- an interview with our friend Amy Philip, wool lover and founder of Button and Blue.
Amy is a Brighton based knitwear designer specialising in natural woolly fibres. Her love for wool came about from working in a local Brighton yarn store where she got to research the different fibres. She loved learning about fibre properties and how different fibres are useful for different purposes, whether it’s for the home or for baby skin. With our new merino collection, we thought we’d ask Amy some questions about merino, it’s benefits, and how to get the best out of our merino by caring for it well.
What are the benefits of wool?
Wool is really a wonder fibre! It’s an effective insulator, while remaining breathable making it useful in all seasons and climates. It’s naturally elastic so that it is comfortable to wear, stretching to fit the body well. This stretchiness also makes it resilient, so that it easily returns to its natural shape without sagging or tearing. It’s also good for our planet by being a renewable fibre source as well as being completely biodegradable, decomposing quickly in the soil, releasing valuable nutrients back into the ground. In fact, science is yet to produce a fibre that matches wool’s unique properties.
Why choose merino wool?
Merino is the perfect fibre when it comes to dressing babies and children. It produces one of the finest, softest fabrics that feels comfortable and cosy against new baby skin. It also acts very much like a ‘second skin’ helping to regulate body temperature. The fibres themselves are particularly fine and when packed into fabric contain a high number of air pockets. These trap in body heat providing insulation and warmth, while remaining breathable too, making merino clothes comfortable for all-weather wear.
How to care for your merino?
Merino is incredibly durable, its natural elasticity making it unlikely to tear or to become misshapen. It’s ability to mould and fit the body means that to some extent merino clothes grow with your baby and last a long time. However, in order to get the best out of your merino, it is essential to care for it properly.
Different merino fabrics will have different washing instructions and it is highly recommended that you carefully check the care instructions before washing. If machine washable, a gentle wool cycle will work best with a lower temperature and slower spin cycle. If the garment requires hand washing use tepid water with a neutral, mild detergent, immerse the garment in water and gently massage the fabric, focusing on the areas that need a bit more of a clean! Then leave it to soak for around 20 minutes, rinse under a running tap and then squeeze out as much water as you can being careful not to twist and wring.
Tumble drying will ruin wool fibres, causing them to felt, shrink or bobble so it’s best to air dry merino. A good tip is to lay the clothes out flat and leave them to dry, rather than hanging them up. This means once dry they will be completely crease free and there will be no need to iron (especially as ironing can also ruin some merino fibres, again check the label!)
Bobbles or pilling occurs when small fibres break off and gather up into little balls. This is completely normal for wool fibres and usually happens at the areas where there is highest friction, like under the arms. Some tips to avoid bobbles are:
- wash the garment inside out.
- don’t overload the washing machine/hand washing bowl
- don’t bleach as this weakens the fibres causing them to break more easily
- use a fabric comb or razor to gently shave away bobbles.
All of these wonderful properties make merino very useful for a little one’s wardrobe. We are all about layering this season and merino is an ideal addition to a layering capsule wardrobe. A soft merino vest next to the skin will provide all those temperature regulating benefits. Layer on top your chosen outfit and complete with a warm merino jacket or body suit to keep in maximum warmth when out and about. Comfort delivered (and very cute too!)