Spotlight: Icelandic Wool Blankets
Wool processing has been a trade in Mosfellsbaer since 1896, previously with the the company Álafoss of Iceland. In 1991, the company Ístex was formed and took over the wool processing. Ístex stands for Íslenskur Textiliðnaður which translates into Icelandic Textile Industry.
Istex is buying the wool directly from the farmers in Iceland and then process it to yarn. The wool scouring is located in the town Blönduós in north of the country and the spinning mill in the town Mosfellsbaer nearby Reykjavik. Istex products are sold all over the world through their distributors.
Wool is a breathable fibre that provides instant warmth unlike synthetic materials. It regulates itself to individual body temperature and really is warm in winter whilst cool in summer. It is also a great buffer against rain, wind and snow. The scientific reasons for these ‘miraculous’ properties are that, in cold temperatures, wool removes (wicks) moisture from the skin whilst at the same time its insulating qualities trap dry air and warmth. In warm temperatures, wool’s breathable qualities draws in air which removes excess heat and moisture from the body, helping the wearer stay cool. To add to that, wool is naturally water-resistant, repelling moisture vapour through its fibres and making it resistant to rot, mould and mildew. The body stays warm even when it's wet so if you’re wearing wooly socks and get water in your wellies, your feet will feel much less cold or damp. Added to that, wool’s unique structure means that it won’t allow the build-up of body odours so you can keep wearing those same socks for days on end. Last century George Mallory climbed Mount Everest in a woolen tweed jacket and, today, participants in extreme sports as well as fishermen, sailors, mountaineers and ski-ers all swear by their wool gear because of its warmth, flexibility and strength. People are rediscovering that wool competes very successfully with high tech manmade fibres in sports wear. In fact merino wool is generally accepted as the "Rolls Royce" option for high performance base layer clothing.
Among Álafoss’ satisfied customers are prominent world leaders such as Hillary Clinton and Ronald and Nancy Reagan, whose thank-you notes are displayed in the store in Iceland. Not to forget the world’s first female head of state, Iceland’s own Vigdís Finnbogadóttir.