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.
Now that the excitement of Christmas and New Year is over we thought it would be fun to find some winter wool crafts to keep us all busy through the long, dark evenings. There’s something rather wonderful about being quietly ensconced on the sofa, curled up under a cosy wool blanket and being creative rather than just passively watching the TV. Here are some ideas for things to do with wool that will not only keep you entertained whilst you craft, but that will make lovely new things for your home and wardrobe.
Latch-hook rug making
With the recent resurgence in all things 1970s in fashion and interior design how about embracing the trend and having a go at latch-hook rug making? Popular as a hobby since the 1930s rather than merely done out of necessity (as it had been for hundreds of years), latch-hook rug making became super fashionable in the 1970s with the introduction of cheaper acrylic yarns. It’s a brilliant way to use up and recycle old wool, whether oddments left over from other projects or unravelled wool from old sweaters.
Rugs are made by pulling strips of yarn through a base fabric (usually hessian or canvas) using a hinged hook to create a knot. You can follow a painted canvas if you want more guidance, or work on a blank background from a pattern. There are instructions on how to do latch-hook rug making here, along with lots of interesting historical information. It looks like the perfect craft to do on a rainy winter’s day.
Another great way to recycle old woollen garments or blankets that have seen better days, wool felting will remind you of school science lessons when you magically turned something into another substance. Wool is composed of scaly fibres which, when heated and rubbed together or washed in hot soapy water, will shrink and bond together irreversibly. Think of your favourite cashmere sweater, turned to a doll-sized accessory by an accidental hot wash, or the angora socks that found their way into the tumble dryer by accident. The stiffness and matted feel comes from this binding of the fibres into wool felt.
To create felt deliberately you simply apply this same principle. You can knit something in wool and then machine wash on purpose to turn it into felt. You can ‘wet felt’ by hand, teasing and then rubbing the fibres together vigorously in soap and water. Larger scale operations produce felt by using a barbed felting needle. Once you’ve got the felt you can make endless lovely things, from purses to teddies, brooches to Christmas decorations. You’ll find some ideas and more suggestions here.
Once you’ve learned the basic technique knitting is a fantastic craft. You can click away whilst cozied up in front of the TV, or use your commute to develop a new skill and make something for yourself. Scarves and hats are good things to try first, and then you can build up to more complex patterns once you’ve mastered the basics. It is relaxing and calming too, and a lovely way to make personal gifts for loved ones. Head over to this beautiful blog for inspiration, and check out Ravelry for ideas and patterns. There are lots of tutorials on Youtube, and your local library will have pattern books that you can borrow.
Quicker than knitting and just as fun, crochet is a great way to make things, from cushion covers to rugs, as well as scarves and gifts. Using yarn and a crochet hook you simply learn the appropriate stitch for the project, building up to more complex patterns once you are confident with the basic stitches. This is a good place to start.
If you want to take your wool crafting out of your home and meet other creative people this is the time to take up making. There are lots of lovely-looking craft cafés springing up all across the world, where people can meet and make things as they drink coffee and talk. An international community that is growing around creativity and wanting to learn something new, and where you can find inspiration for all sorts of projects. For readers in the US this website has lots of resources about wool craft, as well as a fun podcast. Just search online for ‘craft cafés’ in your local area and you will come across places like this in Leeds, UK.
Whilst a full-size wool throw might be a bit ambitious, there’s nothing to stop you whipping up something easy and beautiful, as well as learning a new skill. The perfect way to start a new year.
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 the festive season now in full swing, it’s time to turn our attention to New Year’s Eve. You may have a traditional way of seeing in the new year, but if you are looking for some fresh ideas about how you can celebrate the coming of 2018, read on. We’ve chosen 7 fun things you could do, with something for everyone from nature-lovers and homebods to party people.
1.For a romantic New Year’s Eve à deux
If you feel exhausted by the idea of yet another busy party, why not stay in with your partner for the night? Share the cooking and have something unusual for dinner. Then snuggle up under a cosy blanket with a bottle of Proseco and a classic festive film, like ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ or ‘When Harry Met Sally’. String up a sprig of mistletoe for a midnight kiss and the perfect romantic way to usher in another year.
In Japanese culture the first sunrise of a new year holds magical powers, bestowing good fortune for the coming months upon those who witness it. Steal away for the night to somewhere with an incredible view, and watch the sunrise. Take hot water bottles, a flask of soup and a drop or two of something warming, and sit under a woolly throw gazing at stars until the dawn breaks. You could choose somewhere dramatic like Stonehenge in the UK, the breathtaking Cape Inubo in Japan, mystical Ayers Rock in Australia or Bryce Canyon in Arizona. Or for something closer to home, simply head for the nearest beach, high hill or tranquil riverside.
Some people just love to gather together their favourite people and celebrate in style with food, drink and music. For a party that embraces the fun aspect of fancy dress without causing your guests costume-induced stress, you could throw a ‘Hats, Tatts and Tashes’ party. People can come in a hat (of any kind, from a flamboyant sombrero to a jaunty top hat), or wear a fake tattoo (or sporting their real ones) or choose to adorn themselves with a novelty moustache. Simple bits of dress-up like this give your guests the perfect ice-breaker without making them go to too much trouble. Though there will always be someone who comes in all three.
4.For the escapists
You might want to get away from it all and escape to a country retreat for some peace and seasonal hygge. These cottages look divine, or you could hire a larger house and go with a couple of other families for a fun weekend away. Think scenic countryside, roaring log fires, good places to eat nearby, beautiful walks and lazy mornings with the newspapers and lots of coffee.
5.For the time-poor
If you are having people over for dinner on New Year’s Eve but realise you just won’t have time to cook, several companies will deliver or prepare (and you collect) delicious dinner-party-ready meals with a homecooked vibe. Whether you choose to fess up or pretend you whipped up the feast yourself is your own business… Try Cook in the UK or Magic Kitchen in the USA.
6.For the family
If you are celebrating with the kids gather up some classic board games and spend the evening being silly together. These games are always hilarious: Articulate, Headbandz, Twister, Cranium Junior and Cluedo. Order take-away pizza for a proper treat, so everyone can join the fun without someone dashing out to stir things in the kitchen. Get some indoor sparklers for a bit of midnight countdown excitement.
7.For the morning after
If New Year’s Eve just doesn’t do it for you but you’d like to celebrate somehow, you could hold a New Year’s Day brunch instead. Invite friends round mid-morning and keep a rolling pot of coffee on the stove. Serve fresh orange juice and ready-made frozen pastries that you can warm up at the last minute, sling some sausages and bacon in a low oven and serve with scrambled eggs and toasted bagels. Go for minimum fuss and maximum chilled-outness.
Whatever you do and however you spend New Year’s Eve, we at WoolMe hope you have a very happy 2018. Wishing you a year filled with joy, good health and prosperity.
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.
If you are beginning to think about (or panic about) buying your Christmas or Holiday season gifts, we’ve got just the thing. Here is our simple guide to the perfect present: a woollen throw. Whether you are shopping for your mother or your teenage son, we’ll show you why one of our throws will make a great gift.
All our throws are made from top quality wool, which means they look and feel luxurious, and perfectly treat-y. They will last for years, keeping your loved one cosy and warm for many more seasons to come, which makes a wool throw a great alternative to disposable items with no longevity.
For a parent
Finding the right gift for a parent can be tricky. But whatever their age or stage in life, they will appreciate something sumptuous for their home, and something that will also keep them warm during the colder months. For a dad who likes to go fishing or camping, or putting his feet up in front of the game on a Sunday afternoon, our Luigi throw is a great choice. Made from a soft blend of wool and alpaca fibres, it has a timelessly classic plaid pattern that echoes nostalgic tartan rugs and country living. Or treat your mum to one of these exquisite cashmere Everest throws in an elegant herringbone weave. Perfect for snuggling up on the sofa, draping over shoulders or legs on cool summer evenings outside, or bringing along on picnics with friends.
For a teenager
If your teen has left home and started college, a decent wool throw is a brilliantly versatile gift. They can sling it over their beds for some extra winter warmth without having to splurge on heating bills, or take it to festivals in the summer where it can double as a nighttime blanket and rug for lounging on in the sunshine. Wool needs less washing than other fabrics, so this is a good low-maintenance present for teenagers who may spend more time socialising than doing the laundry. Choose something neutral that will work with whatever room they move to, like one of these supersoft Paula wool throws in grey stripes.
For a grandparent
Tuck your grandparent up safe in the knowledge that a wool throw will help regulate their body temperature. Older people can often feel chills even on milder days, so having a cosy blanket handy is always useful. Go for something classic and simple, like our plait-designed merino Alessandra throw, or add a splash of colour to their day with something bold and patterned.
For a partner
Gift the man in your life a gorgeous baby alpaca wool throw to snuggle up under with a glass of wine and a box set. Quiet time spent together can be hard to find amidst the busyness of life, but you can show how much you value cosy, simple moments with a present like this charcoal Bella throw. For her, how about a super-fine, luxurious cashmere throw? Choose a muted tone or natural colour to make sure it works with a range of bedlinen or sofa cushions.
There you have it, holiday gifts all wrapped up. No stress, no fuss and for many years of pleasure. Happy shopping!
As the seasons change it’s the perfect time to reflect the shifts in colour and shape we see around us by making subtle changes in our interiors. Whether that means some new cushions in deep greys, a new set of linen bedlinen in muted taupe, or a cozy wool throw in leaf-brown. The big colour for this autumn is brown, mirroring the fallen leaves, woodland mushrooms and earthy hues as Nature hunkers down for winter.
We’ve put together these mood boards, using browns and greys, and lots of snuggly wool and natural materials, to help you find some fall inspiration:
Fall Colour Inspiration
Fall Interior Inspiration
To capture the feeling of coziness and drawing in, of the darker evenings and regenerative paring back, a simple wool throw is ideal. Easy, versatile and long-wearing, a throw in brown, grey or orange tones will mirror the colours of fall, whilst providing warmth and homeliness as we spend more time indoors.
Here’s a selection of our stunning wool throws in just the perfect fall shades. Like all our products, these are expertly crafted, super soft, brilliant value and enduringly pleasing to touch.
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.