Over the years I have been asked similar questions many times, here are some of the more common. If you don’t find the answer to your question now then please contact me with your question by clicking here
Why do some wool garments shrink in the laundry?
They shrink because the recommended washing instructions have not been followed. The reason wool garments shrink is due to the presence of a scale structure on the fibre surface which creates a ratchet effect when two or more fibres move next to each other during washing. The ratchet effect allows the fibres to move in only one direction – towards the centre of the garment and it gets smaller as a result. This is a topic that has been studied in great detail over the years and I will post an article with more details in the coming months.
Why do some wool garments make me itch, am I allergic to wool?
Relax, wool is made from keratin the same as your own hair. It is unlikely you are allergic unless you are one of the small fraction of the population who suffers from alopecia where their body rejects even their own hair. If a wool garment made you itch it is likely the garment is not suitable to be worn next to the skin because it is made from fibres that are too thick. Thick fibres are able to trigger the nerve endings in the skin and create a pricking sensation. The way to avoid prickle and itch is to wear garments made from fine merino wool, the finer the better. The recommended fineness depends on the wearer and the conditions of wear but we normally recommend garments made from merino wool that has an average fibre diameter below 18.5 microns (a micron is one millionth of a meter). Such garments will often be labelled as Merino Extrafine, Superfine Merino or even Ultra-fine Merino.
Why does my sweater get covered in tiny bobbles after wearing for a while?
Those tiny bobbles, which are known technically as ‘pills’, are caused by the rubbing action between your sweater and itself or other surfaces as you wear it. That rubbing drags some of the wool fibres out of the yarns and onto the surface of the garment. Eventually, there are enough fibres and they are long enough to start entangling at the ends to form the pill. It is difficult to predict whether a garment will pill excessively during wear but we do know that a very soft sweater with an already hairy surface is more likely to pill than a firmer sweater with a ‘clean’ surface. This is another topic that has been studied in great detail over the years and I will post an article with more details in the coming months.