It’s the dead of winter and with a blizzard on the way and more tundra-blasts in the forecast, a cozy sweater can be your best friend — but what’s the difference between lambs wool and merino you ask? Well, Haute Living’s compiled a basic guide to the toastiest wools to make finding your favorite easier. Wool is a basic term used to describe the fur or hair of animals used to make a fabric. Generally speaking, the term wool connotes a sheep as the source animal. Animals are sheared but the process does not hurt them. The fibers are woven into a fabric and each breed of mammal yields a different texture and feel. The winner is a matter of personal choice.
Lambs wool- Sheep are sheared for their wooly coats but the first shearing, at 7 months of age, obtains the softest texture.
Merino- This wool comes from a particular type of sheep called merino. The wool accepts dyes easily and the fibers are unequaled in softness. The itch factor is way down with this variety.
Cashmere-Goats are the source for this super-luxe fabric. It’s rare and expensive because the animal produces only a few ounces of yarn per year. Kashmir goats are generally the type that produce this lofty fabric and they can be found in China, Peru, Australia and New Zealand.
Mohair —This type originates from a particular goat called the Angora goat not to be confused with Angora itself, which comes from the hair of a rabbit.
Alpaca — they are the baby cousins of the llama and the wool has a silky feel.
Shetland — This particular type of wool comes from sheep that live on the Shetland islands off the coast of northern Scotland.
Camel Hair — Gathered from the molting of a camel, it is usually found in its natural hue of golden brown and used in suits and coats. Sometimes is mixed with traditional wool to add stability to the fabric.
Angora — The source of this exceptionally soft fabric is from angora rabbits. It’s a rare find.
Read below for knitwear brands you may not heard of.
Brora is a British brand that recently made its way to New York’s most exclusive shopping mall , Madison Avenue. The brand is known for ethically sourced cashmere from the goat in the Mongolian plateaux but the actual clothing is crafted in the UK. They are not limited to only cashmere but include many wools like mohair and lambswool. Much of the work is done by hand and the dyes they use result in rich vibrant hues in the sweaters. BRORA 1200 Madison Avenue New York NY.
Callina uses certified environmentally-free chemical dyes in the making of their knits. “Baby alpaca” is their specialty which is not from baby alpacas at all but from the short, soft hairs from the alpaca’s hide. The source alpacas are found in Peru and the company’s focus is on natural methods of producing knits with beautiful array of natural shades as a result. The knitwear and sweaters can be found in small boutiques nationwide and also www.callinastyle.com.