WHAT IS LAMBS WOOL: Lamb’s wool is the soft wool from first shearing of baby lambs, usually before they are 8 months old and are the highest quality of sheep’s wool. It’s very fine and soft and requires minimal processing. Different textures and feel come from the different varieties breeds of sheep.
WHAT IS CASHMERE? Cashmere goats make the soft and warm undercoat of cashmere wool. These rough coated goats are raised all over central Asia, China, Australia and New Zealand. The finest and most expensive cashmere comes from Inner Mongolia. The harsher winters and meager diets, actually produces the finest hair. Processing this expensive wool is a labour intensive job. After shearing takes place, the super fine fibers of the goat’s warming undercoat must be separated from the rougher protective top coat during the early spring molting season. The goat farmer must comb and sort the hair by hand. This incredible soft wool is approximately three times warmer and insulating than sheep’s wool, despite its light weight.
WHAT IS MERINO WOOL? Merino wool is made from the wool produced by the Merino Sheep; one of the hardest and oldest breeds. Merino wool has the ability to react to body temperature changes. It helps you stay warm in cold weather and cool in hot weather. Merino fibres are very breathable can absorb large quantities of moisture and whisk it away from the skin. Cashmere appears to be the finer, but ultrafine merino is without substitute is the finest and softest in appearance and flexibility. It tends to be very expensive.
WHAT IS NEW WOOL? New wool (or called “virgin wool” in the USA) is wool that hasn’t been treated, processed or woven and its raw state. It can be more water repellent as the oils tend to be still being present. It is very warm and dyes easily.
WHAT IS BOILED WOOL? Boiled wool is a special type of fabric. It is wool fabric that has been washed and dried at very high temperatures. As the fabrics shrink they contract and compress until they becomes thick and soft. It is very fluffy and unlike felted wool. Mittens made from boiled wool are the warmest and known for being tough, lightweight, and wind resistant and repel water. It is used in berets, coats, jackets and scarves.
100% WOOL/PURE SHEEP WOOL: The labels on the garments do not specify which breed of sheep it came from, so I assume it is traditional wool that can be made from any sheep’s fleece. It is perfect for winter wear since it's so warm. It traps air, provides good insulation. It tends to be less expensive and more widely available.
WHAT IS SHETLAND WOOL? Shetland wool is raised on the Shetland Islands off Scotland’s northern coast. Shetland sheep have very fine, lustrous wool, taken from their soft undercoat. It is very warm and lightweight. A Shetland sheep can show up in many colours, though reddish brown, white and black are most common. Shetland Island’s wool products are known for their “Fair Isle” patterns in knitwear.
WHAT IS ICELANIC WOOL? The Icelandic wool is made from Icelandic Sheep. The water-resistant outer coat of the sheep contains long, rough fibres, while the insulating layer consists of soft, short fibres. These are processed together to create lopi roving and yarn. The wool is very warm, lightweight and has great insulating properties even when it is very wet. Traditionally, Icelandic knitters are known to use this wool to knit the famous “Lopi” Sweater.
WHAT IS ANGORA WOOL? Angora wool is made from Angora rabbit hair (not Angora goats) It tends to be very fluffy texture and soft. It is expensive because it comes from a specific breed of rabbit. Angora is much warmer than traditional wool and perfect for colder climates.
WHAT IS MOHAIR OR ANGORA FIBRE? Mohair is wool fibre taken from Angora goats. The wool is known for its durability, luster, and sheen and for being itchy. Mohair has great insulating properties. It is considered and luxury fiber and more expensive than wool.
WHAT IS ALPACA OR FIBRE? Alpaca is made from the hair of Alpacas which is a glossy with a silky soft feel and luxurious to the touch. While very similar to sheep’s wool, it is warmer and water repellent and because it has no lanolin, making it also hypoallergenic.
WHAT ARE MIXED WOOL MITTENS? These mittens are made with a mixture of multiple wools. The original sweater had a mix of wools and/or hairs... i.e.: Wool, cashmere, rabbit hair, alpaca, etc. Or I used two different wool sweaters to assemble the mittens. i.e.: Cashmere piece with a merino piece. It will say in the description.
WHAT IS MIXED FIBERS? This means that the sweater isn't 100% wool. I just can't pass up a pretty wool garment!. I try to find wool with at least 80% wool and 20% other fibres; spandex, acrylic, nylon, etc. This mittens are not as warm but are great for fall, spring or warmer winter days.
Pictured above: Rideau Arcotts lamb, a Canadian Made breed from Valleyview Farms, Nova Scotia
* Felted and Fleece are ALWAYS looking for wool items. If you have any to donate, please let me know.*
From Types of Wool