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Merino Retract (Knitwear)

Merino Retract knitwear looks like boiled wool but has the resilience and pilling performance of normal wool.

Merino Retract knitwear looks like boiled wool but has the resilience and pilling performance of normal wool.

Boiled wool is a term given to knitwear that has been pre-shrunk to the extent that it has felted and lost most of the resilience and softness associated with wool. Boiled wool is popular for casualwear because it gives a casual look to garments and an alternative texture.

Boiled wool does however suffer from pilling, stiffness, and is limited to hand wash or dry-clean-only care claims. The lack of resilience means that garment styling has to be loose fitting rather than next to skin.

The technology

Easy care Merino wool yarns are combined with untreated wool yarns during knitting so that during finishing the untreated yarns retract and the knit structure contracts during wet finishing.

The garment is knitted 15 per cent to 20 per cent looser than normal so that the retracted garment does not end up too dense after finishing.

Several trials are normally needed to determine the optimum stitch length and finishing routine especially if fully fashioned garments are being made.

The technique works best in coarse to medium knit gauges, ie <10gg.

The features

  • Contemporary boiled wool looks.
  • Resilience of normal Merino knitwear. 
  • Machine washable option possible. 
  • Tighter fitting and fully fashioned garments possible.