Warm Winter Style: Choosing a Warm Throw Blanket

Winter has settled in, and it's time for hot cocoa, good books and snuggling up in our favorite reading nooks. There is nothing better than finding that perfect cozy blanket to wrap yourself in as the days grow colder.

Finding the perfect blanket can be difficult, especially if you're not familiar with the fundamentals of heat retaining properties of certain materials. Some fabrics are warmer than others, but knitting is also important in determining warmth. Although it may be counter intuitive, loosely woven textile are warmer than tightly knit textiles. This is because the holes and spaces between the yarn fibers trap the warmth of your body. It takes a while for the heat to escape and it builds up inside the blanket next to your body creating superior warmth. So when you're shopping for winter throws, look for loose knits and waffling for the greatest heat retaining quality.

1. Goose Down: Down has the highest level of heat retention of any natural substance. It can also be heavy and bulky to carry around the house, so these blankets are usually relegated to the bedroom.
2. Qivuit: This natural fiber comes from the soft downy undercoat of the Muskox, which is a very old species that has been around since the time of the woolly mammoth. Qivuit yarn is extremely expensive because it is one of the lightest, softest and warmest of all the natural fibers. It is 8 times warmer than regular wool.
3. Angora: Shorn from rabbits, this luxury fiber is light, fluffy, soft and 7 times warmer than regular wool.
4. Alpaca: The fine lustrous fur from the undercoat of an Alpaca, which is a type of camel, retains heat like angora, but it's not as fluffy or soft.
5. Cashmere: Known as the fabric of kings, this textile comes from the undercoat hair of the Kashmir goat. The material is commonly worn as winter sweaters and scarves and is roughly 4 times warmer than regular wool.
6. Wool: This is the working horse of warm fabrics. It's affordable and abundant and despite it's more luxurious counterparts, it will keep you toasty during the winter months.
7. Silk: This is a hypoallergenic fabric well known for its draping ability and its luster, but it also absorbs moisture and reduces humidity, making it cool in the summer and warm in the winter.
8. Synthetic Fleece: A lightweight durable fabric that is made using polyester fibers that can retain heat similar to wool.
9. Flannel: Modern flannel is usually a mixture of synthetic fiber and loosely spun wool. Since most flannel is not 100% wool, it is not as warm as the real thing, but it is softer than wool making it better suited for close contact with the skin.
10. Cotton: This familiar fabric is warmest in thick weaves like herringbone, mesh, waffle and basket. It will retain some heat but it is mainly a breathable affordable fabric that is best in a warmer climate where you don't want to be overheated.

Image: Haley & Ted's Bright White Cottage

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