It has been a strange winter and it seems like although it is still wet and windy, spring is only just around the corner. In fact, crocuses and daffodils are popping up already. Although most people will still be appreciating the warmer side of wool, the surprising flip side to the wonderful natural fibre is that it is just as comfortable to wear in the sunny months. Wool has its own version of air conditioning that keeps the wearer cool. Before we delve into this, let us first take a look at what makes wool so marvellously snug.
It is well known that wool is a warm and cosy fabric to wrap up in during the long cold winter months. One of the reasons for this is that wool is a hygroscopic insulator. This simply means that it is a highly absorbent material and can absorb up to 30% of it’s weight in moisture. It can do this whilst repelling liquid and feeling dry to the wearer. This means light showers or a dusting of snow will not be absorbed into the garment.
If wool does get soaked it can be very easily wrung out and most of the unwanted wetness will be removed. In addition, the crimps in wool house micro air pockets which means the air can circulate throughout the garment.
Now, how does this mean that wool can also be your best friend in temperate months?
Remember that wool absorbs moisture from the air to keep the wearer dry? In the summer it absorbs perspiration and very handily hides odour. This is why it is often popular with travellers who may not be able to wash their clothes as often as usual. It is also a benefit that wool is easy to pack without becoming wrinkled or creased.
Synthetic clothes made for mountaineers, incorporating fabrics such as polypropylene already have a rather unpleasant smell to begin with. Many professionals choose wool every time. Not many fabrics are still comfortable or sweet smelling when wet! No synthetic material has come close to offering all the benefits that naturally occur in wool.
It makes sense really. Although sheep are shorn in the summer months, nature must have originally made sure that wild sheep wouldn’t overheat during warmer climates.
It s not surprising that people who live in areas that have extreme temperature shifts choose wool to adapt to their surroundings easily. Obviously wool chosen for the summer should be more lightweight than your trusty winter favourites.
Give wool a try throughout the year and see how versatile this wonder fabric really is!