Hundreds of years of selective breeding has resulted in merino sheep capable of producing an extremely fine fiber. One square inch of merino fleece yields almost four times as many fibers as other breeds of sheep.
Possessing millions of microscopic air pockets, a most effective insulator, merino wool naturally reduces the transfer of heat by trapping air between the fibers. The merino fibers are smaller in diameter and more dense than any other wool. Therefore, they trap more air and keep the wearer naturally warm in cold weather.
The fibers also absorb up to 30% of their own weight in moisture, pulling water away from the body, which keeps the wearer comfortable, dry and cool in hot weather.
The extremely fine, soft and crimped nature of the fibers allows for a strong elasticity. Merino wool is water repellent, odor resistant, durable, and anti-static, making it a very versatile fiber for knitting.
Today it is possible to sort and select only the finest fibers from the fleece. The diameter of these fibers is typically less than 1/3 the diameter of a human hair. The smaller the diameter, the finer, softer, and less scratchy the yarn will be. Merino wool produces yarns that can be worn next to the skin without itching, making them ideal for sweaters, blankets and similar applications.