The fleece of Merino sheep is soft and fine, resulting in a wool that’s more pleasant on the skin than regular wool. It’s easy to see why these natural fibers are favored by knitters and crocheters, as they’re an ideal material to turn into cozy, plush, and warm creations. When selecting a merino yarn, you should judge it on how it feels and looks, but also consider its weight and its ply—that is, how many strands are twisted together in the manufacturing process. These will affect the structure and stitch definition of your finished work, as well as the needles you’ll need to use. No matter what brand of wool you choose, remember to pay attention to the care instructions. Below are our picks of the best merino wools out there.
1. Sugar Bush Yarn Bold Knitting
It’s hard to fault this versatile, medium-weight yarn from the Canadian company Sugar Bush Yarns, which is satisfying to work with and wear. Made of 100 percent extra-fine merino, it is stretchy and boasts a sublime softness, with rich natural fibers that will make your stitches stand out. This is also a superwash yarn, which means it has been treated to withstand washing—even in a machine!—without losing its structure and color.
2. Drops Superwash Merino Wool Yarn
Feel at ease knowing the origins of this eight-ply yarn. Each skein is made of extra-fine merino wool fibers from free-range sheep in South America; the fibers have then been cable-spun to create strength and high elasticity. Enjoy crisp stitch definition with every project, especially if you are creating texture with moss or seed stitches. This yarn is also superwash treated, so you can toss your creations in the machine on a gentle wash cycle.
3. Tehete Merino Wool
With three skeins per multipack, this light fingering (a.k.a. three-ply) weight option is perfect for projects that require a lot of material in the same color, or for knitters seeking to stock up on supplies. Made in China, the 100 percent merino wool is soft, lustrous, and superfine. The threads also have a pleasant spring to them and resist fraying.
4. Ella Rae Lace Merino Yarn
Every skein from Ella Rae presents stunning color with subtle tonal variations, whether you’re working with an array of charcoal grays or a festive, confetti-like rainbow palette. That’s because each product—made of 100 percent organic, non-mulesed merino—is hand-dyed in small batches in Italy using environmentally friendly processes. Complex and uniquely variegated, these thin and light yarns are also colorfast and incredibly soft to the touch.
5. Living Dreams BAE Yarn
Enjoy next-level softness with this bulky roving yarn, which is a lovely option for making cozy knits. The fibers have been processed into yarn made from a single, lofty strand that allows you to knit or crochet textures while cutting back on weight. Like other Living Dreams products, these yarns are carefully hand-dyed in small batches in the foothills of Mt. Rainier, so each skein carries unique color variations.