For countless decades, outdoor adventurers have layered up in wool for its heat-trapping, water-repelling, perspiration-wicking and stink-fighting properties. A revitalization of the complete national wool supply chain–from textile mills to wash operations to proficient cut-and-sew factory workers–has empowered firms to test and push the materials to new degrees.
Some ranchers have teamed up with entrepreneurs to make thin, soft-as-silk 100% wool tops. Other firms have developed high performance outerwear that’s lasting and as water repellent as artificial options–perfect for battling blizzards, or at least the ski slopes.
American sheep, it turns out, have a leg up on their cousins in Australia. Sheep raised in high-elevation states–like Montana, Wyoming and Colorado–create wool that is more closely “crimped,” meaning its fibers have more bends in their cousins. (In the summertime, free range sheep are brought to higher altitudes up to 12,000 feet–which encourages their cousins to grow particularly great, crimpy wool to keep themselves dry and warm.)
Here are some of the very advanced American brands which are taking wool to new heights.
Farm to Feet
Mount Airy, N.C.
To improve the sturdiness of its tough but cozy trail-friendly socks, the two-year old firm Farm to Feet combinations wool from Targhee sheep, which create a much more durable and somewhat rougher fiber, with a finer merino variety from the Rambouillet strain. The wool subsequently gets a chemical treatment to lessen shrinkage when washed. Ultimately, elastic and nylon are knitted in will not and the socks hold their shape group around the ankle during runs or hikes. Farm to Feet’s Hickory Over-the-Calf Waders ($27), have a comfortable fit as well as additional arch support so that they are sometimes worn inside wading boots. Besides socks tailor made for trekking and hiking, other actions and extreme cold, the brand offers versions suited for everyday use.
Pagosa Springs, Colo.
Voormi–a little manufacturer of hoodies, coats and base layers –sources its merino wool fibers from local sheep with fleece that is superfine. That cycle of chilly temperatures, brutal parts and dry mountain air spurs the wool fibers to have a kind that is very closely crimped. The firm’s three-layer AN/FO coat ($549) accessible next month, has virtually -wool outside, but is water repellent and performs like a conventional ski casing.
To create its awesome soft base layers and outer wear, Duckworth employs a patent-pending technique which uses only heat, pressure and water (no substances of any type) to make the garments shrink-immune when washed and to stabilize the wool in order that clothes keeps its shape without using Lycra or alternative synthetics. The micro-ribbed Guys’s Hummingbird Team ($80) is perfect for skiing, hiking and other tasks, and offers a glossy, thin layer of heat.
Imperial Stock Ranch
The 143-year old, family-owned Imperial Stock Ranch raises Columbia sheep, by crossing Rambouillet sheep with a bigger variety, which were bred in the late 1800s. The Columbia graze on high desert plains at levels around 3,000 feet, and produce wool that is coarser than strains like Merino that results in thick, chunky, superb warm yarn. Imperial’s blankets ($78-$306) clothing and experience no chemical completing procedures.
Began by Tom’s of Maine creator, Tom Chappell, Ramblers Way started as a small sheep farm in Maine but sources sustainable wool from bigger businesses breeding Rambouillet sheep in the West. Ramblers Way uses just superfine 18-micron-diameter fibers and applies a -yarn building to make its next-to-skin garments smooth. The organization uses a time consuming, little batch procedure using biodegradable enzymes rather than washing its wool with chemicals or chlorine.
Wool is a miracle material, known by more names today than ever before. Merino from sheep. Cashmere and mohair from goats. Angora from rabbits. Not to mention those other exotic forms most mortals can’t afford. Its natural fibers retain air, giving it one of the highest warmth-to-weight ratios of any insulator in existence. It can absorb up to 1/3 of its own weight in water and successfully disperse it, keeping wearers dry even in soggy conditions while also resisting bacterial growth and the odors that come with it. It’s hypoallergenic and fire retardant, igniting at a higher temperature than cotton or most synthetics. No wonder we’ve found ways to add it to all manner of things. Behold: the versatility of wool. Credits: Best Wool Clothing and Accessories – Gear Patrol
THE Woolmark Company has released its Wool Care Guide app, placing information on apparel care at consumers finger tips.
Available for all Apple and android devices, the Wool Care Guide app can be downloaded for free via the Apple App Store or Google Play stores.
A spokesman for Woolmark said the Wool Care Guide app easily explained to consumers what different logos mean which they may find on their wool products, and details the steps to make caring for wool apparel easy.
“You can wash, dry and iron your wool clothing at home with the confidence that Woolmark Apparel Care products are tested and approved for their performance in caring for wool,” the spokesman said. Credits: Get appy about wool care – The Land Newspaper
“DOWN, down, prices are down”… supermarket giant Coles appears to be spot on with its catchy jingle when it comes to marketing its Merino wool garments.
Coles has marked its “Extra fine Australian Merino wool” women’s cardigans down in a bid to clear out its surplus winter range. Credits: Supermarkets warm to wool – The Land Newspaper
Video – “How It’s Made Wool”: