I’ve Purchased 1,072lbs of Raw Wool. (Email #3)

I’ve Purchased 1,072lbs of Raw Wool. (Email #3)


Snailiens, happy Wednesday! It’s Michael: how do you do?

First off, I’d like to thank you all for filling out the wee T-shirt survey; it was quite eye-opening! Some of the coolest graphs are below.

In other news, the first sample T-shirt came in! There are a few details I’m changing and a few modifications I’d like to make before I show fit, details, etc. Either way, it’s always THRILLING to get a sample in the mail. The lead time for our custom knit is 8 - 10 weeks, so I’ll place that order today or tomorrow. 


Anyway, I’d like to clue you in on a secret project I’m working on. There are currently three “Secret-Snail Projects” but I’ll only be revealing one today. The other two aren’t quite at the show-and-tell level yet.


I’d to call this next section, “Michael’s Obsession With Fabric Science. AKA The Perfectly Balanced Wool for The Modern Overly Detail Orientated Shopper.”

Michael’s Obsession With Fabric Science. AKA The Perfectly Balanced Wool for The Modern Overly Detail Orientated Shopper.

a.k.a. beyond merino.

I’ve recently learned, that in the industry, there is a title for clothing brand owners that are VERY particular about their wool. They are called: “Wool People” and I am proudly one of those people. I was knighted with this title during a meeting with a manufacturing partner in NYC. 

These pictures are not taken by me but are from the farmer we’re working with (more info below).

For the most part, wool is sold by grade, not by breed. This of course is nuanced (because breed does play a large role) and it raises a lot of confusion when people are shopping for wool-based products. I’d say the general population knows: Shetland, Merino, and Cashmere. Shetland is associated with heritage/coarse tweeds, Merino is the soft “super wool” of today, and Cashmere is pure luxury.

All three of these wools have their strengths and weaknesses. Cashmere is incredibly soft and warm but the most delicate, Merino isn’t as soft but it’s stronger and not as rare, and Shetland is coarse and the strongest of the three. This is due to the fiber’s micron (thickness), staple length, and crimp level. These three values affect warmth, durability, and comfort. 

Sheep don’t have an exact micron throughout their wool; it’s always a range. You could in theory get a softer Shetland sweater or a coarser one depending on the fibers you choose. You can also mix fibers (90% ‘Wool’, 10% Cashmere is common) to get a soft yarn with a good amount of strength, etc. This is why wool is typically sold by grade. People care more about durability, softness, and warmth than a specific sheep breed. With that being said, if we go breed specific, we can get WAY more detailed and in the weeds. So that is what we are going to do.

I love high-quality Merino (a lot of brands cheap out and use a cheaper, short staple fiber which is a bummer) but I believe we can go further. This email is getting too long so I won’t say much but in short: a lot of breeds are crossbred with Merino to combine their characteristics with Merino’s legendary softness. There is one sheep breed that was developed by the U.S. Sheep Experiment Station in the late 1920’s in particular that I’m quite fond of. 


Choosing to work with this sheep breed means we’re sacrificing a small amount of softness (but it’s still a very fine wool meant for next-to-skin use) but gaining a ton of strength/durability, elasticity, and perhaps warmth (more on the perhaps section in a later email). Aka we get an extremely durable, next-to-skin comfortable, beast of a product that should surpass most products in its class.

This is the closest I’ve worked on a product so far. All of the wool fiber for this project is coming from one farm in Wyoming where I’ve met the owner (and will be meeting the sheep soon), the fiber is being turned into yarn in Wyoming, and then…the rest will happen somewhere else in the USA. That part is a surprise. 

The project has been extremely fun so far if I’m being honest. I’m getting really into the US wool market and am learning a ton every day. The farm, spinners, and ~others~ are all also fantastically nice people and seem to be EXTREMELY excited to be working on this project (not to brag but one of our partners said ‘This project is incredibly refreshing.’ 🥹). It’s still an experiment and I’m very nervous about it but I’ve already purchased the wool. So I guess we’re in it for the ride no matter what.

STRAP IN! Talk soon!

  • Michael 
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