Not only is wool exceptionally warm, but it’s been used for thousands of years by people all over the world to keep warm. From the Andes mountains to Europe to the Himalayas and so many places in between, wool has been used for millennia because it’s just that good at keeping you warm. You may be accustomed to wearing women’s wool sweaters, but have you tried wool blankets yet?
Cuddling up in a wool blanket with a good book and a roaring fire are literally what cozy fall and winter dreams are made of. They are warm, comfortable, lightweight, and aesthetically pleasing. If you love a good throw blanket, you’ll love everything about wool blankets.
Wool will keep us warm all winter, but how? First, wool fibers hold and circulate heat through small pockets of air between the fibers. This circulation lets heat move towards you when you’re cold. These air pockets also make wool breathable, so when you’re hot, the heat moves away from you. The same way that a wool turtleneck will hold your body heat against your body, a wool blanket will also work to insulate you and keep the heat close to your body so that you stay warm. Wool also holds heat through keratin, a protein found in wool and all other animal hair (including ours!) that helps regulate body temperature. The keratin in wool works as another form of insulation for your body. This is another reason wool blankets are so incredibly warm.
It’s no mystery that wool comes from sheep. Wool feels different depending on the kind of sheep it’s sheared from and the way it is processed. For example, Merino wool is a super-soft and luxurious-feeling wool that comes from Merino sheep. Shetland wool comes from Shetland sheep primarily in Scotland. But the common theme is: even in the cold, constant rains of Scotland or under the snow of the Swiss Alps, sheep are always happily warm and dry.
Why? Because of their wool. Not only is sheep wool an excellent insulator that keeps sheep warm in even the harshest climates, but sheep wool also can absorb up to 30% of its weight in moisture. What does that mean? It means that even if you wore your wool blanket out in a snowstorm, you would stay warm and dry. Moisture can cause chilling in cold temperatures, but wool ensures that it soaks up enough moisture to keep you warm. Even if you don’t plan on spending the winter on a freezing mountainside, it’s good to know that your wool blanket is designed by nature to keep you as warm and dry as possible all winter long. Wool can keep you warm, even in the rain. If you want to add a wool blanket to your bedding, you know you’ll stay warm without needing to worry about overheating or waking up sweaty.
While wool is generally associated with sheep, it’s good to point out that wool can also refer to other animal hair fibers. For example, your cashmere turtleneck can be referred to as wool, even though it comes from a goat instead of a sheep. Likewise, wool blankets can also be made from cashmere, alpaca, mohair, and other animal hair. Regardless, since this hair is designed to keep the animals warm, you can rest assured a wool blanket will keep you warm as well.
Wool blankets aren’t just fantastic because they’re warm. They have a lot of other things going for them that make them a well-loved addition to any home. While some wool blankets can be heavy, most of them are lightweight and comfortable. Because of this, there’s no need to worry about layering blankets: one wool blanket can often do the trick to keep you warm.
Wool is also breathable, so you can stay warm and cozy without the bulk and sweatiness that comes with some blankets. And though the fabric gets a bad rep for being itchy, wool has come a long way since those itchy sweaters from Grandma. Advancements in spinning and weaving processes have made wool one of the softest, finest fabrics out there. Plus, just like a good wool cardigan sweater, wool blankets don’t absorb odors or stains, so you don’t need to worry about needing to wash them all the time.
Wool blankets aren’t just some of the warmest blankets around; they come with many other perks that make them some of the coziest and most comfortable blankets you can find.