Why Is Merino Wool the Best Yarn for Your First Knitting Project?
“When our eyes see our hands doing the work of our hearts, the circle of creation is completed inside us, the doors of our souls fly open and love steps forth to heal everything in sight”. Michael Bridge
The art of knitting serves multiple apparent purposes, from the making of garments to engagement in mathematical calculations required to master both design and fit. But a lot of people find more benefits in knitting than just these two. As knitters become more familiar with this craft, they tend to become more self-confident, relaxed, more generous and more subversive. As knitting becomes part of one’s life, the process and products become the outward expression of their attitudes, emotions and aspirations.
If you are interested in knitting, there are some things you should know before you take on this new hobby. For example, the first time you enter a knitting supplies store, you might be tempted to go wild. And how wouldn’t you – there are so many fun and fancy yarns that you can buy and work with. However, you only need to choose one type of yarn to work with at the beginning and my recommendation is to go with merino wool. Incredibly soft and stretchy, merino wool is a joy to knit with.
What is merino wool made from?
Merino wool yarn is made from the finest grades of wool from merino sheep. Today, Australia produces about 80% of the world’s merino wool. This type of wool is prized for being very soft and comfortable against the skin. Thanks to advancements in technology, today it is possible to sort and select only the finest merino fibres. These fibres have a microscopic diameter – about one-third to one-tenth to the thickness of human hair. The smaller the diameter, the finer, the softer and less scratchy the fabric will be.
High-quality merino wools produce fabrics that can be worn next to the skin without causing discomfort and providing an exceptionally distinctive style. In the knitting world, the term ‘merino” implies an article made from the very best soft wool. Extrafine merino wool is super-premium wool that’s used to create the highest quality knits.
What is superwash merino wool?
When shopping in stores or when browsing online, you’ve probably come across the term ‘superwash merino wool’ as a popular yarn option. What exactly is this fibre and why is it trending? The reason why this yarn is so popular lies in the feature ‘superwash’. This type of wool can be washed in the washing machine. In the past, all-natural yarns that were made for knitting required hand washing. While people loved working with wool due to its warmth, texture and natural properties, they didn’t always choose it because they didn’t want to hand wash every single item that they knitted. And this was especially true when making items for babies, which would have to be washed frequently.
But new technology in the production of yarn has changed all that and today we have superwash merino yarn, which is a natural fibre that has been treated so that it can be washed in the machine. If you are wondering does merino wool stretch, know that it doesn’t. Thanks to its fine fibre, merino wool is very elastic and has the ability to retain its shape after years of wearing it and repeatedly washing it. It will stretch with your body as needed and then bounce back into its original shape.
Is merino wool good for babies?
What differentiates merino wool yarn from regular wool is that each fibre has a silky outer layer that creates an extremely soft, fine texture. This means that merino yarn is comfortable to wear and it’s safe to use for babies with allergies, eczema and sensitive skin. Plus, it forms a natural micro-climate around your baby’s body, keeping it at an ideal temperature in all climates and conditions, all while keeping their skin dry and less prone to eczema.
How to choose merino wool for knitting?
The first thing to keep in mind when you set out to buy merino wool yarn is its quality. Not all merino wools on the market are high-quality, so buying from reputable yarn companies is a good idea. Second, keep in mind the ply of the yarn. The ply refers to the weight of the yarn or its thickness. Experts often recommend starting with the most widely-used weight called DK (double knitting) yarn. But as a beginner, you can also choose to use the thickest yarn weights available. There a couple of advantages to learning how to knit with thicker yarn: individual stitches are easier to see and the thicker the yarn, the faster your knitting project will grow.
The stretchiness of the wool can also determinate how easy or hard it is to knit with it. A yarn with a little stretch in it will be much easier to work with. It allows you to stretch it out to make all those tricky movements you’re still getting the hang of, and the yarn will get beautifully into place once the stitch is knitted.