Ever decided not to buy a wool item because it was itchy or dry clean only? Good news: Thanks to fabric innovations, wool is better than ever, and some old myths about wool aren’t true anymore. Read on to learn the truth about wool.
Myth #1: Wool is scratchy.
Admittedly, some wool is softer than others. Rough, scratchy wool exists, but so does silky, fluffy wool that feels wonderful next to your skin. It all depends on quality, the type of sheep, and how the wool is spun. Some of the nicest, softest wool is superfine merino.
Merino wool (from merino sheep) is famous for being smooth and luxurious. The fibers are very fine—thinner than human hair! It is wonderful woven or in knitted accessories, like the mittens above.
But quality matters: The best merino is virgin wool (not recycled) from healthy, happy sheep (yes, that makes a difference!). Finally, wool is softer when it’s worsted. That means the fibers are long, smooth and parallel, rather than fibers of different sizes in different directions.
For Pendleton’s softest wool, try our 5th Avenue throws. They’re woven of superfine virgin merino and incredible to snuggle up with!
And men should try our Sir Pendleton wool shirts, made of worsted merino for a refined feel. A mile of yarn goes into each one! These aren’t the itchy wool shirts of the past.
Myth #2: Putting wool in the washing machine ruins it.
This is true of some wool, but not all. Many people have accidentally shrunk wool sweaters in the washer, not knowing that heat and agitation cause felting. The spin cycle mats the wool fibers together, bonding them. This video explains:
Thankfully, some wool can go in your washing machine! Our Eco-Wise Wool blankets and throws undergo an anti-felting treatment, so not only are they washable, but they get softer with every wash. This treatment prevents the fibers from locking together and felting. Now you don’t have to run to the dry cleaner whenever your wool blanket needs refreshing!
Myth #3: 100% pure wool is better than wool blends.
In some cases, it’s true—a sweater that’s 100% merino wool will be nicer than one that’s mostly acrylic or polyester with only 5% wool.
Wool sweaters are cozy and comfortable and a lot less likely to pill or fuzz. And a high wool content makes for a wonderfully warm blanket that naturally keeps the heat in on cold nights. But sometimes 100% wool isn’t ideal. Wool socks are more comfortable with a little stretch, so nylon or spandex is often added.
Pendleton baby blankets are mostly pure virgin wool with a bit of cotton to keep them soft and fluffy (they’re also napped for a cozy feel).
Myth #4: Wool is heavy and bulky.
This depends on the breed of sheep. For example, wool from Icelandic sheep is rugged and coarse, often used to make carpet. In contrast, wool from the Rambouillet breed—a relative of merino sheep—is very fine, perfect for soft, silky clothing. Fabric innovations have made wool lighter, like Pendleton’s Wool-Lin fabric. It’s pure virgin wool that feels like linen but doesn’t wrinkle nearly as easily. (Perfect for spring suiting.)
Myth #5: Pendleton only makes wool blankets.
While Pendleton is perhaps best known for our first product, wool blankets, we began to branch out into apparel in 1927 with our first men’s shirts. Our line has grown to include wool sweaters, shirts, blazers, skirts, accessories and much more. We also use other natural fibers, such as silk and cotton, for comfortable, quality clothing year-round.
So there you have it! Any other questions about wool? Ask us in the comments below!
Thanks to the wonderful Grace Adams for her Brand Ambassador photography.
See more of her work here: Grace Adams Photography
And follow her on Instagram here: @grace_adams