The characteristics of wool have been quite a ‘hot’ topic lately in the mill, as many rebel community members have expressed uncertainty as to whether Prickly garments will work for them in hot climates. The answer in short… AYE!
Stereotypically we think of wool as the perfect material for fighting the cold. This is true. The history of woolen textiles in the Highlands, for example, invites us to learn about our people in a geographical context. They lived in mountainous terrain, with fierce winds and bitter cold winters, so wrapping the body with thick blanket-like cloth was essential to keep warm.
It is usually mental pictures like this that cause people to look at me like I have 2 heads when I tell them that wool is also perfect for heat too… the magical secret for temperature regulation lies in the fiber construction, and a multi-faceted relationship with moisture!
Think of it like 2 layers, one on the outside (hydrophobic) and one on the inside (hydrophilic).
The outer layer is naturally water repellent, which defends the body from moisture – keeping it nice and warm. Then there is the inner layer, which absorbs moisture from the body. This means that even when we are sweating in a hot climate, a woolen garment will be sucking it all in, so keeping us dry, cool… and happy!
“But won’t my garment be smelly and gross if it’s absorbing my sweat?” Great question, but the answer is no. This powerful and natural moisture control system sees the garment stay dry, despite being able to retain up to 30% of its weight in moisture. The dryness ultimately deters bacteria that love to fester in moist material, which is why we say that woolen items don’t have to be washed as much as other fabrics. Like I discussed in my other diary post about Caring for Wool, fresh air is best over regular washing!
Double bonus for the environment!
Wool is also a natural sun block, with a high ultraviolet protection factor that can protect you against up to 97% of UV rays compared with cotton which only protects against 20%. We learned this one from our friends at Packhacker, who share our passion for this magical fiber.
We understand the conversation around fibers can get technical and confusion, so hopefully this has given you a wee helping hand to understand yet another amazing quality to wool. You can also check out our Fabric Guide where we discuss the various ‘weights’ of fabric in our collections. Any questions, just ping us an email firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you sheep!