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Snug up in wool for winter.               

                                     November 2010  


Snug up in wool for winter.

woolWinter is pretty well here and that means dark evenings and snuggling up in warm clothes and homes.

With so many great synthetic materials available, often at very good prices, it can be easy to question people’s enthusiasm for pure wool. So occasionally it is worth reminding ourselves of the benefits of this wonderful natural fibre.

Of course, from environmental angles, wool is excellent because it is naturally available from sheep and is a renewable resource. Sheep grow a new fleece of wool every year which means no animals are killed for wool. Wool is also biodegradable, another eco-friendly aspect.

But there are many more benefits from using wool than just the environmental aspects. Wool really is an extraordinarily versatile fibre. Generally, it offers superb comfort and texture, it has natural elasticity and strength and it combines absorption with breathability.

Its effect on temperature is key to the success of wool – wool is perfect for bedclothes whatever the season. In winter it can produce wonderful warmth without overheating, but in summer its natural breathability and ability to absorb humidity while remaining dry will help to keep you cool and comfortable.

Wool is also very resistant to bacteria, mould and mildew which can be a real benefit to anyone who suffers allergic reactions to these triggers. Dust mites don’t like wool at all and much prefer some synthetic materials where they can find more of the moisture they need in order to thrive.

One aspect which many people don’t consider is the fact that wool is naturally fire resistant; it is one of the safest fibres to use around the home because it won’t ignite, nor will it melt and cling to the skin causing serious burns. When it is burned, it tends to smoulder rather than catch fire.

Wool is also static resistant, meaning you are unlikely to get those sudden “shocks” that can come from other fibres.

The list just goes on – wool is nice and light and so is easy and comfortable to wear; it is easy to dye plus it is so hardwearing and durable that it can out-perform many other fabrics by quite a large margin.

Of course, the benefits of wool are not new. It is thought that the art of spinning yarn from wool first started as far back as 8000 BC when sheep first began to be domesticated.

Today there are around 40 breeds of sheep producing over 200 different types of wool including fine wool, crossbred wool, medium wool, long wool and carpet wool – all used for different purposes.

One of the main wools we hear about is merino wool. Originally this wool came from specific merino sheep in Spain, but now it is sources from Australian and New Zealand sheep as well. It is especially good to be worn against the skin for four reasons. First is it is very soft and is delightful to wear! Secondly it has high moisture repellent properties which means it transfers perspiration out from the skin keeping the user dry and comfortable. It retains its warmth even when very wet and finally it even contains certain antibacterial properties to help prevent body odours from sweating.

Cashmere is probably the other wool you have heard of. This comes from a special domestic goat, the name comes from the old spelling of the Kashmir region in Asia. The wool is very soft and dense but also exceptionally light, providing excellent insulation without bulk. It is often blended with other wools. Interestingly, this wool is also known as pashmina which is an old Persian word for wool – today we have taken this name for lovely soft woollen shawls.

It is easy to forget wool amidst the plethora of beautiful synthetic fabrics now available; but at the end of the day, snuggling down with natural wool clothing or bedding makes a great deal of sense.

 

 


 

Nutricentre Discount for laterlife visitors If in any doubt about any of the information covered in health and nutrition related articles and it's relevance for you, consult your GP.

 

 



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