In this article, find the different types of wool, as well as some advice for choosing a wool that offers you the properties you are looking for, while respecting your values.
Wool, a natural and ecological fiber, is our material of choice for a comfortable and quality garment. The right criteria for choosing a wool are different for each person ; It is therefore important to know a little more about the characteristics of each wool in order to make your choice in an informed and often more responsible way. Be careful, for example, of inexpensive or scratchy wools, as well as the conditions of animal husbandry and shearing.
It is the most widely used wool, it is particularly resistant to humidity and strong, and therefore often used for making coats. Rather coarse, it is often mixed with other natural fibers, but also synthetic for added softness. There are different breeds of sheep : for example the Merino, raised in large numbers mainly in Australia and New Zealand, gives a resistant and flexible wool ; it is the breed of sheep that has the finest and softest fiber of its kind. Or the sheep of Shetland, a region in the north of Scotland which gives a strong but more rustic wool with a fluffy appearance.
This is the wool from the first shearing of the lamb. Very soft and warm, often used to knit baby clothes, its fibers will be shorter than those of sheep and therefore less resistant.
This wool comes from the fleece of a small Angora goat, native to Tibet, which has fine and long hair. Today there are farms of this goat in many countries, including France. Very easy to dye, we can obtain very beautiful results in terms of colors. Mohair sweaters will be fluffy but will sometimes have an annoying tendency to itch.
Produced from the long, silky hairs of the Angora Rabbit. The hair is harvested by clipping or waxing with a comb after the moulting period. Angora wool will be soft and light. Be careful however with the origin of the wool ; big brands like H&M or Top Shop have decided to no longer use angora wool for their sweaters, following the cruel practices practiced in China on angora rabbits. It is better to favor small farms that respect animals.
It is the wool obtained from the fleece of the Capra Hisca goat, and originally living in the Kashmir region of northern India. This precious fiber is renowned for its finesse and great softness. Today cashmere has become much more accessible, and goats are now raised, quite intensively in the highlands of Mongolia and in China. In the spring, we collect the hair with a comb. Finally, after the process of sorting and washing the fiber, 80 to 100 grams of wool are recovered per goat. When spinning, we obtain a very fine thread that we will "twist" to make it more solid. The number of threads used will determine the thickness of the wool. The quality of a cashmere sweater will therefore very much depend on how the pile has been sorted and spun. There are very high quality cashmere, others on the contrary will be very fragile. So watch out for cheap cashmere sweaters. The finest cashmere will be those from Italian or Scottish spinning mills.
The wool comes from the alpaca, from the camelid family, which is raised in total freedom in the highlands of the Andes Cordillera in southern Peru. It is sheered once a year, at the end of the winter period. We obtain approximately 2kg500 of wool per alpaca. The extreme living conditions of the alpaca mean that its fiber has unique properties of heat (7 times warmer than sheep's wool), lightness (3 times lighter), resistance, impermeability and thermoregulation. Due to its fineness and exceptional softness, it is recognized as one of the most luxurious fibers in the world along with cashmere. The very wide variety of colors in the alpaca (24 shades listed) will allow you to have a completely natural wool. On the other hand, alpaca fiber does not contain lanolin (animal fat) and will therefore be very suitable for the most fragile skin or people allergic to sheep wool. The responsible side of alpaca wool should also be highlighted. In fact, the alpaca is content to graze the vegetation of the Andes, unlike the goat, which produces cashmere wool which tears up the roots and can therefore transform a green landscape into a real desert !
And also : yak, vicuna, camel wool… rarer or less widespread wools, but also with unique qualities.
We hope you found this article interesting. If you want more information about our alpaca collection, and the values of the brand, subscribe to our newsletter.
Also discover how SWEET ALPAGA is a brand highlighting high-end wool while emphasizing ethics.