What is merino wool yarn?

Merino is a breed of sheep that originated in Spain by is now resident across the world. The thing that makes fleece from merino sheep so popular is how soft and fine it is compared to the wool of many other breeds of sheep. When merino fleece is spun into merino wool yarn, you get a yarn that is very strong but also exceptionally soft. Even worn right next to the skin, clothing made from merino wool yarn won't itch or irritate in the way that some woollens can. This makes it very popular in vests and base layers – merino underwear is fine and soft and very warm, and, being a natural fibre, it doesn't get smelly and sweaty in the way that synthetic underwear can. The super-soft finish of merino wool yarn makes it a popular yarn for baby projects too, as it will be nice and soft next to baby's skin. Find out more about yarns that we like for baby knits in our best yarn for baby blankets article.


Which merino blend yarn is best?

As well as yarn made from 100 percent merino wool, you will often see merino blended yarn, where the merino fleece is spun together with a different fibre. Even though merino wool produces a relatively strong yarn compared to many pure wool yarns, knitting yarn made from 100 percent wool is not as strong a yarn blended with acrylic, nylon or even cotton. The merino blend yarn that is best depends on the projects you are knitting. For baby knits, 100 percent merino wool yarn is not always best as it typically is hand wash only, which is not great for little ones who tend to get mucky. Optiong for a merino blend yarn with nylon or acrylic can give you a machine washable blend which is very useful for new parents. And as babies tend not to get overly sweaty or suffer from body odour in the way that adults do, the addition of synthetic material is less of a problem. If you want to add strength to your knits while still keeping them fully breathable, bamboo viscose or silk blends are the way to go, but they can be quite an expensive option. To bring down the overall cost on using merino wool in your projects, opt for a merino blend with other wools which, unless worn directly on the skin, should be plenty soft and cosy enough for most people.

Where to buy merino wool yarn

Merino wool yarn is a very popular choice and you will find a merino yarn in almost all of the yarn manufacturers ranges in some form or another. Check your local yarn stockist to see what is available near you, or else here is a selection of our favourer merino wool yarns and where to buy them online.

1. DMC Woolly 5 merino wool

merino wool yarn dmc

We just love the tactile, cosy quality you get in garments knitting in this brilliant suer-wash 100 percent merino wool yarn. Yarn weight-wise, this is really an American sports weight yarn, which means it will sit between DK weight and 4 ply weight in the UK (see our yarn weight conversion chart for more info) – but we have had good results using this yarn ns our DK patterns because of its puffy, fluffy finish, so you could substitute it on your DK knits – best to do a quick swatch first just in case, mind. The merino is from Australia, and we've been impressed with the range of 33 shade options available and the fact you can wash at 40 degrees, which makes it great for clothing and baby knits. For crochet projects, this works well with a 4mm needle and will give you a fat and fluffy double or triple, great for garments or anything that is worn next to the skin. Comfy and cosy, we are fans!

Buy the DMC wooly 5 merino yarn from Amazon

2. Cashmerino Aran from Debbie Bliss

merino wool yarn cashmerino

When you say cashmerino, you know you are in for quite a treat. This luxurious yarn from Debbie Bliss is a blend of 55% merino wool, 33% acrylic and 12% cashmere. The cashmere fibres make it extra fluffy and tactile while the acrylic blend adds strength and stability – and makes garments knitted with this merino blend yarn machine washable! Colour range is just gorgeous with 32 colours, and the aran yarn weight makes this a very popular choice for baby knits.

3. Rowan felted tweed DK

Merino wool yarn tweedy

Tweed yarns have colour variations within the yarn, so garments stitched have added depth and shading. This merino blend tweed yarn from Rowan has the added feature of being lightly felted, too, which gives a more structured, less fluffy finish to knits. Composed of 50% merino wool, with 25% alpaca and 25% viscose, this is great for knits where you want a bit more form – berets, caps or collars all work well – available in 57 different shades. Take note of the cool machine wash care instructions to make sure you are not felting those wooly fibres any further when washing!

More like this

Buy the merino wool yarn from Amazon

4. Rialto DK from Debbie Bliss

merino wool yarn rialto

Here's a 100% merino wool yarn in a lightweight DK that is perfect for knitted base layers – though the colour range of 34 shades is so lovely you may prefer to keep your knits on show rather than layering them away! We'd love to use this merino wool to knit a pair of fine hand warmers for a super-soft touch next to the skin, or for a headband or hat you can wear all day long without any itching.

Buy the merino wool yarn from Amazon

5. Rico Essentials Merino DK

merino wool yarn essntials

This 100% merino yarn from Rico works out as quite good value for pure merino, with a lovely colour range of 43 different shades in a handy DK weight. We'd use this for soft superwash wool for baby knits – it is perfect for this and amazingly can be machine washed at 30 degrees! It is quite an old yarn but has proved its popularity and we hope it sticks around for a very long time as its stitch definition and finish are second to none.

Buy the merino wool yarn from Amazon

6. Grundl HotSocks Rubin

merino wool yarn socks

Knitted socks are our favourite, and the idea of having merino wrapping our toes just feels lovely! Pure merino would not be great for day socks, as it is not likely to be strong enough to give you a long-lasting heel. But this bespoke sock blend from Grundl spins 50% merino with 25% bamboo viscose and 25% polyamide. The natural fires help keep your feet frangrant and warm, while the polyamide adds the stability you need to get a strong yarn at 4 ply yarn weight. Plus, it is self striping! Six colourways are available and you can sign us up for two of each.

Buy the merino wool yarn from Lovecrafts

7. Rowan Big merino wool yarn

merino wool yarn essntials

Do you like your yarns super-chunky? We are here for you and merino yarns can be too with the help of Rowan's Big wool. 100% merino, Big knits up quickly and gives good stitch definition on cables, while still being soft and warm for a cosy, snuggly finish. Having pure merino in a heavyweight yarn does make each ball quite expensive, but you get a lot of bang for your buck, with 100g of pure merino per ball and a choice of 29 different colours. We'd use it for cowls and cosy leg warmers – it is hand wash only, so not one for heavy wear items.

8.West Yorkshire Spinners Bo Peep

merino wool yarn bopeep

In a practical DK yarn weight, it is not just the cute name of Bo Peep that makes this a good merino yarn for baby knits. 52% merino fires are spun with 48% nylon to produce yarn that is oh-so-soft to the touch and can be machine washed up to 40 degrees. As well as 16 solid colour shades, there are 6 variegated yarns available that will give you a pleasingly tweedy finish on your baby projects. Not just for babies, we'd love this for hand and wrist warmers too, for a strong and washable wear next to the skin.

9. Sirdar cashmere merino silk DK

merino wool yarn

The one yarn fibre that has even more luxe than merino is cashmere ( though we do also love alpaca.... and angora of course.... oh, and mohair). Okay, one of the other yarns that brings a touch of luxury besides merino is cashmere, with its reputation for delicate, soft fibres and high-quality fine knits. So a yarn that blends 75% merino with 20 % silk and 5% cashmere has got to be pretty special – and in Sirdar's cashmere merino silk, it really is. The silk brings a wonderfully smooth and flowing quality to the yarn, while the warmth and softness from the cashmere and merino fibres make it cosy and tactile. 24 shades are available with 50g balls causing around £6 – so not bad for all that luxe!

9.King Cole luxury merino DK

merino wool yarn

This 100% merino yarn from King Cole is a very good option for a slightly more economical merino knit. We love the big value 50g balls that retail for not much more than £4. You can machine wash it on a wool cycle, and this, combined with its slightly lower cost makes it our pick for DK cardigans and jumpers. There is a choice of 33 different colours in the range that's sure to have the colour you are after.

10. Deramores Studio merino DK

merino wool yarn deramores

Much-loved yarn retailed Deramores has stopped trading, but you can still get hold of their own studio merino DK yarn from new owner, LoveCrafts! Spun from 100% extrafine merino wool, this yarn has the reputation of giving a great drape to garments and good stitch definition on cabled projects. The colour range is quite small, with just 15 shades inspired by the natural world, which makes it great for homeware knits and decor projects as the sympathetic hues complement any decoration.

Buy the merino wool yarn from Lovecrafts

11. Cascade 128 superwash yarn

merino wool yarns cascade

When a merino wool yarn calls itself superwash, you know there won't be any accidental felting with these knits – but please don't put it to the test and stick to the recommended hand washing! But this chunky weight yarn is 100 percent merino wool and spun to be stable and steady when wet while still keeping a soft, tactile finish in the yarn. There are 27 shades in the range, and is a great choice for cosy bedrocks and hotter bottle covers to make bedtimes softer and warmer when the nights get chilly.


More like the best merino wool yarn article

Tale a look at out other yarn guides with our best alpaca yarns, best novelty yarns and best eyelash yarn reviews! We also have some brilliant knitting patterns you should try – how about our basic baby hat knitting pattern, our knit crop top pattern or our toe up socks knitting pattern. You are sure to like our pick of the best knitting kits, too.


Hannah BellisKnitting Editor, Gathered

Hannah has worked on Gathered for 3 years, since our launch in 2019. At school Hannah learned to knit collaborating on dorcas blankets – now she edits our knitting section. She inherited her love of stitching and embroidery from her talented grandmother, and her passion for thread led her to be Editor of The World of Cross Stitching for six years. Card making is a more recent passion, developing from her position as editor of Cross Stitch Card Shop. She loves using kinetic techniques to make cards that move – she was editor of Papercraft inspirations magazine for over four years, creating loads of card making video tutorials at www.youtube.com/PapercraftTV.

Comments, questions and tips

Rate this recipe

What is your star rating out of 5?

Choose the type of message you'd like to post

Choose the type of message you'd like to post

Overall rating