It is the time of year when a thick, woolly sweater is at its most inviting. It may surprise you to know, however, that there are many different types of wool. Some may be scratchy and uncomfortable, but others can be quite luxurious. Here are some types to consider before you choose the sweater for you.
If a sweater is labelled simply as “wool”, it comes from sheep’s wool and is one of the cheapest and most common types. It is good at trapping air, which makes it particularly warm, but it can be itchy and may shrink if not cared for properly.
When a sheep is sheared for the first time at just a few months old, it is known as lambswool. It is softer, smoother and more durable than standard sheep wool from an older sheep, but obviously wool from a lamb’s first shearing can only be obtained once per animal. This means it can be more expensive.
Merino sheep provide wool made of finer fibres, which means your sweater will be less bulky and not as prone to shrinking. You can wear a Merino sweater whether it is warm or cold, as it will keep you at an ideal temperature either way, and it is popular in athletic wear. This Irish Merino wool sweater draws on a traditional fisherman’s wear to protect you from the Atlantic climate, as seen here https://www.shamrockgift.com/irish-aran-fisherman-sweater.
It may be rarer and more expensive than sheep wool, cashmere wool from the cashmere goat is soft, strong and lightweight. It will provide a luxurious sweater that is unlikely to make you itch, and therefore may be worth the extra cost.
Like cashmere, mohair comes from a goat, this time the angora goat. Smooth and almost silken in texture, it is a durable wool that rarely wrinkles and will keep you well insulated.
Perhaps confusingly, angora wool does not come from the angora goat, but instead the angora rabbit. The hollow fibres are lightweight, but provide better insulation than traditional wool, which has led to it becoming popular in cold environments. The delicate fibres are easy to damage however, as well as being rare and hard to produce. It may be easier and less expensive to combine angora wool with other fibres in a sweater.