Woolly jumpers. How to choose?
"World Famous in New Zealand" is a very common cry here in New Zealand. Kiwis have a different kind of sense of humour and we know how to laugh at ourselves! But some places and industries are more than world famous just in New Zealand - they are world famous all over the world. When people talk about Taupo they talk about our amazing lake, Huka falls, Spa park, Maori carvings, Jet boat rides, Prawn fishing (Yes seriously), the Tongariro Alpine crossing, Orakei Korako for the best bubbling mud and geysers you will find anywhere, Craters of the Moon, Wairakei terraces (for hot springs you can bathe in, utter bliss), Mountains and skiing to die for, bungy jumping and trout fishing that is the envy of in the world. We have probably missed something in there but you get the picture!
The other thing Taupo is also renowned for is it can be a little cold in winter - ok a lot cold. We don't often get snow here but when the wind is blowing from the south it can be brisk, cold and even downright freezing. Coming straight off the snow on our Mountains it is a lazy wind, it doesn't go round you - no - it goes straight through. Now you know all about our wonderful town and the amazing wool industry here in New Zealand and also all about our little Australian problems ( See - Possums) and now we would like to address another question we get often which is what is the difference between Merino, Possum Merino and Alpaca wool.
The Merino is a breed of domestic sheep characterised by very fine soft wool. It was established in Spain near the end of the Middle Ages and was for several centuries kept as a strict Spanish monopoly; exports of the breed were not allowed, and those who tried risked the death penalty! During the eighteenth century, flocks were sent to the courts of a number of European countries, including France, Hungary, the Netherlands and Sweden. The Merino subsequently spread to many parts of the world, including Australia and New Zealand. The Merino was the first sheep breed brought into New Zealand in the 1840s from Australia (so we do have something from Australia that we love) thousands were transported across the Tasman Sea.
We now produce some of the finest Merino wool in the world. Merino is the softest wool and can be worn year round. It is renewable and biodegradable so your old wool sweaters will break down and return to the soil whereas synthetics are made of petroleum and oil byproducts and can take up to 200 years to biodegrade. Merino wool is graded - which just means how thick the fibre is. <17.5 Micron is Ultrafine Merino, 17.7 - 18.5 Microns is Superfine Merino and so on up to 22.6. - < 24 Microns is Strong Merino. The highest quality Italian suits and clothing uses the Ultrafine whilst the Strong Merino is great for carpets and insulation. Such a useful product isn't it.
Royal Merino. Supersoft Extra Fine Merino
Then there is Possum Merino. New Zealand produce some of the most wonderful Possum Merino wool anywhere and it is warm - 55% warmer than Merino alone. Possum merino was developed by New Zealand in 1992. Merino Possum knitwear was developed as a by-product of the possum control program, making the Possum Merino blend an environmentally sound choice.
Noble Wilde. Possum Merino
We also have Alpaca fibre knits because Alpaca too is a very warm fibre. Lets face it have you ever seen a cold Alpaca? Alpaca is softer than Cashmere, warmer than wool alone and water repellent too. So for warmth you can't go past Alpaca. Both Possum and Alpaca are hollow fibres so they trap the heat whilst still being light. Alpaca also has a hidden attribute that should be heralded from the heavens (Is that why Alpaca is called Fibre of the Gods?) Alpaca wool is hypoallergenic! That's right people who are allergic to wool can wear Alpaca wool. Why is this we hear you ask? Well Alpaca is a 'dry fibre' meaning it has no lanolin in it and when people are allergic or sensitive to wool (meaning sheep wool) it is the lanolin they are allergic too. So Alpaca being without lanolin is the ideal fibre for those with allergies.
Royal Alpaca. 100% Baby Alpaca
This is where Jumpers Taupo comes in with a hiss, a baa and a roar! (Did ewe see what we did there?) We stock New Zealand made jumpers and warm 'stuff' for anything that Taupo or any winter anywhere can throw at you. We do Supersoft Extra Fine Merino, Possum Merino and Alpaca. Jumpers (now there's a good idea for a name!), Hats, scarves, cardigans, gloves and vests, sounds like winter is covered!
Question? What is the best wool to use? For soft, light and warm wear Merino Wool, for very soft, very light and extra warm go for Possum Merino and go to Alpaca for super soft, super light and extra warm.