Benefits of Knitting with Merino Wool

April 12, 2022 2 min read 0 Comments

Benefits of Knitting with Merino Wool

High quality knitting is synonymous with merino wool. The indisputable advantages of creating hand knitted wool garments are plentiful. Merino wool is one of the world's most popular fabric materials, but the history of the fiber is not commonly understood.

History of Merino Wool

It is thought that the first Merino sheep lived in southern Spain as early as the 12th century. Some historians think that the Merino sheep was imported from Morocco, while others believe it was the product of cross breeding between a sheep and a ram. In modern times, the Merino sheep are carefully bred to produce the finest possible fibers. The first recorded production of wool from the Merino didn't occur until the 15th century. By the 16th century, wool had become a staple of the Spanish economy. In fact, Merino sheep were smuggled out of Spain until the 18th century when it finally became legal to export the sheep throughout Europe. 

The Napoleonic wars collapsed the Merino trade in Spain; however, Merino sheep had spread to Australia. By 1810, more than 30,000 Merino sheep were raised in Australia and they thrived in the sub-tropical climate. Today, Australia boasts more than 53 million Merino sheep and it remains the sheep capital of the world. 

How is Merino Wool Made?

The process of making Merino wool can be broken down into five steps.

1. Shearing

The Merino sheep is shorn and the wool is gathered for the next step.

2. Cleaning

The wool is cleaned, sorted, and then carded into strings.

3. Spinning

The wool is spun and loaded onto reels.

4. Weaving

At this stage, the yarn is weaved or knitted.

5. Dyeing

The fabric is dyed and treated.

Benefits of Merino Wool

Merino Wool V Tee

Typically the first choice for knitters, Merino wool has several benefits.

Breathable and Absorbent

Garments made from Merino wool are breathable. The surface of the fibers are hydrophilic, allowing them to remove perspiration. The interior of the fiber absorbs moisture without feeling wet or cold. This combination makes for a comfortable wool garment.

So Soft

Merino wool is super fine and silky soft. Garments made from this wool are luxurious and silken. It outperforms cotton in every way and is thought to be one of the most coveted and comfortable fabrics.

Thermally Inert

Merino wool is exceptional at creating a microclimate for your body, adjusting to the environment. This versatile garment can keep skin warm from the cold and also protect against heat. As an added bonus, it also protects naturally from UV rays.


Since wool is made of mostly protein, it successfully traps viruses and bacteria and prevents them from multiplying. The antibacterial properties keep woolen garments odor-free, even after multiple uses. 

Here are a few of our favorite hand-dyed Merino yarns:

Also in Zen News

What's New in Knitting in 2022
What's New in Knitting in 2022

September 27, 2022 2 min read 0 Comments

Knitting is no longer your grandmother's hobby. This year has brought newfound knitting excitement among younger generations, who are concerned with self-sufficiency and sustainability.
Read More
Reasons why we knit
15 Interesting Reasons Why Knitters Started Knitting

September 23, 2022 4 min read 0 Comments

Think back to when you first picked up those knitting needles and created your very first stitch. There was a reason that you chose to knit in that moment. And many knitters pause and then come back to the hobby that feeds them in so many ways. We have gathered our favorite reasons for knitting and are happy to share them here.
Read More
Quick Guide to Cable Knitting
Quick Guide to Cable Knitting

September 13, 2022 3 min read 0 Comments

If you have admired the beautifully textured raised columns or twists on knitted sweaters and blankets and think that you don't have the knitting skills to create them, keep reading. Cable knitting is surprisingly simple to work. The idea is that when you knit groups of stitches out of their usual order, it creates texture and shaping. There are an unlimited number of knitted cable combinations and new ones are being discovered all the time. Our hope is that this guide to cable knitting will encourage you to use this type of knitting to create new and exciting projects.
Read More