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What is Merino Wool?

Merino wool comes from Merino sheep breed and is much finer and softer than regular wool. Merino sheep are tougher than other sheep.  They can live in extreme climates of the mountains where temperatures ranging from -20 C° up to +35 C°. (4 F to +100 F).

Merino wool is thinner than regular wool.  The thinner it is the softer and more versatile it is.  Strength and durability is another advantage of Merino wool.  The fiber is long can be bent 20,000 times before it breaks where cotton breaks after 3000 times.  It also has a natural crimp which increases its durability and resilience.  It stretches easily and makes it warmer.

History of Merino Wool

Merino wool had its beginnings in Spain around the 12th century.  Spain dominated the fine wool industry for the next 400 years.  It was so profitable for Spain that taking a Merino sheep out of the country resulted in death until the 18th century.  The Napoleonic Wars ended Spain’s domination of the fine wool industry.  Merino sheep arrived in Australia in the late 1700’s. In the next 40 years, the numbers grew to become a dominant presence in Australia.  The first Merino sheep to arrive in New Zealand were brought in from Australia by Reverend Samuel Marsden in 1814.  Thousands were brought into New Zealand over the next 50 years.  They were not always the best quality so New Zealand breeders imported sheep from Germany, France, UK, and USA to improve the stock.  With its unique breeding New Zealand Merino wool has become known as some of the best wool in the world.