Merino Wool Fabric
Merino Wool Fabric
Merino wool fabric is fabric made from wool obtained from the Merino sheep. Merino sheep are a breed of sheep bred specifically for their wool. There are different types of Merino sheep and some varieties of the sheep produce wool that is too coarse to be made into clothing or to be worn next to skin. Merino sheep were originally from Spain but this type of sheep is now reared in other parts of the world such as New Zealand, Australia, United States and other countries. Australia is the world’s largest producer of Merino wool.
Merino sheep are not only bred for wool but are also bred for meat. However, Merino sheep reared for meat do not produce wool good enough to make merino wool fabric. Nowadays however, there are some breeds that produce both wool and are good for meat.
Merino wool fabric is characteristically very soft due to the fine fibers of Merino wool. The wool fiber is made up of the protein keratin which also makes up human hair. The wool is very easily died into a wide variety of colors. The wool fiber is made up of overlapping scales that are responsible for the ability of Merino wool fabric to be water resistant and to shed water.
Merino wool fabric absorbs water several times over what synthetic fibers can. Even when it has absorbed a great deal of water, it does not feel wet and clammy against the skin. Fabrics made from Merino wool also do not scratch against the skin like other types of wool fabrics. This is due to the fact that Merino wool fibers have a very small diameter and are very fine.
Merino wool fabric is quite commonly used to make athletic wear and sportswear. This is because Merino wool has certain characteristics that make it perfect for such use. Fabrics made out of Merino wool are good at regulating body temperature. This is because the wool takes moisture (sweat) away (wicks it away) from the body, without getting damp. The wool also keeps the wearer warm but not too warm as to be uncomfortable. Even when wet Merino wool still keeps the wearer protected from the cold.
A process called ‘heat sorption’ occurs when Merino wool fabric gets wet, with the moisture binding itself to the chemical structure of the Merino wool fiber, which results in energy (heat) being released.
Fabrics made out of Merino wool are not as heavy as most woolen fabrics, yet they are still warm. This is because the fibers of Merino wool are able to trap body heat.
Other benefits of Merino wool fabric include it does not retain odors. It is also resistant to spills and stains and wool is biodegradable and recyclable therefore good for the environment.