WOOL: NATURE'S HIGH TECH FIBER
Less than two years ago, a young man from NYC with an entrepreneurial eye made a trip to New Zealand to meet his future in-laws. His lovely Kiwi bride-to-be took him on a tour extending the length and breadth of this pristine country. What he saw was an incredible number of high quality products not generally known or available in the United States. In particular, the Merino wool knitwear was extremely fine. Enterprising sheep farmers had even found a way to blend it with an unusual type of eco-fur to develop the first new natural fiber in over 100 years.
In researching the products he wished to bring to the US market, we came to an amazing realization: Merino wool from New Zealand is truly the high tech fabric, engineered by the best developer of all Mother Nature.
Walk into any sporting goods store these days and what greets your eyes is a colorful assortment of clothing made from carefully engineered synthetics. Each purports to be the best at whisking dampness off the skin while being light-weight and flexible. Independent tests repeatedly demonstrate merino wool is the most absorbent fabric ever developed. It easily absorbs 10 times its weight in moisture without feeling wet. Further, only superfine merino wool can absorb moisture vapor from the environment (your skin) and repel liquids (rain) at the same time. This environment also controls odor build up over time.
It seems that wool creates its own microclimate providing constant moisture management and heat control to act as a buffer, protecting the wearer just the way it protects sheep from weather. Superfine merino from New Zealand has been tested for flexibility and durability too. It literally blows away the synthetic competition. Wool is so springy and strong, it can be bent 30,000 times without breakage or damage to the garment.
Thatís why Superfine Merino wool which is lighter than most synthetics, and silky soft is an ideal choice for the all important underlayer that sits against your skin under cycling, ski or snow boarding outerwear.
Silky soft? you say with some skepticism. Now Iíll let you in on another little secret. When wool fibers are laid parallel before they are twisted into yarn, the result is so smooth, especially if you are working with superfine gauge merino wool, the fabric when knitted into scarves, sweaters, socks, baby blankets and other clothing feels like cashmere or silk.Thereís no scratchy feel to it at all!
So why are some people allergic to wool? Like any mammal - including humans - sheep absorb pollutants and other environmental irritants into their hair or wool. Thatís why some people who are allergic to commonly grown and processed wool find Organic wool does not seem to cause the same allergic problems. Wool from clean, green farms under the strict supervision of New Zealandís Bio-Gro organization, is generally so pure that allergens common to wool raised elsewhere donít get into the wool to bother us. I nominate Mother Nature for Engineer Extraordinaire!
Written by: Sue Mirialakis, Lands Downunder International, LTD
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