Fact Filled Fridays: Not All Wool is Itchy

Happy Friday everyone! I hope you have had a great week and are looking forward to a somewhat relaxing weekend. 🙂

Today I wanted to start a series of “Fact Filled Fridays”, where I throw some random facts out there that you may or may not know. If you have a specific question that you would like me to cover on these Fridays, feel free to shoot me a note!

Earlier in the week, I mentioned that I would explain the different types of wool, because it is super diverse. You may have had that  awful, super itchy wool sweater in your closet that you refuse to wear ever again or buy anything wool again. I get that. I have had those garments too, but through out the years, I have learned that wool is not all itchy. Allow me to introduce you to the many faces of wool.


Before I delve into the types of wool, allow me to give you some terms so you can more easily follow along.

  • Crimp– this is the waves that you see in the wool fibers. The tighter the crimp, the finer the wool.wool crimp
  • Staple length–this is the length of the wool fiber.
  • Micron count–this is the measurement of the diameter of the wool fiber. It is a micrometer, meaning one millionth of a meter.The smaller the number, the finer the wool.

Types of Wool:

  1. Coarse– this wool is typical of your long-wool breeds like Lincoln, Border Leicester, and Cotswold. The crimp on these sheep are more like curls. longwoolEach fiber is of a longer staple length (6-15inches), making it coarser (micron:41-30) and inevitably itchier. Although it is coarser, it is also more durable. It is ideally used in outerwear garments that is not next to the skin. In addition to the long-wool breeds, there are also carpet-wool breeds that fall under the coarse category. These breeds include Scottish Blackface and Karakul. As the name implies, their wool is used for carpets.
  2. Medium — Ranging between the 22-30 micron count, this type of wool is great for various things from sweaters to outerwear garments. If you have sensitive skin, this may still feel itchy to you, but it will certainly make a great layering garment. It is produced by breeds such as the Corriedale, Columbia, and Southdown (the Southdown has more of a down type wool that makes it have more elasticity). It has a staple length of 3-6 inches.
  3. Fine– Alright, here is the moment you’ve been waiting for… the oh so soft wool category. This type of wool you could put on your baby. It is the perfect next to your skin wool.  It has a micron count of 17-22 and a staple length of 2.5-4 inches. The king of this category is the breed Merino. Coming in close to the king is the Rambouillet and Debouillet.

If all this isn’t enough, the fineness of the wool is contingent on the age of the sheep. The finest wool comes from the first fleece of a lamb. Same as humans. Kids’ hair is a lot softer than us big people.

The thing to remember is not all wool is itchy. It is all dependent on what sheep it came from. Typically, if it says Merino, you are dealing with a soft wool, and don’t forget #WearMoreWool.

alec wool

PS if you want to see all the breeds that I mentioned be sure to visit this site for those mentioned and more! (I’m  not responsible for time you may waste looking through all the many faces of sheep)


American Wool Council

PETA says #WoolFreeWinter, but really it should be #WearMoreWool

With the start of cold weather, PETA and company have started a campaign against wool. The following photo and the hashtag #WoolFreeWinter has gone viral.

peta sheepThe photo is quite gruesome, I must say, BUT it isn’t really true. How can it not be true when it is staring you in the face? I cannot deny that the photo happened somewhere; however, the statement “you can’t have one without the other” is NOT true. It is plain and simple. That is not how wool is taken from sheep. If it was, I wouldn’t have many sheep left on my farm.

Wool is sheared from a sheep much the same as your hair can be buzzed from your head. The animal may yell a bit because they aren’t thrilled about being confined, but ultimately, the sheep runs away a few pounds lighter, much cooler, and very alive. I don’t know where this photo came from; however, it is more likely that what you are seeing is the beginnings of a pelt. Pelts include the wool and hide from a sheep, and no, sheep are not skinned alive. Pelting a sheep is all part of the process of utilizing as much of the sheep (meat, organs, pelts, bones, etc.) as possible once harvested.

Sheep need to be sheared on an annual basis. They do not naturally shed their wool and by shearing season, it can weigh around 15 pounds. When you use wool, you are not only helping the sheep out, but are utilizing natural resources.

“You can’t have one without the other” is so very true; however, these words are not properly paired with the correct photo. A proper portrayal can be seen in the following photo:cant have one without the other

I promise I have worn wool from my sheep, and they are still enjoying the life of a sheep at this very moment (In the above picture, I’m wearing a 100% wool sweater).  The entire wool industry does not need to be boycotted because of this misinformation. It is completely ethical and fine to wear wool. In fact, it would be greatly beneficial to have a little more wool in your closet. Wool is an amazing fiber that has some fantastic qualities.

Did you know?

  • Wool is flame retardant. If you set it on fire, it will extinguish itself.
  • It is comparatively stronger than steel.
  • Wool can absorb 30% of its weight in moisture and not feel wet or clammy.
  • It has great durability and can fold back on itself 20,000 times without breaking, while cotton can only be folded back 3,000 times and silk 2,000 times.
  • Wool fibers can be stretched 50% when wet and 30% when dry and still bounce back to its original form, giving it an A+ in the flexibility category.

If those qualities aren’t awesome enough, wool is also an extremely versatile fiber, making it wearable all year round. “Hold up!” I hear you say, “Wool is hot and itchy and not for summer.” That is stereotyping. Wool can be thin and lacy. It can be super soft and also itchy. It all depends on the type of wool (check back on Friday for an explanation of the different types). Think of wool like a cooler or thermos. Because of its makeup, wool keeps warmth in during the cold, and cool in during the heat. It isn’t just for winter; it is for everyday of the year.

PETA wants a #WoolFreeWinter, but I say #WearMoreWool. Post those pictures of you and your wooliness. Wool is too fantastic not to wear. It isn’t cruel. It helps sheep. Besides, mimicking is the highest form of flattery. So mimic the sheep and #WearMoreWool. See just what it is to be in sheep’s clothing.

wear more wool

Sources: American Sheep Industry Association