The colder weather has certainly ramped up over the last few weeks. Our go-to clothing relies on lots of layers and thick knits to keep us toasty. So, we thought it would be handy to create a woollen guide for you. We hope this helps you decide which knit blends are best for keeping you warm and if you find wool to be a little irritating (yes, people are sensitive to wool)- there are several knits for you to choose too!
Cashmere is a wool obtained from cashmere goats and other types of goat. The fibres for cashmere are fine, soft and bumpy- meaning the fibres cling to each other and not stick out which therefore don’t irritate the skin. Meaning it’s great for hyper sensitivity.
The downfall though. Cashmere is super expensive. And it’s expensive because it takes several goats to create a single jumper. Because of this, it’s in short supply yearly and as such, costs a lot to make (especially if it’s being imported as it often is), therefore costing a lot to buy.
In addition to the comfort factor, an additional benefit of cashmere is the warmth it gives. It is eight times warmer than sheep’s wool, is generally lighter (so no need for lots of weighty layers to stay warm) and if you take loving care of it, it’ll last you years (up to 30!).
We’d recommend avoiding over washing, following cleaning instructions explicitly and if storing, make sure you store it in natural bags like cotton to allow the fabric to breathe. Because of these properties, it’s probably worth the additional expense.
Something to be weary of: If you’re looking at a cashmere item that has a price that’s too good to be true. You can bet it’s not genuine, the quality won’t be great and/or worse still, there’s been a bit of mistreatment.
Much like cashmere, Alpaca wool is regarded as soft and luxurious; often compared to silk for its texture and strength. But it’s tougher, more resilient and arguably more durable.
It can be lightweight or heavy, depending on the composition of the garment; meaning that wherever you go, you’re sure to find an alpaca garment to suit the conditions. Additionally, it’s naturally water-repellent – something we need to be conscious of also this time of year.
Additionally, if you’re looking for hypo-allergenic, Alpaca is another great resource. It’s absent Lanolin (a grease bi-product that comes from wool-bearing animals; known for hydrating properties) which many people are allergic to; making Alpaca wool an excellent choice.
For all these reasons and more, Alpaca wool is a costly option. But you’re likely to find it cheaper than cashmere and there will be plenty of blended variations. However, if you can get pure Alpaca wool, it is seemingly worth the price.
Mohair fibre comes from the Angora goat (not to be confused with angora wool).
It is a silk-like fabric that has a silky sheen to it and jumpers/other garments with this material look and feel great initially but if you’re sensitive you may find it quite irritating to wear. You’ll only know really when you’ve been wearing it for some time. If you find your quite sensitive to some materials or products generally, we’d say to steer clear as it’s probably not worth the expense.
If you have a high tolerance for wool though, Mohair is durable and will keep you warm. Additionally, it is naturally elastic and crease resistant.
As for price point. It falls somewhere between angora wool and sheep’s wool. It’s a bit more expensive than sheep’s wool but if you don’t find it irritating, it’s well worth spending that little bit extra for those extra benefits.
When you see wool on a label and aren’t sure what it is, you’re most likely to be looking at sheep’s wool. Sheep’s wool is no doubt warming, durable, water resistant and cost effective (it’s one of the cheaper solutions out there); but you’re also likely to find it super itchy (depending on your use for it, of course!).
There are chances it’s been treated- like the wool you’ll commonly find used for boots and lining of jackets etc. but if you find it in high quantities within a jumper, you may find it a little uncomfortable.
When it comes to any wool product, always look for further information; buy local wherever possible so you can ensure that it has been sourced ethically and what treatment it has undergone. Be sure to find out the density of the fibres and pay close attention to how their woven. If they stick out, you may find it irritating to the skin. We’d also recommend looking for wool blends to help bring the cost down, but look for a higher quality natural material to get the best results and longevity from your clothing.