Wool / Merino

The term “wool” usually means sheep wool. But also, fine hairs of other animals can be called “wool” according to our Textile Labelling Act.

Wool represents about 3-4% of the amount of fibres in the world. Within this industry we can differentiate between three different types of sheep wool:

- Coarse wool: Long, coarse, only slightly wavy. Used for carpets or upholstery materials (Cheviot sheep / German heath)
- Medium wool: Properties in between coarse wool and fine wool. Used for cable knit / furniture / hand knitting yarn / home textiles (Crossbred sheep)
- Fine wool: Short, fine, elastic, crinkled. Used for outerwear (Merino sheep)

Merino sheep represents about 40% of the overall wool market. It is one of the finest and softest wools and is also called “Spanish wool” because this is where the Merino breeding originated in the 14th Century and where exportation was punished by death at the time. Today, this sheep is bred mainly in Australia and New Zealand.

There’s a difference between “virgin wool” and “wool”. Virgin wool is always from an alive sheep while wool can also be from a dead animal. In order to be called virgin wool, it must be a new and undamaged wool fibre but it doesn’t have to be exclusively from sheep. Further, the term “virgin wool” can only be used if the amount of wool fibre in a fabric is at least 25%, otherwise it must be labelled as “wool”.

Properties of wool:
- Non-crease
- Soft
- Can felt
- Warming and insulating due to air locks
- Also protects from heat from the outside
- Absorbent without feeling moist
- Dirt-repellent