Merino Wool is one of the softest and finest wools around, making them perfect for use in clothing items such as coats, jumpers and of course, blankets.
Merino Sheep originated in Spain, but have since become domesticated in Australia and New Zealand, where most of the Merino Wool is exported from these days. The Merino Sheep is bred primarily for it's wool, mainly because the size of a Merino Sheep is too small for meat harvesting.
After decades of breeding Merino Sheep, they could no longer survive in the wild without having their wool sheered at least once a year. Since wool is thick and a great insulator, if left uncut, the sheep can become overheated and eventually die. Wild Sheep wool tends to stop growing after a certain length, but bred Merino Sheep no longer have this quality.
Merino wool is a very soft and fine wool, making it perfect for use in wool camping blankets. It is also used in many luxury products, such as coats, camping blankets, jumpers, socks and more. However, not all Merino Wool is good for making quality wearables. Merino Wool that is sheered from a Merino Sheep bred for meat would not be soft enough for clothing material, hence why there are special breeding programs for Merino Wool to keep it soft and pure.
Merino Virgin Wool is wool taken from a Merino Lamb. "Virgin" refers to the lamb's first sheer and this wool is incredibly soft and has a luxury feel to it due to being so fresh and new. Many products claim to have "virgin wool", however this can also mean that the wool hasn't been recycled or used before in other products. This can cause confusion amongst products, so make sure to already read the label for specific details.
Want to see how Merino Sheep are sheered? Check out the video below which shows an sheering shed in Australia, sheering the sheep and then grading the Merino Wool.
Merino Wool is graded by microns. This refers to the fibers of the wool and the lower the micron count, the finer the wool is. Wool can have anywhere between 10 Microns and as a high as 25. The value of Micron is usually the mean or average of all fibers graded.