Wool is a well known natural fibre that comes from sheep. There is a huge diversity in wool, from very coarse to very fine. The coarseness depends on the sheep breed and finishings used to make the wool into a fibre, ready to knit or weave. We work with mulesing free merino wool because we think that is the most precious wool fibre. We like merino also because of its benefits.
It is finer than human hair, can be softer than cashmere and is very gentle on even the most sensitive skins. Due to the structure of the wool fibre, wool is temperature regulating. It keeps you warm when the weather is cold and it keeps you cool when it’s warm. It absorbs moisture without feeling damp. Therefor it doesn’t need to be washed often.
Wool is also a 100% natural and 100% renewable fibre. If wool is not mixed with other (synthetic) fibres wool is 100% biodegradable fibre, a natural circular fibre and therefor does not contribute to microplastic polution.
Merino wool is a natural fibre grown year-round by Merino sheep, consuming a simple blend of natural ingredients including sunshine, water, fresh air and grass. Every year these sheep produce new fleece, making wool a completely renewable fibre. The fibre is finer and softer than regular wool, yet it has the same temperature-regulating qualities. Arguably the oldest-known animal fibre, wool is composed of a natural protein called keratin - the same protein found in human hair - with a small amount of calcium, sodium and fat. The surface of each fibre is covered in scales, which are important in making felts and traditional woollen cloths.
It is high in quality and can be spun into fine wire threads that create a breathable material. This makes it ideal for lighter knitwear pieces, and for suiting fabric. We source our mulesing free merino from the best Italian spinning mills.
For more information please visit What is Merino wool & how is it made? | The Woolmark Company
Mulesing Free Merino_
Merino sheep have a skin which is more wrinkled than other types of sheep, which means that some farmers practice mulesing. Mulesing is the removal of strips of wool-bearing skin from around the breech of a sheep to prevent the parasitic infection flystrike. The wool around the buttocks can retain feces and urine, which attracts flies. The scar tissue that grows over the wound does not grow wool, so is less likely to attract the flies that cause flystrike. Mulesing is a procedure used on sheep that is considered by animal rights groups (and me) as cruel. When we declare our wool to be mulesing-free, we trust our suppliers can confirm that the sheep have not endured this procedure.
This type of wool comes from alpacas in the camel family. Alpaca is naturally lightweight, water-repellent, fire-resistant and heat-regulating. The wool is unique because of its semi-hollow fibre. Alpacas have evolved over thousands of years to protect themselves from extreme temperatures in the Andes Mountains. At altitudes up to almost 5,000 meters it can be extremely cold in winter and extremely hot in summer. The light wool adapts to body temperature and has the unique ability to keep you warm in winter and cool in summer.The silky fibres are long (10-20 cm) and fine, giving it a softer and more durable quality than sheep’s wool. The processing requires less water and fewer chemicals than other wools. Alpaca fleece is a renewable resource. The fabric is hypoallergenic, it resists shrinking, and it has a soft and lightweight feeling that’s ideal for knitted garments. Allergic to sheep's wool? Then try alpaca wool. Alpaca wool resembles sheep's wool but is warmer and naturally contains no lanolin, making it hypoallergenic. The fineness of the hairs (16 microns from the first shearing of a baby alpaca to 25 microns of adult animals) ensures that this wool is not perceived as itchy wool. This type of wool is therefore ideal for people with an allergy to lanolin and for people who are very sensitive to itchy wool (even the most sensitive baby skin).
Cashmere is known as one of the most luxurious fibres and it is six times finer than human hair, giving it a signature soft and luxurious feel. Similar to other types of wool, it is also temperature-regulating.
Cashmere comes from the undercoat, or duvet, of the Capra Hircus, originating in the lonely and arduous highlands of Ladakh and Tibet. Nowadays the Cashmere region covers China, Mongolia, India, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iran, where the Capra Hircus is bred at an altitude of at least 4000 meters. This extraordinary animal has managed to survive in inhospitable habitats, with freezing, windy winters, and hot, dry summers. This harsh environment is why it has developed an undercoat consisting of thousands of particularly fine, smooth, soft and warm fibers, which are concentrated in a small area, under the dense outer coat. Real cashmere only comes from such fibers, which allow the Capra Hircus to resist temperatures of -30°C.
The undercoat grows until the days get shorter, and stop its growth when the days get longer. For this reason, Cashmere fibers are collected during the molting period, in the spring, when the goats naturally lose their hair. Ideally this is done by hand and not by shaving.
Mongolia and Tibet are the sources of the best cashmere. Because the last years there has been a high demand for cashmere the land on which the cashmere goats and their shepherds live suffer greatly from overgrazing. Therefor we minimize the use of cashmere.
This is a very expensive and luxurious wool fibre. A Vicuña is the smallest family member of camel family and is closely related to the Lama and Alpaca. The vicuña is covered with a remarkably long, fine, soft, and lustrous coat that varies in colour from light cinnamon to a pale white, with long white fleece hanging from the lower flanks and the base of the neck. Vicuña fibre is strong and resilient, but it is highly sensitive to chemicals and is generally used in its natural colour. The costly fibre is made into high-priced coats, dressing gowns, and shawls.
In the Netherlands we have about 70 different types of sheep breeds and about 525,000 sheep are used for meat and dairy production and grazing. Together, these produce about 1.5 million kilos of wool annually.
The Dutch sheep breeds can be divided into heath sheep, pasture or dairy sheep and meat sheep. The wool of Dutch sheep is often thick and stiff with an average body diameter of more than 28 micrometers, which makes it itchy when worn. The fiber is so stiff because sheep in the Netherlands are mainly kept for meat and dairy production and grazing, with sheep farmers paying particular attention to properties that are good for this when breeding. For example, sheep breeding for a soft, fine fiber has faded into the background.
At the moment, some sheep farmers are pioneering with Dutch merino sheep, Dutch mohair and alpaca and of course we have our own Texel sheep.
In the Netherlands there is no longer an active wool industry for processing raw wool into yarn. Fortunately, this is still possible in Europe. This way we keep the footprint somewhat small and you can enjoy a lovely Dutch woolen sweater.
We follow these developments closely and look forward to using Dutch wool, so that we can contribute to a better fashion future with a naturally raw, organic material that ensures good animal welfare and a smaller ecological footprint.
Yarn made from yak down is one of the most luxurious fibers available. It is warmer than sheep wool and as soft as cashmere. It is an extremely durable and lightweight fiber that preserves heat in the winter yet breathes for comfort in warmer weather.
Yak yarn is completely odorless, does not shed and maintains warmth even when wet. The yarn is non-allergenic and is a good choice for those who are allergic to other types of wool.
The yak is a domesticated, long-haired bovine found throughout the Himalayan region of South Central Asia, the Tibetan Plateau and as far north as Mongolia. Yak are among the largest of the bovidae. They have long, shaggy hair to insulate them from the cold. Wild yaks can be brown or black and domesticated ones can also be white.
Yak produce two different types of hair. The first is the outer wool which is longer, coarser and stronger hair. This outer wool grows over the entire animal, the longest and strongest of this outer wool is found on the animals tail and skirt. The second hair produced is the short, fine, soft under wool, or down hair, which is produced by the animals during the winter and is a very efficient insulator.
Yak fiber wool has been used by nomads in the Trans-Himalayan region for over a thousand years to make clothing, tents, ropes and blankets. Yak is valued for its warmth, breathability, and durability – it is 30% warmer than sheep’s wool and softer than cashmere. The organic fibres resist pilling, are thermal regulating, resist odour and water, and are hypoallergenic and moth-proof. These qualities make it an ideal material for long-lasting, luxurious knitwear that can be worn in cooler months. The down is shed in the spring and is harvested by a combing process. Processing the soft, inner down is a very manual and labor intensive process.
For all our materials we use, we work exclusively with European suppliers who are committed to UN sustainability standards, Oekotex Standards, Responsible Wool Standards and other sustainable and responsible initiatives. We always strive to have our products developed and produced as close to home as possible to keep our footprint as low as possible.