Merino wool – One of the most appreciated in the world

by Diana I

As the legend goes, a tribe from North Africa called the Marinids was the first to introduce Merino sheep into Spain.

Merino wool is the most beloved wool in the world.

Let’s say actually that we love the merino sheep because she is so good to us offering such great wool material.

But what is actually merino?

What is its history and what are its properties?

You probably have a lot of questions about merino.

Don’t worry, we will get to the most frequently asked questions about it and answer them one by one.

Tips: Keep your coffee next to you because you’re definitely going to want to pay attention to all the information about merino.

So, let’s start…

What is Merino wool?

Merino is a natural fiber obtained from Merino sheep, one of the most ancient breeds of sheep in the world.

A common person might assume that merino sheep are the same as regular sheep.

But what makes merino sheep so special is the extreme temperatures and weather conditions they are able to endure.

For instance, regular sheep typically stay around the lowland areas and feed on grass from the ground.

Merino sheep will roam higher lands, particularly the mountain range of the Southern Alps in New Zealand.

They can survive below freezing temperatures and dreadfully hot summers, all thanks to its unique merino wool undercoat.

Merino sheep

Merino sheep
Merino sheep

The history of Merino wool

Evidence shows that the origins of merino sheep began in Southwestern Iberia.

This is the area of the Iberian Peninsula which is very close to Northern Africa.

As the legend goes, a tribe from North Africa called the Marinids was the first to introduce Merino sheep into Spain.

This tribe was comprised of indigenous North African people called Berbers.

In the 12th century, the Berbers traveled to Spain with the Merino sheep and traded them for food and other materials.

Meanwhile, the Spanish people began breeding these Merino sheep to increase their population.

Merino Iberian Peninsula

The sheep’s wool made clothing and other items.

Over the next two centuries, Merino sheep were intermixed with English and Spanish sheep breeds.

The allowed the breeders to produce a larger quality of wool that they could sell to make big profits.

Although these were not pure breeds, people could not tell the difference.

In 1788, merino sheep were introduced in Australia. Soon the sheep were getting bred there and consumed for their wool material.

By the year 1830, Australia had over 2 million sheep in the country.

During this period, wool was used to make utilitarian garments, military uniforms, and work wear.

Since the wool keeps people warm in colder temperatures and cools them in hot temperatures, it was a real asset to soldiers and military people.

Military merino wool

After the World War I ended, merino wool spread beyond the government and military.

Fashion designers were now incorporating merino wool material into their clothing designs.

It would soon become a fashion style that would spread to the consumer marketplace.

In modern times, globalization has allowed merino wool to be bought and sold all over the world.

However, the two countries which continue to be major producers of this material area New Zealand and Australia.

What are the properties of merino wool?

Merino has a long list of advantages and properties:

1. The merino fibers are extremely fine and soft. 

This makes the material soft to the touch. That’s why many luxury clothes which can be worn directly on the skin are created with these kinds of fibers. Babies clothes are no exception.

2. The merino fibers provide a breathable material for the skin so that you can remain comfortable while wearing them.

These fibers have a great capacity for moisture absorption too.

That way, if it happens to rain outside or you’re in an environment with a lot of moisture in the air, you will be protected from the merino fibers that are on you.

They absorb large quantities of moisture vapor that are further eliminated in the air through evaporation action.

The entire process makes Merino clothes extremely breathable.

3. Merino fibers provide natural heating or cooling for the body.

They will maintain the constant temperature of the body, no matter if it is hot or cold outside.

When there is a cold temperature outside, the merino wool will keep you warm.

When there is a warm temperature outside, the merino wool will help keep you cool.

These are the main reasons that merino wool is used to make a variety of different clothing pieces; starting with clothes for the gym and finishing with clothes for mountain trips.

4.Merino wool is stain resistant.

This makes it very easy to keep clean and stay clean.

Merino wool has some unique features which allow it to be stain resistant.

One feature is its protective outer layer.

This has the properties to prevent stain absorption.

Another feature is its static resistance.

If you were to look at a standard material like cotton, this generates a lot of static which attracts dust and lint.

The great thing about merino wool is that it doesn’t attract dust or lint because it does not produce the static which would normally attract them.

5.It is fire resistant: it is a flame retardant material that will not pose a fire hazard.

If you have any home decorations made from merino wool, then you don’t have to worry about them catching on fire.

6.Merino offers UV protection from the sun.

Do you ever wonder how the merino sheep are able to endure those hot summers in the mountains?

Their undercoat offers natural protection from the sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays.

If you were to cover your own skin with this material, you could avoid having to use sunscreen and other nasty chemical-based sun lotions.

There are more reasons to wear merino wool during the summer or on hot sunny days.

7.It is a biodegradable fabric.

The merino wool material is a natural fiber that is biodegradable.

This means that it releases natural substances back into nature after it has fully decomposed.

As a result, it is eco-friendly to the environment and does not contribute to the pollution problem in this world whatsoever.

8.It is fashionable and elegant.

If you wear merino, you will always be considered a fashion icon with a show of elegance.

Merino fibers will make your clothing look special.

If you wear these fibers, then you can become special too.

How is Merino wool used?

Merino wool is more than just material that keeps you comfortable and warm.

It is a unique fashion style and it can be found in a variety of different forms.

There are merino wool clothes, merino wool scarves, merino wool hats, and merino wool gloves.

A lot of women like to choose their own combination of merino wool clothing based on what looks good for them.

 Merino wool is not just for clothing. It is for home decorations as well. Some examples of merino-based home decorations include blankets, carpets, and other additional accessories which might look good around the house.

– If you are someone who is active on a regular basis and likes to workout, the merino wool material will certainly support your very active lifestyle. It will absorb the sweat from your body and keep you cool as your temperature rises, thanks to the breathability of the material.

– Now if you are into higher intensity athletics, such as hiking or playing sports, then you will appreciate the breathability aspect of the merino wool even more. Plus, since it offers UV protection, you can spend hours outside under the sun and still stay protected.

Did you know that?

1. One of the earliest depictions of a Merino sheep comes from the year 1650 when Bartolomé Esteban Murillo created the painting entitled El Buen Pastor, which is translated as “The Good Shepherd.”

The painting features a little boy sitting next to his merino sheep.

The animal appeared to be a friendly pet of the boy.

This depiction indicates that the animals may have been used for more than just their wool and fur.

Perhaps they were friendly to humans and kept around as pets for kids.

2. Coco Chanel, World Wars, and Merino wool

Coco Chanel had a lot to do with bringing merino wool to the fashion industry after she made a dress made of fine wool.

After World War I, Coco was the one credited for transferring the merino wool to the fashion industry.

She incorporated the industry with clothing and accessories of all different shapes, sizes, styles, and designs.

3. The military created a shortage of merino wool during the times of World War II because of the making of army clothes.

But after World War II ended, The House of Christian Dior continued the fashion revolution of wool by bringing it back to consumers.

Ever since then, merino wool has grown in popularity throughout the fashion industry.

4. You can now find merino wool products sold in every highly developed country in the world.

5. You know that a clothing producer need several sheep to make just one basic clothing product so, yeah, it is a rare material?

If you were to purchase a standard t-shirt made from merino wool, it would cost you close to $70.

Compare this to the $5 cost of a cotton t-shirt and you will understand the difference in value.

You can read more information on merino wool on BritannicaWikipedia or roysfarm



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