The PROS And The CONS Of Each Type Of Wool
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The pros and cons of each type of wool depend on the animal it comes from.
Alpaca: A versatile medium-weight wool fabric used for many purposes like high-end suiting, coats, blankets, outerwear lining, and bedspreads, alpaca wool is a lustrous material that is soft, lightweight, warm, and durable. There are two breeds of alpaca—Huacaya and Suri—that produce different types of wool: Huacaya fleece is thicker and often used for knit items, while Suri is silkier and used more in woven apparel.
Angora: Taken from the Angora rabbit (not the Angora goat which produces mohair wool), Angora wool is a soft and fluffy fiber that retains the most heat and has the best moisture-wicking ability of any natural fiber. Since Angora fibers are fragile, Angora is often blended with other fibers to make it stronger. Due to a combination of its valuable attributes and difficult cultivation process, Angora wool products are typically very expensive.
Camel hair: A luxurious and warm fine wool with a natural golden-brown color, camel hair is typically combined with other less expensive types of wool to make it softer and more economical. Camel hair coats first became popular in the United States among polo players in the 1920s. Today, the softer undercoat of camels is still used for coats and other apparel, while its coarser outer hair is used as backing for carpets and upholstery.
Cashmere: One of the most luxurious natural fibers, cashmere has a high natural crimp, which results in an incredibly soft and lightweight fabric. Cashmere is costly because it is difficult to obtain (fibers must be combed from cashmere goats instead of sheared), and the cashmere goat produces a very scarce amount of cashmere wool per year. One other downside of cashmere is that it is not as durable as sheep's wool.
Lambswool: Also known as "virgin wool" since it's taken from a baby sheep's first shearing when it's only several months old, lambswool is extremely smooth, soft, hypoallergenic, and is difficult to wrinkle. Since every sheep can only produce lambswool once, it is a rarer and more expensive wool to purchase.
Merino: This superfine, shiny wool is one of the softest types of wool and is perfect for regulating body temperature in both cold and hot weather, making it a popular choice for athletic apparel. Merino wool comes from the Merino sheep, which is native to Spain but today has its largest populations in Australia and New Zealand.
Mohair: Sheared from the angora goat, mohair is a lustrous but durable wool that drapes well and is often woven into a plain weave. Despite being relatively lightweight, it has good insulation to keep you warm. Mohair is often used in dresses, suits, baby clothes, sweaters, and scarves.