Your Guide to the Feel of Merino Wool
Posted on 10 September 2020
When doing most of your shopping online nowadays, it is hard to judge the feel from pictures alone. So, we put together this handy little guide in an effort to help you make more informed shopping decisions.
Types of Merino Wool Knits
When shopping on our website, you'll see different types of knits described on our product listings. This is to give you a better indication of how it will feel and behave. You'll see terms like jersey knit, rib knit, interlock, etc. These terms describe how the merino wool is weaved into fabric.
This weave of merino wool is your typical t shirt weave. We use it in our merino wool base layers, leggings, tops, etc. The outside looks flat and it feels quite smooth. The inside is a tad more raised, but not overly so. Jersey knit has decent stretch around, which makes it comfy on.
Have a look at your cotton tshirt the next time you are wearing it, this is most likely jersey knit.
Most kids wear this well, as it feels like a tshirt. There is some stretch, and it is generally fairly comfy.
This is probably the stretchiest knit (weave) of merino we have. There is no outside/inside, as it is the same on either side of the fabric. We love using this fabric on our merino wool adjustable leggings as the stretch factor is awesome, and can fit such a huge range of kids even with cloth diapers!
We love to pair it up with jersey knit waists for the kids, so the waist has a better 'stay up' factor, as rib knit stretch recovery is limited.
Great in our mid heavy weight merino tops as well, since it just feels thicker than other weaves at the same gsm, probably due to when unstretched, the fabric is closer together making it thicker. Kids feel factor is pretty good as the stretch factor makes it really comfy on.
Outside examples: cuffs on tops and leggings - look at your child's tight fitting cotton pyjamas, most likely that rib knit is used on the cuffs of the top and the ankle cuffs on the leggings. As you stretch it, you can see how the weave expands and contracts. It's pretty cool!
This weave of merino is basically a double rib knit. Stretch is a tad less than the rib knit weave, though still awesome, and the recovery factor is better than rib knit.
We absolutely love this weave. Awesome stretch, feels even thicker than the rib knit as the same gsm, and is smoother on either side - as the inside and out are the same! We use it mostly in our Heavy Weight Adjustable Leggings, though we've had a few lighter weight ones as well in our regular Adjustable Leggings
We typically pair it with jersey knit waist for better stay up power, but we also have a few pairs fully out of this (rainbow) with the waist a tad smaller to adjust for the stretch factor. It works well, and is kid approved.
Kid factor is high - most kids love this weave, as it is thicker, smooth to touch and next to skin, and great stretch, so their comfort level is high.
Double Knit Jersey
This one is so similar to the interlock knit, it is hard to tell apart! Mostly the same properties of the interlock knit, but less stretch factor. It is still very stretchy, but you can notice the difference if side by side.
Currently we use this in our carbon fleck and Chestnut marle variants for West Coast Hoodies, Shawl Collar Sweaters, and in our Merino Wool Dungarees.
The good stretch and thickness of this, makes it an awesome choice.
Kid factor is pretty darn good. Most kids like the weight and comfiness of it. Good snuggle factor, not as good as the interlock above, but pretty close second.
Rugby Jersey Knit
One of our most durable merino wool fabrics. Which is why it gets used in alot of our products!
This is the same weave of a jersey knit, but a tad more open. Think of it like the same jersey knit as the base layer, but using slightly bigger needles and yarn to knit with. Has all the same great properties of the jersey knit in regards to stretch and recovery. The feel of it is not quite as smooth, but only because the weave is more open. Think of your cotton sheets - the ones with the higher thread count (more finer weaved) feel smoother. The same concept here.
Kid factor is pretty good - TK loved his dungarees when he was small, and his shawl collar sweater. But as he grew, he changed and became more sensitive - so now he loves his merino wool pocket pants from this, but really doesn't like the shawl collar next to his neck. Which is how the East Coast Merino Hoodies were born - the tighter next to skin parts (cuffs and hood lining) are all organic cotton which he loves. Probably why he loves the pocket pants as well - waist and cuffs are organic cotton. EK is a big fan of her Reversible Jacket!
Felted Interlock Knit
Think of this like the interlock knit mentioned above, so the same stretch, but then we felt it up.
What felting does, is it gives us a much thicker product, so we can offer you some great thick merino for winter or diaper care. The side effect of felting is that is becomes rougher, and less stretchy. As you can see a bit of fuzzy on the photos.
Outside example: do you ever have those felted stories where you have a cloth base and the kids have felt shapes they can 'stick' on the cloth base? Or maybe you accidentally shrunk a wool sweater in the wash at some point? It may feel similar to this.
Our felted interlock still has stretch, but alot less than the non felted. If you find that it is too tight in some areas - just block stretch it out - the cool thing about felted wool, is that you can stretch it to fit, and it molds to your body over time - making that comfy factor get higher! See our Merino Wool Cloth Diapering Care for details on how to block stretch.
Kid factor: Some kids are totally fine with these, and some are not. If you have a very sensitive little one, you might want to choose something different. My slightly sensitive TK who doesn't like many wool items tight next to skin, loves his winter bear hat and felted mitts, and lives in them in the winter. The hat after awhile will bug his ears. He'll refuse any leggings from this. EK is totally fine with it all and really LOVES her felted rainbow leggings. - She likes the warmth alot.
Sum it Up!
We try to give you some great products and weigh the pros and cons of all different weaves around. We use knits as they are stretchy, and generally the most comfy for kids.
Thank you for reading! Hopefully this and our Guide to GSM gives you the knowledge you need to be an informed shopper!