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About Merino and Knitting

MERINO

Merino sheep are valuable especially for their soft and warm wool. Their fur takes longer to grow, so they are softer and more elastic than that of ordinary sheep. They come from North Africa and Spain. From there breeding spread to other countries in the 19th century. Currently, Australia is the main producer. Merino sheep are also known for their size. An adult produces, on average, 2 to 4 kg of wool per year, some even 10 kg.

Important advantages of merino wool:

– warmth, thermal insulation (due to the unique structure of its fiber, which is uneven compared to the artificial yarn),

merino fibres
(photo source: https://blogionik.org/blog/2017/02/16/itch-scratch-wool/)

– without feeling cold in case of sweating, it regulates moisture (it absorbs moisture up to 30% of its volume, which easily warms up inside the wool fleece),

wool processing, fur
(photo source: www.farmersweekly.co.za)

– antibacterial, also suitable for allergy sufferers (fortunately, bacteria do not like as unequal structure of wool fiber as that in artificial fiber),

odour resistant – wool is naturally odour resistant. The clothes don’t smell so much even if they are worn for a longer time. It is an advantage for the consumer  (less laundry detergents, less time spent) and for our nature as well.

(source web of Australian National Museeum and wikipedia, tested by me in cold weather and during sports within the period of clothes development)

Types of merino wool according to fiber thickness:

< 17,5 microns         – Ultrafine merino 17,6 – 18,5 microns – Superfine merino 18,6 – 19,5 microns – Fine merino (or Extrafine merino) 19,6 – 20,5 microns – Fine medium merino 20,6 – 22,5 microns – Medium merino 22,6 – 24,0 microns – Strong merino

WHERE DO I GET THE MATERIAL FROM

After some months of chasing and testing the less itching merino wool, I have anchored at these manufacturers:

Atelier Zitron, Germany (uses merino wool with 19 – 20,5 microns thick fiber). The raw wool comes from South America and Tasmania.

Malabrigo Yarn, Uruguay, Peru (uses merino wool with 18 microns thick fiber). Also the raw wool itself comes from Uruguay.

In addition to being soft, soft and nicely colored, the fact that these producers use wool from NON-MULESED breeding also played an important role in the selection of suppliers – the sheep are not suffering from painful MULESING and live freely in the enclosure. For more information please read my BLOG.

merino sheep

Merino sheep are especially valuable for their soft and warm wool.

PRODUCTION PROCESS

All steps are done exclusively by hand:

Preparation of skeins for knitting. Most yarns are delivered in “knots” and first, I need to turn them into skeins so that the yarn doesn’t crease during knitting. During this procedure I am checking the quality of the yarn.

merino yarn
loose yarn
skein of merino wool
loose yarn and skein
winding of merino skein

During the winding I check the wool quality.

checking of merino yarn

Knitting itself which takes up the most time. Smaller clothes are ready in a few hours, larger ones can take up 20 to 40 hours. It depends on the yarn thickness, the needle thickness and the pattern used.

hand-knitting
image
hand made

I then wash every single knitted item in lukewarm water to get the clothes to the consumer with the final dimensions. The first wash will stretches them a bit. I carefully push the water out of them (not wring) and dry them in horizontal position. After drying, the parts get the final size and shape. Next time when you will wash them, its shape and size will not change anymore.

Drying is followed by inspection of the clothes and packing.

HOW TO TAKE CARE ABOUT CLOTHES FROM MERINO WOOL

Washing

Fortunately, merino wool also has the pleasant property of not picking up dirt and sweat. It does not stink even after wearing for longer time. But it still can happen that you will need to wash them. In such case please follow these steps:

Dissolve some wool detergent (dosing as described) in lukewarm water (up to 30 ° C), for example LANOLIN and soak the woolen clothes.

Leave it in the water for at least 10 minutes, then gently squeeze it by hands in the water.

Rinse only with clean water. Never use fabric softener.

3. Instead of wringing, just push the clothes well, gradually from one side to the other to get as much water out of it as possible.

Shake it a little and put it in horizontal position onto a towel, for example.

Let it dry freely, do not put it directly onto the heat source.

Unwanted pills on wool clothes

Over time, unwanted pills appear on the wool clothes. This is a natural phenomenon and it can be eliminated by brushing. Once upon a time, gently use a LINT BRUSH. Be careful not to pull the stitches, damage the yarn.