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Different Types of Wool: Which Should I Choose For My Next Project?

Different Types of Wool: Which Should I Choose For My Next Project?
Whilst there are so many materials used in today’s yarn industry, including plant fibres like cotton and linen, and synthetic fibres like nylon and acrylic, we’ve big love for natural wool when it comes to knitting up a winter warmer or two. An incredibly forgiving and easy yarn to work with for beginners - you can discover the perfect yarns for beginners here - wool also brings so many benefits to your finished makes, too. Both insulating and breathable, wool is comfortable to wear, and affords long-lasting resilience to garments, accessories and furnishings alike.

But which wool should you choose? With so many different types of wool available to knitting and crochet lovers, it can be tricky to know where to start. Here, we explore some of the most popular varieties of wool, the sheep breeds and other animals that provide them, and the features and benefits of each, so you can banish the overwhelm, and choose the perfect wool for your next project!
 

Different Types of Sheep Wool:

Bluefaced Leicester Wool:

The beautiful Blue Faced Leicester sheep is easy to identify, with its distinctive Roman nose and charmingly elegant profile - and its fleece is befittingly popular! A distinctly fine and smooth fibre, it’s fantastic for use in projects that will be worn next to the skin, as it is soft and comfortable to wear. Semi-lustrous in appearance, it’s a wonderfully drapey yarn that’s as ideal for creating more delicate, lacey garments as it is for more durable projects, thanks to its hard-wearing nature and reliability.

Our West Yorkshire Spinners Bluefaced Leicester DK Wool Yarn is spun from 100% British fleeces, and is available in an array of breath-taking shades, perfect for knitting up beautiful winter warmers.

Want to add a pop of bold colour to your wardrobe this winter? We recommend the stunning Hand Dyed Bluefaced Leicester DK Yarn from McIntosh. Beautifully tactile, this award-winning British wool is as sumptuous to wear as it is to look at, and since every skein is lovingly hand dyed, each is as unique as you are!
 

Merino Wool:

In comparison to Bluefaced Leicester, Merino wool is less shiny, and whilst both wools are soft enough to wear directly on the skin, Merino is renowned in the industry as being the fibre of choice for those who may be extra sensitive to the texture of some wool makes.

Sourced from the Merino sheep, this wool is uniquely characterised by its long fibres, and is the finest and softest of all sheep wool. The fleece itself has a very fine crimp, meaning that, unlike some other wools, Merino yarn is not filled with short fibres that might cause irritation. Instead, its long fibre composition makes it incredibly soft and smooth, and ideal for lightweight knits.

It’s so comfortable, you’ll often find it used to create sporting base layer garments; its natural wicking capabilities make it the perfect choice for this kind of apparel. It is also celebrated, in particular, for its delicacy on sensitive skin, making it a popular choice for baby wear and bedding.

Got a premium project in mind? Our very own Deramores Studio Merino DK Yarn is the perfect choice. A super-soft, superwash wool, it will bring beautiful stitch and drape definition to every creation.

Planning to create something truly unique? Kettle-dyed in small batches by artisan dyers, our Malabrigo Wool Yarn range will bring a subtle variation and unique beauty to your knits; explore the full collection here.

Norwegian Wool:

 

Want to knit up something sumptuously sturdy and snug? Rowan Norwegian wool is the perfect choice. In contrast to some other breeds raised in hot, dry climates, the Norwegian sheep feast on green grass, herbs and flowers, helping them to produce a thick and sturdy fleece that makes traditional Norwegian knits so wonderfully Hygge.

The thickness of the fleece helps to create a hardy wool yarn with incredible depth and structure, whilst still retaining that soft finish natural wool knits are renowned for. In comparison to Merino wool, Norwegian wool is thicker and coarser, perfect for super-insulating, super-sturdy outer layers.

Want to stitch up something super-snug? Shop our Norwegian wool right here.
 

Other Wools We Love...

Mohair Wool:

One of the softest natural fibres on the market, mohair is sourced from the coats of Angora goats, and is renowned for its luxuriously delicate and fluffy composition. Soft and silk-like in texture, it is one of the finest natural fibres, and is often referred to as nature’s nylon. You’ll find mohair used to create everything from high-end sweaters and accessories, to luxurious carpets and upholstery.

Soft and silk-like in texture, much like wool, mohair’s composition means it absorbs moisture well - so it will take on coloured dyes incredibly easy for a lustrous visual effect, as well as taking moisture away from the skin of the wearer, making it so comfortable to wear. Considering how lightweight it is, it’s also an incredibly resilient fibre, and can be knitted up into sweaters and other outerwear, as well as socks.

Shop Our Mohair Wool Range 

Alpaca Wool:

Sourced from llamas, this has the same properties as sheep wool, but features a much softer brush finish, and is more insulating, making it ideal for snuggly jumpers! It is so fine, you’ll often find it used to produce the hair on dolls and figurines, as well as for producing luxury yarns.

Shop Our Alpaca Wool Range

Cashmere Wool:

This type of wool is sourced from goats and, again, is softer and more insulating than pure sheep’s wool. The only thing to consider with both alpaca and cashmere, is that their delicate composition means anything knitted up from these wools wouldn’t fare well in your usual spin cycle, and instead requires gentle hand washing.

Shop Our Cashmere Wool Range

Best Wool for Knitting and Crochet?

It can be easy to assume that you need to pick a particular wool to knit or crochet with - especially if you’re a beginner and want to ensure you’re working with something forgiving! The truth is - if you’re looking for something easy to work with, wool in general is the best choice (as opposed to synthetic or plant fibres) because it is sturdy, smooth and has fantastic elasticity, meaning it’ll slide over your hooks or needles a treat. It’s also a fairly easy yarn to pull loose and rework too, so you needn’t fret about making the odd mistake - your wool will forgive you!

If you’re new to knitting or crochet, opt for a smoother, chunkier wool that will be easy for you to hold and work with, and choose a lighter colourway to work with for your first few projects - it can be more challenging trying to tell your stitches apart when you’re working with a darker yarn! Discover the benefits of knitting or crocheting will wool yarns, as well as another of our favourite natural-fibre yarns: silk. 

For you newbie knitters or crocheters, or anyone looking to learn more about yarns for knitting and crochet, we've put together a handy guide covering the basics, such as what yarn is, the different yarn fibres and weights, and which are best for your project, right here.