Woollen clothes are a gift during harsh winters because the fabric has every necessary feature to protect and comfort people from the weather. Wool types and characteristics vary across the animal their fibres come from.
These types have varying features depending on the animal’s coat’s characteristics. Some wool suit apparel, while some suit knitting and bedding, depending on the fibre’s characteristics. For example, a wool doona will have different wool than a woollen hat or scarf.
There are various wool types available, but a few of them are more common than others. People should know about the common wool types and their appropriate clothing, allowing them to purchase the right apparel or material.
Types of Wool
Each wool has its unique characteristics, but certain similar features apply across wool types. The wool comes from the coats or hairs of animals and is natural fibres. Wool fibres stack in a unique position, allowing for optimal airflow while trapping heat within the fabric.
These fibres also absorb a lot of moisture. Wool fibres come from highland animals like alpacas, sheep, goats, yaks, and the like. Each wool type also comes in varying thickness, owing to the fibre’s characteristics.
The Alpaca Wool
Alpaca wool comes in two primary types, each from a different breed of Alpaca, the Suri and Huacaya Alpaca. Huacaya wool is thicker than Suri and is mostly preferred for knitting and thermal wear. Suri wool being light, is an ideal choice for suits and other high-end apparel.
Alpaca hair is hollow, making it lighter than most wool, but it also retains more warmth than most wool. Alpaca wool also has a soft texture similar to cashmere and is also hypoallergenic, making it an apt choice for beddings like a quilt or wool doona.
The Lamb Wool
Lamb wool or virgin wool comes from the fleece of lambs. A sheep can produce lamb wool only once, as it is its first coat, and this wool yields soft and smooth fibres with hypoallergenic properties. Lamb wool can be quite expensive because of its speciality, virgin fibres, but they produce the softest and most breathable woollen apparel and knits.
The Cashmere Wool
Cashmere wool is known globally for its high-end price tag and quality. Cashmere wool is rare to come by as it requires combing the Cashmere goat’s coat rather than shearing. Traditionally wool comes from shorn fleece, but combing through their coat produces far fewer fibres.
Because of this low yield but high demand, cashmere wool tends to have a higher price than other wool types. Cashmere wool is soft and lustrous, making it ideal for high-end apparel and comfort wear like scarves. It has a high crimp affording its soft and smooth feel.
The Shetland Wool
Shetland wool comes from the fleece of the sheep in the Scottish Shetland Islands, known for its coarse texture but soft feel against the skin. Sheep wool is always an ideal choice for bedding items like a wool doona or a quilt.
This wool comes in the largest variety of colours in sheep wool. This wool produces thick fibres, which makes it an apt choice for knitting. Shetland sheep wool is one of the most globally known authentic and indigenous wool.
The Vicuna Wool
The vicuna wool comes from the Vicuna, a relative of the Alpaca and the Llama. The Vicuna was sacred to the Incas, and even today, the Vicuna population is dwindling, which makes its wool the rarest in the world and the most expensive.
The wool is extremely soft and smooth and reacts adversely to chemicals. Vicuna wool undergoes minimal to no chemical treatment, including dyes, and is left raw.
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