When choosing fabrics for my scarves, my primary consideration is the feel. Super fine Australian merino wool feels wonderful. It is soft, light and warm.
Let's talk about the Merino sheep itself - where did it come from?
The Merino is a breed or group of breeds of domestic sheep, characterised by very fine soft wool. The breed was established in Spain near the end of the Middle Ages, and was for several centuries kept as a strict Spanish monopoly; exports of the breed were not allowed and those who tried risked the death penalty. During the eighteenth century, flocks were sent to the courts of several European countries. Numerous recognised breeds, strains and variants have developed from the original type including the Australian Merino.
The early origin of the Australian Merino breed involved different stocks from Cape Colony, England, Saxony, France and America. Although different Merino strains are bred today in Australia, the Australian Merino populations are genetically similar and distinct from all other Merino populations, indicating a common history after they arrived in Australia.
Australian Merino Wool
is the world’s finest and softest wool in the world.
Besides being super soft and warm, It has some other excellent qualities:
WOOL IS ODOR NEUTRALIZING
Wool has an antibacterial effect. This is due to the structure of the wool fibres: Their surface is like roof tiles, making it difficult for bacteria to get lodged inside. These bacteria are responsible for odours. So by wearing wool, you can get by with just a few items of clothing, when travelling. The keratin (the protein molecules in the merino fibres) breaks down the odour-forming bacteria, so you don’t have to wash merino wool clothing as often as other fabrics.
WOOL IS MOISTURE REGULATING
Wool fibres are hydrophilic. They provide incredible warmth and can absorb up to 35% of their own weight in moisture without feeling wet to the touch. The fibre surface remains dry, while the moisture moves to the fibre core. Merino wool is also breathable and dries out quickly too – even keeping you refreshingly cool in the hotter months. Yes, a wool tee shirt is great for the summer!
WOOL IS SOFT
Merino wool does not itch! At 16.5–19.5 microns (one micron = one-thousandth of a millimeter), the fibres are so thin that they are well below the human itching threshold of 25 microns. Merino wool will not itch like the jumpers our grandmothers used to knit for us!
WOOL PROVIDES UV PROTECTION
Bet you didn’t know this. Although Australia is particularly exposed to UV radiation due to a hole in the ozone layer, not once has a sheep suffered from sunburn. This is because of their wool – it simply absorbs some of the UV radiation and keeps it away from the skin.
Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPF) indicates how much UV radiation is blocked. Factor 15 is the minimum value required to comply with the Australian standard for basic protection. UPF 40 indicates excellent protection, blocking 97.5 to 97.6% of all UV radiation from the skin
Applied to textiles, polyester has the highest UPF, followed by wool (generally UPF 40 & above), then polyamide and silk. Cotton, viscose and linen have the lowest level of protection. So, throwing a light wool scarf over your shoulders to keep the sun off is far better protection than a cotton one with a UPF of approximately 10!
So as you can see, our Australian Merino wool is world renown for good reason. It is soft, warm and has some great properties. When choosing a scarf or a garment for winter, it should certainly be at the top of your list. Cheaper products will not have the same qualities or longevity. Wool feels great, is easy to care for and will give you years of stylish wear.
Get some great tips on how to dress for the colder months from this Blog.... How to Keep Warm
I have been using a combination of 90% Australian merino wool and 10% cashmere. As cashmere can be up to 8 times warmer than wool, it just adds that little bit of extra warmth factor to a scarf without being too heavy for those of us who do not live where the temperatures fall below freezing too often! It's a great mixture of luxury fabrics and I know you will love it too.