Merino is a sheep that was originally introduced into Spain in the 12th and 13th centuries. It was a Spanish monopoly for a very long time. Over time, Merino sheep spread throughout the world, where numerous recognised breeds, strains and varieties have developed.
Merino wool has several properties. It is 6 times stronger than cotton. The average lifespan of wool products is about 50% longer than that of cotton.
Merino wool is a natural climate regulator, because in hot weather the fibres absorb body moisture before it evaporates outside the fabric. In the cold season, the moisture vapours condense inside the fibre and warm it up. This makes merino wool perfect for all year round. In summer, it keeps you fresh and cool; in winter, nice and warm.
Another pleasant advantage of merino wool is that due to its antibacterial properties, all body odour is absorbed by the merino wool, no matter how hot the weather is. You feel fresh all day long because clothes made of merino wool do not smell. For the same reason, you don't need to wash merino wool clothes every time you've worn them; the odour is absorbed as you wear them and released from the fabric when you hang them out in the fresh air overnight. Merino wool is a good choice for travellers, especially for camping and backpacking.
When washing clothes made of merino wool, you can use cold water because merino fibers have protective layers that prevent stains from soaking into the fabric.
Merino fibers absorb more water than cotton and synthetic fabrics, so you stay dry much longer in wet weather. On the other hand, it also releases the water easily and dries much faster after rain or after washing than other wool fabrics. Merino wool is also wrinkled resistant due to its elastic property.
Merino wool is hypoallergenic and does not itch on the skin because the fibres are very flexible. It is an excellent clothing material for sensitive skin. It also protects your skin from the sun's UV rays because merino fibres have a natural UV barrier. Merino wool will protect your skin on summer holidays.
Both synthetic fibers and cotton require a lot of manipulation and processing, but not merino wool, as its fiber is 100% natural (no microplastics). Merino wool production uses 92% less water and 6x less energy. Merino wool fibers are 100% biodegradable; they naturally decompose in the soil and return natural nutrients such as nitrogen, sulphur and magnesium to the earth.
What else can we expect from merino wool? It is perfect for any kind of situation and weather.
Baby alpaca wool does not come from the babies of alpacas. Baby alpaca is only the name of the wool sheared from the neck and chest of alpacas, because these are the parts of alpacas that have the second* finest fleece. Despite of that, baby alpacas are usually sheared from alpacas younger than two years old also because of fleece quality.
Baby alpaca fleece is very gentle to skin because it is soft and silky. It is lighter than other wools and up to 7x warmer than sheep wool. On the other hand we can wear clothes made with alpaca yarn during warmer days because it is also very breathable. Another advantage of Alpaca wool is that it does not retain bacterias that causes the odor of weared clothes. This means that we can wear it for longer and wash less frequently.
Alpaca wool is convenient for wet days because it is water repellent but it is also flame retardant. The fibers are extremely durable; a well-made alpaca blanket can last a very long time. Another plus is that alpaca has a low environmental impact compared to other natural fibers.
Alpaca wool is not prickly like sheep wool and is much less prone to pilling. Because it contains no lanolin, it is hypoallergenic.
*As said at the beginning, baby alpaca is the second finest fleece from alpacas. The first finest fleece is called Royal Alpaca. It is sheared from the back of alpacas. It is the most expensive and the most rare alpaca fleece found in the market.
There is a third category of alpaca wool called Superfine Alpaca. It is sheared from the neck and belly of alpacas. Because it has a thicker diameter than baby and Royal Alpaca it is not as soft and silk.