Six knitwear yarns and their benefits

Woollen jumpers and sweatshirts are the fashionable and functional way to keep warm this winter but do you know your cashmere from your cotton? Read on to learn more.

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Alpaca wool

Alpaca is very silky and fine and contains no lanolin – the waxy substance that makes sheep’s wool water resistant. Consequently, it is suitable for people who are allergic to ordinary wool. Because alpaca wool contains many microscopic air pockets it is also warmer than sheep’s wool. It is also very breathable making it comfortable to wear.

Merino wool

Merino is soft, strong and durable as well as flexible and elastic. It is mostly used for thinner sweatshirts and jumpers that are nevertheless great insulators – you don’t have to look like a Yeti to be cosy in winter!

Investing in quality knitwear like merino jumpers also has a positive environmental impact. The British Wool organisation recently pointed out that wool is renewable, recyclable and needs less washing than manmade fibres. For any discerning gentleman, a wool sweater is a great addition to your wardrobe but choose something classic like mens Ralph Lauren knitwear, with an understated logo and a slim fit. Sites like EJ Menswear offer a great selection of sweaters and knitwear.

Lamb’s wool

“Lambswool” is shorn from lambs during their first year. The wool is fine and made from short fibres, making it breathable, warm and easy to wear. Lambswool is versatile and comfortable and because the fibres are softer it is less likely to cause irritation.

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Shetland wool

Shetland wool is durable and hard-wearing. Its dense weave means that it is great for keeping you warm and dry without being too bulky.


Cashmere is highly regarded for its incredible softness. It is produced from the extremely fine hair of goats and is very warm – up to 8x warmer than sheep’s wool. Cashmere comes with a price tag but because it is durable and hard-wearing it is a very sound investment.


Cotton is a durable and lightweight material and very versatile. It is used for thinner sweaters and jumpers that are not as warm as those made from wool so make a better choice in spring or on summer evenings. It is also very breathable.

So now that you are an expert you can feel confident adding knitwear to your wardrobe for practical and stylish warmth all year round.

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