When the brisk chill of the winter months fall upon us, there is nothing quite like a cozy wool sweater. Wool sweaters are made from wool, a derivative fiber of the hair of mammals in the Caprinae family. Wool mostly comes from sheep, but specialty wools can include goats, llamas and rabbits. In discussing wool that is made for sweaters, one would include merino wool, alpaca wool, lambswool, Shetland wool and mohair.

Merino is a finer, more comfortable fiber, and many people prefer this type of wool to the other more itchy varieties.

Alpaca is strong, a good quality if you’re going to knit your own wool sweater. It is also very soft and warm.

Lambswool is finer than alpaca, but also soft and comfortable.

Shetland wool is from a coarser fiber, and very good for sweaters.

Mohair is a luxurious fiber that is very soft to the touch and aesthetically beautiful.

When caring for a wool sweater, it’s important to care for them exactly as each direction instructs you to. It’s not difficult, which is a common misconception about wool sweaters, but it does take some dedication. The end result is a beautiful, long last sweater that will give you enjoyment for many cold seasons.

  • First, be sure to shake your wool sweater after every wear. This will eliminate surface dust and nearly detached fiber clusters.
  • Never hang a sweater. Because of the heavy weight of wool, hanging a sweater will cause the sweater to lose it’s shape, and develop hanger indentations.
  • After wearing, allow the sweater to lie flat on a dry surface out of direct sunlight. This process allows the majority of any moisture or body odors to evaporate from the material.
  • Remove “pills” (tiny fuzz balls caused by normal wear) after each wear with a set of small scissors. Do not try and pull the pills off – this will displace other fibers that are attached. Removing pills after every wear will prevent them from building up and rendering the sweater unsightly or worse – unwearable in the future.
  • Once the sweater has laid out for at least an hour, fold neatly, and keep in a cool, dry place. For more expensive (or simply cherished) sweater, you can store these in a garment bag with cedar chips to deter moths. Never store your wool sweaters in plastic. Wool needs to breathe and plastic prohibits this process.