it will not let moisture in before it absorbs more than 30% of its weight, which increases its thermal insulation properties
  • soft (the chunky wool more); it is a real wool that is not eachy
  • flexible and durable
  • tolerates dyeing well, that’s why the skeins come in many colors
  • does not absorb odors – wool may not be washed even the whole life, then it will retain the most of its original properties
  • contains lanolin, which strengthens its protective properties
  • has bacteriostatic properties, otherwise called “self-cleaning” – bacteria do not multiply on it and fiber does not accept bad smells.

Alpaca wool

Colors of alpacas

Alpaca wool

Alpaca lives in South America. It comes from vicunia or guanaco. It is three times lighter than a lama, with which it is often confused (the lama is taller and has longer, curved ears in the shape of bananas). Very resilient and adaptable to extremely difficult living conditions in the high mountain area, which is characterized by very cold nights and warm days. Its wool is light, extremely soft and airy. Though delicate, it protects against cold 3 times stronger than sheep’s wool.

Alpaca is divided into two breeds – fluffy, cloud-like, hyacaya and long-haired suri. It is grown not only for wool, but also for alpacotherapy due to the gentle nature, ease of training (reacts to commands and names) and therapeutic impact on people, helping people with depression or various disorders.

These animals naturally occur in 22 colors – from white, through beige and brown to black and in mixtures of these colors. Alpaca’s wool does not dye as well as sheep’s wool, which is why yarns usually appear in natural colors with small variations (like powder pink or navy blue).

Yarns from alpacas, are the most delicate, thinnest and softest fibers, from which I knit. They are twisted from three thin threads. In nature alpacas live exclusively in parts of South America, which is why their wool is a rare good, considered to be luxurious. They do not contain lanolin, which sensitizes some people, so they have hypoallergenic properties. They are especially recommended for clothing and accessories for babies and children.

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The main advantages of alpaca wool:

  • hypoallergenic
  • several times warmer than sheep’s wool, even if the fiber is thinner
  • several times more durable than sheep’s wool
  • extremely soft, ideal for clothing and blankets for babies and children and for filling bedding
  • breathable, wicks sweat away
  • does not absorb odors
  • occurs in beautiful natural colors
  • like sheep’s wool, it protects against moisture
  • it has short bristles, so it is nice for the skin, it is not eachy
  • has bacteriostatic properties, otherwise called “self-cleaning” – bacteria do not multiply on it and it does not absorb bad smells.

Merino wool

Merino sheep

Merino wool

Merino is one of the oldest and largest sheep species, adapted to live in extreme mountain conditions in which a normal sheep would not survive. Merinos have characteristic horns twisted into a circle and very thick, long, wind-fluttering fur. Similarly to alpacas, natural cover protects them against strong frosts in winter, and in the summer the wool breaths so does not lead to overheating.

Merino wool outstands by its exceptional softness. It is a highly valued kind of yarn.

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The main advantages of merino wool:

  • Merino SUPERWASH wool can be machine washed in a wool program, which makes life easier, especially for parents of young children
  • it has soft fiber like alpaca
  • its fiber does not scratch; very good wool for clothing and blankets for babies and children
  • warmer than sheep’s wool
  • difficult to get dirty due to natural fats
  • breathable, wicks sweat away
  • has bacteriostatic properties, otherwise called “self-cleaning” – bacteria do not multiply on it and it does not accept bad smells.

How to care for woolen products?

wash

WASHING / CLEANING:

  • One of the advantages of pure wool is that it does not absorb bad smells and has self-cleaning properties (besides strong stains) – it is recommended to ventilate the woolen product instead of washing, so as not to interfere in its natural properties.
  • SUPERWASH merino wool (information on each product) can be machine washed using a wool program and a specific detergent for wool.
  • Other wool if it is necessary to wash:
    • Soak in lukewarm water with a small amount of detergent for wool
    • Gently knead
    • After a few minutes, rinse out kneading in lukewarm water
    • Do not wring
    • Do not rub
    • Remove excess water by rolling into a towel
    • Dry flat shaping the form, i.e. best spread flat on a towel
    • Do not iron
  • OR DRY CLEAN.
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STORAGE:

  • Do not hang heavy woolen clothes on a hanger so that they do not deform
  • Do not hold them in a squash, wool likes to breathe
  • Wool liked by clothes moths. You can defend against them with the scent of lavender, but above all, wind your clothes after prolonged wear and do not hold them in a squash.

About me

I love alpacas, thanks to which I got to know not only unusual animals with therapeutic properties, but also the highest quality wool.

One day I decided I wanted to set up my own alpaca-house near Warsaw.

After completing the course “Breeding and raising alpacas in practice”, I chose that in the first step to achieve this goal, I would make people aware of the qualities of wool. I would start writing about it, knitting and selling products from Peruvian yarn in my own store.

I invite you to my e-shop, following my blog, and one day to my dream alpaca-house!

Read more

If you are interested in this text and want to learn more about knitting or alpacas, I invite you to my blog.

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