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Old 09-27-2007, 09:07 AM   #1
mscarmen
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What is the warmest wool ever?
I can never get this straight. What is the warmest wool ever? I've read that Qiviut is the warmest ever, but in reality one could only afford 1 or 2 skeins. If i wanted to knit a super warm winter jumper and not break the bank what would i use? Alapaca is supposed to be warmer than wool, but how about merino wool? Is that warmer than alpaca still? Because both those are affordable to some extent. And how about blends?
Than there's the question, is bulky warmer than say a fine yarn knitted tight?
Do you spend more with chunky yarns as you need to buy more balls than with thinner yarns where you get more on a ball?
I need a yarn expert!
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Old 09-27-2007, 09:16 AM   #2
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I really think it is a matter of preference. I don't think there are any scientific tests that test "the warm factor" of wools.

Cashmere is warm even if it is a thin yarn. I used Twinkle Soft Chunky for a cardigan and it is very warm, but also very bulky. If you don't love the look of bulky on you, I'd go for a thinner yarn in cashmere or cashmere silk blend. Silk is also an excellent insulator.

I have used Merino Bulky from Handpaintedyarn.com and have been very happy with it. It is warm, incredibly soft and very reasonably priced (7.50 for 165 yards). It can be knit on 10-11 size needles. It makes for a very cushy and thick fabric without the bulky of Twinkle Soft Chunky (or other super chunky yarns.)

I have also used Alpaca and although some people are big fans (and it is warm) I find it a bit itchy.

I wish I could get it together and post pics of these finished sweaters for you to see, but I am really bad about the pictures.

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Old 09-27-2007, 09:25 AM   #3
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I found a cashmere sweater at the thrift store since it fits and is a color I like I'm not recycling it. I was going to wear it to work the other day, but just sitting in the not that warm house, it was too hot. Will have to save it for real winter....
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Old 09-27-2007, 11:03 AM   #4
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Generally speaking, the finer the fiber, the warmer the wool. It's because with a finer fiber, the gaps between fibers can be smaller, thereby trapping warm air in and blocking cold air out.

By that thinking, the thicker the fibers, the less warm it is. So a coarser wool is not as warm as a finer wool. Since merino is a fine wool, it is warmer than other wools, but not as warm as angora, cashmere or qiviut.

However, ALL wools are warm in a sense. I wouldn't wear wool in the middle of summer!

Now, regarding the weight of the yarn. A thicker yarn will make a thicker fabric, thereby making a warmer garment. You can knit a denser thick fabric by knitting a heavy weight wool on smaller-than-recommended needles. Just be careful that the fabric isn't too stiff.
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Old 09-27-2007, 12:38 PM   #5
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Thanks all, your answers have been much appreciated!
So the ultimate would be an angora and cashmere blend in a chunky weight, or maybe worsted weight? or even a angora/merino blend?
Does any one have any thing spring into mind?
I know Berroco used to do one that was angora merino blend, i think its discontinued now.
If anyone can think of a yarn please say so!
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Old 09-04-2011, 10:34 PM   #6
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Possum Merino
This wool claims to be 40 to 55 %warmer than any wool, I can vouch that it is warmer than anything I've ever made before
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Old 09-04-2011, 10:42 PM   #7
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I've read that Alpaca is warmer than wool because the center of the fibers are hollow and that holds the heat.
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Old 09-05-2011, 09:22 AM   #8
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My personal favorite is 100 Peruvian wool. I think the brand name was Cascade. Merino wool is great also. During the American Civil War, Wisconsin divisions were the best dressed troops in the Union army. They wore uniforms made of Merino wool. It was a cottage industry. Wisconsinites were well known for their Merino wool. Merino sheep have many folds so there is a lot of wool on one animal.

I'm not familiar with England's climate in the winter. Here in Wisconsin, we deal with all extremes. We have days in early fall/winter and spring where the temps get around 30-40 degrees. On those days, a sport weight wool yarn is sufficient. You don't want to wear knitted garments with anything heavier because you'll get too warm when you're outside. In January, the temps get down to 30-40 below zero. For those temps, bulky weight yarns are actually too much. A worsted weight is fine.

Most people here run out to the car, start it and warm it up, hop in, and go to work or wherever they go. It's in and out between a heated building, heated car, and heated workplace. They tend to take their mittens and hat off in the car because they're too warm. I think you only need to be concerned about warmth if you're going to be outside doing winter activities or waiting for a bus to and from work like I do.

It's not the weight of the yarn, but the technique. For really cold winter days, we wear a shirt with a sweater or sweatshirt over it and put the coat on over that. Layers are great because you can take something off if you get too warm.

When you look for hat patterns, look at the pictures. A typical beanie hat looks cool but doesn't even cover the ears. It's pretty useless in winter. You generally have to add at least an inch to those patterns for them to be practical. I knit my hats ribbed because it hugs the head better. I make mine with an extra length of cuff to have a double layer over my ears so they don't get cold. My hat measures 10 1/2 inches from the cast on to the top of the hat. This gives me a three inch cuff folded up double over the ears.

Instead of knitting a scarf, I knit a circle scarf. It's like a hat without the top shaping, just a tube. Mine run about 9 inches tall. I can wear it around my neck like a cowl. I have no ends flapping around in the wind. I'm not constantly adjusting it. If it's windy or there's blowing snow, I can pull this up over my face for protection. I suggest hooded jackets to keep the wind off your neck wearing the hat under it. It's warmer. This also gives you more waterproofing when it's raining or snowing.

If you want more ideas on good winter wear and techniques, please feel free to PM me. I think Wisconsinites are the experts of keeping warm in the frozen tundra.
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Old 09-05-2011, 09:39 AM   #9
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My ideal winter jacket is a leather jacket with a hood and cargo pockets for change and keys. Preferably a long one that covers your behind and thighs. These are waterproof in rain and snow. They are light but warm enough for early fall and spring days. In winter, they are very warm if you wear a sweatshirt under them. My leather jacket doesn't have a hood, but I wear a hooded sweatshirt and put the hood up over my hat. I can pull the drawstring tight around my face and tie it when the wind is really blowing.
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