The Merino sheep are strong and hardy animals best known for their superior and highly out ranking wool. They are found all over the world and adapted well to almost all climates.
Merinos need to be sheared at least once a year because their wool does not stop growing. If allowed to grow, it can cause heat stress, mobility issues and blindness.
As far as sheep go, Merinos are medium in size: Ewes (Female), 125-180 lbs.; Rams (Male), 175-235 lbs. Typically one Merino sheep grows 7 - 10 pound of wool per year.
Merino wool is world-renowned for providing the softest and highest quality fiber of any sheep. The thinness of the Merino fiber it what makes it so soft. Even the thickest Merino wool is less than half the thickness of a single human hair.
Merino wool is predominantly made of interlocking protein molecules, the same protein in our own skin and hair, individual wool fibers have the ability to be bent, flexed and stretched in any direction 30,000 times or more without damage!
A Merino wool fiber can absorb and retain up to 30% of its own weight in moisture and still feel dry to the touch. It is this absorption and wicking power that makes Merino wool comfortable to wear or use in both warm and cool climates.
ANYONE THAT KNOWS Merino wool knows that it is unfortunately expensive but they also know it is always will worth it for the comfort and performance it provides.
Merino wool has been the choice of wool since the lands where ruled by Kings. No matter the manner in which it is used it is super lightweight, extremely soft, non-itchy, non-clammy, warm in the cold and cool in the heat, and has a miraculous ability to resist odor via its incredible wicking capability that eliminate the build-up of bacteria. And, because it is grown by sheep it is naturally renewable, recyclable and compostable.
Synthetics on the other hand, which became popular in the 1970, appeared to have an advantage over wool, even to this day, but unlike wool they leave you feeling wet and clammy. Unlike wool, synthetics are unable to regulate temperature and moisture. Synthetics also do not move moisture like Merino wool easily leaving you sweaty and the material smelly from bacteria build-up.
Synthetics are also made out of petroleum-based materials that are highly flammable, horrible for your health and the environment. They leave micro-shards in the water every time they are washed which cannot be filtered out. These micro-shards are now being found in our food supply.
What about other types of wool's you ask? Even though it is traditional to use and wear wool's outdoors in cool climates because wool is warm, other wool's, outside of Merino, are heavy, bulky and take forever to dry out and, cause you to itch like crazy.
It all starts with the Merino sheep. Cared for in the most loving and greenest way here in Michigan.
On raw fleece you will find lanolin. Sheep secrete lanolin to protect their skin and wool from the effects of sun, wind and rain.
The ranchers shorn or shear the sheep by hand with no stress or harm done to the animal.
We wash our wool using only organic soap, boiling hot water and a lot of elbow grease. We also save and use it's lanolin.
Carding, which really is like combing, the wool. We do not spray our wool with synthetic oils like most mills do during this process.
We usually have the mill make our wool into roving, batting or loose wool. Merino wool and lanolin are incredible! You'll love using both.