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Comparison of wool types: we explain the main differences

What is the right wool for your project? Here you will find the answer!

We show you the differences between the various types of wool, so you can conveniently compare.

Because every yarn has special properties that sometimes suit certain knitting ideas more and sometimes less well.

Advantages and disadvantages of each type of wool

Warm, soft, comfortable - that's how all types of wool feel. It doesn't matter whether they are of animal or plant origin. So everything is simple? Not quite: because each type reacts differently to the seasons, the weather or individual processing. And the different production methods make for very different prices. But there's no need to worry, with this article you can keep track of everything.


Here is sheared for all it's worth: animal wool types

Sheep - the classic animal wool species

On very sensitive skin, it may leave a slight scratchy feeling, but it also offers many advantages. Because its fibers are protected by tiny scales. These bind air and therefore insulate particularly well against the cold. In return, they allow perspiration and other body fluids to pass through. The effect: the skin under the wool dries particularly quickly. And how easy is the finished wool sweater to care for? Here, unfortunately, a disadvantage of virgin wool manifests itself. When it is extremely hot, it quickly loses its shape or felts. Therefore, always wash the corresponding clothing according to the information on the outer band - in the machine on the wool cycle, cold or at 30 °!

Origin: sheep
Ideal for: Clothing such as sweaters, jackets, hats and scarves, virgin wool blends also for the transitional period.
Price level: inexpensive to moderate

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Merino - finer than human hair

The animals from this special breeding grow particularly fine hairs. These measure on average only 16 to 24 micrometers and are thus thinner than human hair. So it's no wonder that merino wool feels particularly fine. Athletes and outdoor adventurers use it for special clothing because it is excellent at wicking away perspiration. It is ideal for babies and toddlers because the many air chambers perfectly trap body heat. In short: Merino wool is an ideal all-rounder and one of the finest types of wool in the world.

Origin: Merino sheep
Ideal for: warming clothing such as sweaters, jackets, hats and scarves, especially also for baby clothing
Price level: moderate

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Mohair - light and exotic

Mohair is the lightest of the wool types. Its fibers come from the Angora goat, whose dense and wavy hair is processed into a high-quality wool yarn. Originally, the Angora goat comes from Turkey, which also explains the name of the wool: in Arabic, the word "mohair" means fabric made of hair. The silky shiny wool feels soft and fluffy, but is not very stable. Processing it is therefore a bit more laborious. In rare cases, even tiny nodules can form on clothing.

Origin: Angora goat
Ideal for: Clothes, blankets, rugs, dolls or stuffed animals
Price level: moderate to expensive

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Alpaca - especially good for allergy sufferers

Their origin? The Peruvian Andes. Their wool? Particularly soft and warm. That's right, we're talking about the alpaca - a cute but not very productive source of wool. Because their fur doesn't grow that quickly, they are only shorn every one or two years. In 360 days, they provide just enough wool for a sweater. On the other hand, alpaca wool is particularly resistant, odor-resistant and easy to care for. Unlike classic sheep's wool, it contains no lanolin. This makes it particularly suitable for allergy sufferers. Alpacas wear their fur in different shades from white to cream to dark brown. Therefore, alpaca wool is the only one of its kind that already has a color by nature.

Origin: Alpaca
Ideal for: Winter clothes
Price level: expensive

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Grow, grow, harvest: plant wool species

Cotton - soft, airy, hygienic

What does cotton need to thrive perfectly? Warm, humid air, subtropical temperatures and 12 weeks of ripening: then the wool quilts out of the boll soft and fluffy. Once processed, cotton can absorb 20% to 80% of its own weight in liquid. This makes it a real hygiene star. It is loose and airy against the skin, does not scratch or mat. Perfect, then, if you want to knit something light for the summer. And cotton stands up well to washing in the machine, even at higher temperatures. On the other hand, it is less elastic than other types of wool.

Origin: Cotton plant
Ideal for: Summer clothing, accessories
Price level: favorable

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Linen - has an antibacterial effect and hardly forms lint

The classic among natural fibers was forgotten for a long time. Now it is celebrating its return. And for good reason! Linen ...

  • … has antibacterial effect
  • … hardly forms lint and keeps its shape for a long time
  • … is perfect for allergy to dust mites
  • … is extra-sustainable: it also grows in dry soils and uses significantly less water than cotton

But: its fibers, also called flax, are obtained from the stems of the flax plant. These are somewhat porous by nature and hardly stretch.

Origin: Linen (also called flax)
Ideal for: Summer clothes
Price level: moderate to expensive

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Silk - the endless fiber with the incomparable luster

Hinter dem flauschigen Faden steckt eine ganz besondere Geschichte. Es beginnt mit der Seidenraupe, die sich zum Schmetterling verpuppen will. Sie spinnt ihren Kokon deshalb aus einem einzigen Faden. Ausgerollt kann dieser bis zu vier Meter lang sein, deshalb wird er auch Endlos-Faser genannt! Aus den gepflückten Kokons entsteht dann eine echte Super-Wolle. Sie kühlt bei Hitze und wärmt bei Kälte, weist Schmutz ab und nimmt keine Gerüche auf. Ihr besonderer Glanz bezaubert, dazu fühlt sie sich auch noch fein und weich an auf der Haut. Bleibt nur ein einziger, aber kostspieliger Nachteil: Weil ihre Herstellung so aufwendig ist, gehört sie zu den teuersten Garnen überhaupt.

Origin: Silk moth cocoon
Ideal for: noble clothes
Price level: expensive

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Synthetic fiber - chemical origin, versatile

Polyester, polyamide or polyacrylic: these are the names of well-known chemically produced wool types. But do they play any role at all if you want to knit by hand? Yes and no. Sometimes they are added to natural wool types during processing. So take a look at the product description! Then you will know what is in the wool. In addition, there are also pure synthetic yarns, which are characterized by high durability and good care properties.

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Viscose - the mixture makes the difference

Viscose is obtained from fibers of beech wood, pine, spruce or even bamboo. However, these are then chemically processed. This creates a versatile artificial yarn that you can use perfectly for knitting.the mixture makes it
By the way, viscose used to be known as artificial silk because it has a similar feel to real silk.

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