Both durable and practical cashmere is one of the most luxurious cold weather materials. In order to keep it in excelent condition and enjoy its durability cashmere needs to be taken care of properly. We piled together a bunch of useful tips that will come in handy when properly cleaning and storing your cashmere garments.
There are few more happy-making things than seeing new lambs frolicking in their fields. As Spring approaches we take a celebratory look at why wool is everywhere this season, from lambs to lagom.
Fluffy white lambs are one of the traditional Eastertime symbols, adorning cards and merchandising everywhere. We love their carefree tumbling and their gangly legs, and they represent rebirth and renewal as the seasons turn. While these new additions won’t be shorn in their first year, their fleeces will be perfect for shearing next year. This will produce the supersoft lambswool so beloved by fashion and home textile makers. The older sheep will be shorn shortly after the lambing season is over, ready for the warmer weather. This wool will then be sorted, washed, picked and combed in preparation for dyeing. The lifecycle of your wool throw or cosy sweater begins with these little bundles of fun gambolling around the countryside.
Replacing ‘hygge‘ as the new Scandi-inspired trend, ‘lagom’ offers more than a moment of comfort or happiness. The concept of lagom comes from Sweden and is a longer-term idea of finding balance and peace by just having enough. Translated it means ‘just the right amount’. To live with lagom means to avoid excessive consumerism, to create a balance between work and personal time, to be moderate and frugal. It has inspired people to live more sustainably, choosing clothes and homewares that have a reduced impact on the environment. Like natural wool. Living more sustainably means buying good quality items that will have a long lifetime, things that are produced with are as free from harm as possible. Wool is a durable, long-lasting material, and means that those investment pieces, like wool picnic blankets or baby throws, will keep on looking beautiful for years. There’s a simplicity to wool that chimes perfectly with the idea of lagom. Just right.
As the weather warms up you may not need your really chunky knitwear but there is still a place for woollies. Spring can bring sudden changes in temperature, with snowfall and frosts still a possibility. The answer here is to wear layers and to include lightweight wool garments made from merino wool. This is less bulky whilst retaining all the benefits of wool: temperature regulation, moisture wicking, durable, dirt-repellant. You can get highly sophisticated sportswear ‘skins’ made from merino wool to wear as a base layer, or opt for a simple transitional piece like a merino sweater paired with a linen shirt or bigger cardigan if it’s chilly.
Despite the fact that the evenings are lighter for longer, there is still something delicious about curling up indoors under a warm, soft wool throw after a long day. Whether you love to read or catch up with the latest Instagram stories, creating a moment of stillness and cosiness in the evening is great for your wellbeing. It’s not quite warm enough to sit outside in the evenings where we are, but it won’t be long. And you can be sure we’ll have blankets, hot drinks and food at the ready.
If, like us, all thoughts of Spring have been buried beneath a blanket of snow suddenly blown in from the East, you may want to invest in some woollies to keep you warm during the cold snap. Our range of beautiful wool throws not only look stunning, they also offer the amazing insulating properties of natural wool. We’ve written before about the inherent benefits of wool, but how exactly does it keep us warm? It’s not something that those fluffy sheep sheltering in the lea of a stone wall will be thinking about, but you can bet they are grateful for their cosy coats while blizzards and snowstorms flurry around them. So, for the curious, here’s why wool keeps you (and the sheep) warm.
The answer lies in the crimp of the fibres. Wool is able to react to fluctuations in your body temperature due to tiny pockets of air within the fibres that circulate heat. This means that wool will keep you warm when your body is cold, and cool when it’s hot. Which is why, even though those sheep might look all huddled and sorry for themselves, they are actually completely dry and toasty beneath their fleeces.
A naturally-occurring protein in hair and wool, keratin forms an extra barrier along the fibres of wool which also helps regulate temperatures.
Warm when wet
One of the things that makes wool so practical in outdoor wear and for bedding is the fact that even when it’s damp, it still keeps you warm. This is thanks to its high absorbency, meaning it can hold moisture for longer than other fabrics before you start to feel wet. Wool also wicks moisture away from your body, stopping cold, wet surfaces from resting against your skin. The fibres also miraculously generate heat when they are wet, creating even more warmth. Whilst woollen garments might take longer to dry than fabrics like linen or cotton, they really will keep you warmer for longer.
We can’t think of anything nicer right now than to hunker down in front of a roaring fire under a soft wool blanket with a steaming mug of coffee. Race you to the sofa.
Merino wool is considered to be one of the finest and softest types of wool available. On top of its unique qualities merino is great for all seasons and is even considered as one of the best bedding materials. Today we are presenting you some additional info about the unique type of wool – merino.
With winter being the cosiest season of them all you might find yourself desperately gazing at the electric fireplaces and wool socks at the stores. While there is no way to enjoy winter for longer you can still enjoy the cosy season in style. Here you will find some tips on decorating your home for winter to warm up both your body and soul.
With Christmas right around the corner and present search fever giving us a headache the least thing we would like to end up is having no present for that someone special. In order to avoid that we are here to help you out to choose a present even for those who seem too rugged to be given a present in the first place. And since we love making lists here is one that might come in handy.
While flowery perfumes are considered girly there is nothing girly about cologne. Every man enjoys smelling good and will appreciate you giving him his favourite cologne as a present. Besides, that means you like it too which is the best compliment a man can get.
A warm wool throw
Feeling warm and cosy is essential in winter and the perfect item for cuddling up in front of a fireplace is a warm wool throw. With the huge variety to choose from you are guaranteed to find the perfect one for your loved one.
While it does not seem very manly to be wearing slippers it does feel cosy and warm. A pair of cosy and maybe even funny slippers will make sure to keep our loved ones feet warm and put a smile on his face.
A grooming set
Grooming is essential for every man that looks after himself. Without it he might end up looking like a caveman and we are pretty sure no one wants that. A luxurious grooming kit will be a perfect present for every man to make him feel classy and good looking after pampering himself.
A SPA date for the two of you
A present for him does not have to be one that is only for him. Even the most rugged men enjoy spending time with their ladies and what better way to do that rather than spending a day at a SPA pampering yourselves, just the two of you.
If you are doing a pre-Christmas clear out to make room for new lovely gifts, stop for a moment before you throw anything away. It might be that that ancient jersey with a hole in the sleeve, the much-loved wool throw that has become a bit threadbare or those cashmere socks that have shrunk in the wash, could have a whole new life. Here are some thoughts on how and why we should recycle our old wool textiles.
It has been estimated that around 3.3million tonnes of textile waste goes into landfill every year in the USA alone. Whilst wool makes up only a small percentage of this, reusing and recycling 2million tonnes per year of unwanted textiles could reduce carbon emissions by the same amount as taking 1million cars off the road. Pretty mind-blowing, no? Wool is a natural fibre and is the most easily reused of all textile fibres. In fact we have been recycling wool for hundreds of years.
So if you want to know what to do with your old woollies, this is the lowdown.
If you are crafty, or have clever friends, give your old woollen textiles to them. Wool can be felted and made into all sorts of things, or unravelled and re-knitted into something new. Pinterest and Etsy are brilliant for inspiration for up cycling projects – if you’re quick you might even have time to make some decorations or Christmas gifts!
Giving woollen textiles to charity shops and goodwill centres can prolong the item’s life by several years, and avoids filling up landfill. Because of its natural durability wool lasts longer than other fibres, meaning your unwanted things can have long, happy lives elsewhere. You can often donate by filling charity bags for collection.
Wool is perfect for recycling and new technologies have made this process even more efficient. Valuable or top quality woollens are closed-loop recycled, which means they are deconstructed and the fibre is reused as yarn in new items. Poor quality items are open-loop recycled, where they are taken apart and the wool is used in completely different products. Examples of these wool bi-products are fire retardant mattress padding, blankets and car sound insulation. These new uses can increase the lifespan of the wool fibres by up to 10 more years, which is pretty neat.
As a last resort, wool can be discarded into landfill. Thankfully, as all its carbon comes from the plants eaten by sheep it is biodegradable and will fairly quickly decompose. In fact wool actually adds its nutrients back into the soil, making this far less damaging for the environment than throwing out other synthetic materials.
And once you’ve sustainably disposed of your old items and invested in some beautiful new textiles, you can prevent further waste by only washing them when absolutely necessary, buying good quality products that will have a longer lifespan, and then reusing or recycling these at the end of their time with you.
Merino wool is renowned for its softness, elasticity and versatility, making it a popular choice for clothing and home textiles the world over. But as well as snuggly merino throws, cosy base layers and durable winter woolies, merino is at the heart of some brilliant innovative clothing designs. Using ingenuity and creativity, several companies are harnessing the inherent qualities of this fabulous wool fibre and producing clothing that delivers on style, comfort, sustainability and price. Prepare to be amazed.
Allbirds wool running shoes
Allbirds founder Tom Brown grew up in New Zealand – home of the merino sheep. He had a deep understanding of how merino wool could regulate body temperature, wick moisture away from skin and minimise odour. But he couldn’t understand why no-one was making shoes from the stuff. So, along with partner Joey Zwillinger, he set out to do just that. The result of years of research, design and creative thinking is the Allbirds sneaker.
These shoes are made from natural merino wool, with a minimalist un-branded look. They come in sizes from child to adult and in a range of colours, and are fully biodegradable. And they claim to be ‘the world’s most comfortable shoes’. We can well believe it.
Despite being a staple in nearly every wardrobe, denim has its downsides. It can be cold, and once wet takes ages to dry, making it an uncomfortable choice in winter. An initiative by Woolmark blends merino wool with cotton to produce beautiful, functional denim fabric, with all the strength and look of traditional denim but with the benefits of wool. The wool fibres are kept on the inside of the garments, leaving the outward facing side looking just like normal denim. Yet this fabric feels much softer and is comfortable next to your skin, with none of the stiffness of traditional denim.
Wool denim is easy to care for, far warmer and feels drier to the touch, making it a great alternative to your trusty blue jeans on cold, rainy days or when working outdoors. Finisterre make wool denim products with an additional water-repellant finish for extra dryness.
Aromatherapy merino wool clothing
If wellbeing via your clothes sounds like a way-out idea, think again. A new process called microencapsulation coats minute particles of essential oils in order to produce tiny capsules, which are then bound to the merino wool fibres in garments. Throughout the day these slow-release capsules give you your own unique aromatherapy treatment, wherever you are and whatever you are doing.
Natural, safe and harnessing the therapeutic benefits of essential oils, this new technology is perfect for sports and homewear. Depending on which oils you choose, your clothes can now help you relax or re-energise. Merino wool is the perfect partner for this therapy given its super softness and versatility. Imagine lying under a warm wool blanket after a yoga session, with the gentle scent of lavender wafting from your sweater. What bliss!
UV protection merino wool
Clothes offer some protection from the sun’s harmful UV rays, but for greater skin safety why not try out some UV-protection merino? The merino wool fibres of these garments have been treated with a special UV-absorbent finish during the production process, which is then fixed at the highest possible temperature. This ensures the clothes can offer far greater protection from UV rays than normal clothing, making it an ideal choice for everyday wear in hot countries, or for your holiday wardrobe.
Not only does UV protection merino wool shield your skin, the treatment also protects the wool fibres against the bleaching effects of the sun. These clothes are also machine washable and dry cleanable, making them a practical option for any household.
To complement all this state-of-the-art wizardry, let’s not forget the beautiful simplicity of a well-made, top quality merino wool throw, crafted with love and years of expertise. From shoes to sleep, merino has pretty well got it covered.
We all love our woollens, from sweaters to socks, blankets to beanies. So what do we do when they start to look worn, or get damaged? Here are some tips on how to avoid pilling, shrinking and moths eating your beloved wool textiles. It’s important to note that high quality, natural woollens will last longer and look better than cheaper acrylics or synthetic fibres, due to the inherent durability and longer fibres in pure wool. So first things first: invest in decent woollens in the beginning and you’ll get far more use for your money. But if things go wrong, here’s how to solve some of the major problems with wool.
Your wool throw has gone rough and stiff
Imagine this: you bought a beautiful new throw in softest wool and have used it as many times as you can without washing. When you realise it needs a refresh you put it in the washing machine on a low temperature and hope for the best. But it comes out feeling rough or stiff, all the snuggliness has gone. What happened? Well, maybe you shouldn’t have washed it in the machine. Unless otherwise marked on your garment’s care instructions it’s best to wash woollens by hand, in cool water. The other cause could be your detergent. Normal laundry liquids are too harsh for wool, so make sure you use a specially-formulated detergent, like The Laundress Wool and Cashmere, or Ecover Delicate. These contain natural enzymes and no chemicals, and are as good for the planet as they are for your woollies. Make sure you choose a detergent that carries the Woolmark logo, so you know it’s suitable.
If you have already got a less-than soft woolly, try hand washing in cool water with a wool detergent and using a wool fabric softener. Rinse thoroughly and dry outside, away from the sun, and flat. This should revive the fibres and increase the softness, though it may never be quite the same. The key here is prevention.
Your woollen sweater has pilling
Pilling (those annoying little bobbles that appear on woollen items) is caused by the friction of two surfaces rubbing together. It often occurs in areas like armpits or the sides of a sweater where a bag might hang against it. If you see pilling on a woollen garment you can use a lint roller or special pill shaver to remove them. Longer pills can even be carefully snipped off with scissors or a razor. Avoid a recurrence by washing the item inside out and only use a liquid detergent that is specifically for wool. Dry the item naturally. Natural, top grade pure wool will pill less as the fibres are longer and therefore are not as easily forced to the surface when rubbed.
Your woolly socks have shrunk
Oh the horror of removing your much-loved cosy alpaca wool socks from the machine, only to discover they would only just about fit a Barbie doll! Wool doesn’t actually shrink. In fact, wool is a protein, which means when it’s washed too vigorously or in too high temperatures the fibres in the wool stick together, giving the appearance of shrinkage. If the damage has been done you can stretch the garment while still damp, but sadly there is no way to fully reverse this. Make sure it doesn’t happen by following the manufacturer’s care instructions to the letter. Wash only with appropriate detergent, use cool water and the delicate cycle if you are machine washing, and don’t tumble dry.
Moths are eating your woollens
An infestation of moths can be disastrous. They can chomp through woollen clothes and textiles, but also lots of other things too, ruining much-loved belongings. To prevent getting moths in the first place make sure you only store woollens when they are clean. Use zipped bags if you are storing things over the summer months. Make insect-repellant bags filled with dried lavender and cedar wood, then place these in every drawer or hang in your wardrobe. If you have an infestation already, throw out anything that is beyond repair, keeping the rubbish bag tightly sealed and discard immediately. Place the remaining items in sealed plastic bags and put in the freezer to kill any eggs or larvae. Give your wardrobe and drawers a thorough clean out and wash everything else in there. You can get chemical moth repellant products to treat the problem, or call out a pest controller to deal with a really major infestation.