The benefits of raw wool and how to soften it!
Wool is notoriously scratchy. Below are some tips for dealing with this, as well as explanations of the benefits and reasons behind the scratchiness of our wool!
Coarseness of wool is both very normal and a sign of the quality! The reason commercial wool comes soft is because it is pre-battered with chemicals and bleaches to soften and strip the wool. This is counterproductive (and environmentally disastrous!), because wool actually miraculously softens over time and improves with age, but these chemicals reduce the protective aspects of wool and cause it not to last as long. Unprocessed and unbleached wool has numerous benefits! It is odor-resistant, anti-microbial, long-lasting, and temperature regulating. Wool doesn't need to be (and shouldn't be) washed as frequently as other fibers.
The softest wool we've ever felt was an 80 year-old Barnous cloak. It is softer than the smoothest most-processed cashmere. This happens naturally over time but there are some things you can do in the meantime to speed up the process!
1. Soak the garments in cold water overnight and then lay out on a towel to dry. Every time you do this they will noticeable become softer and less stiff.
2. Wear the garments. Wearing out wool, bending and twisting it: this softens it as well!
3. Hang and incense the garments. Traditionally, many people hang (dry) wool garments on a clothes line and sweep incense underneath, this imbues a lovely smell that adheres to the wool and is also known to soften it.
Just a couple tries of these methods and you will definitely notice a difference! Not only will they be softer, but they should also be less stiff and hang more gently, therefore creating a lovely drape to the fabric. With time, we hope these will become your favorite pieces that last for generations.
Here is a video explaining how to take care of wool long term from one of our artisans!