Why wool mattresses?
Wool is such a miraculous fibre! It has so many practical elements, especially when related to bedding. A wool mattress helps you regulate your body temperature, so you don’t get too hot or too cold. Because of this you sleep better as it reduces the risk of you waking. A wool pillow can be made to be soft or firm or anything in between, while a wool duvet allows your body to breathe. Wool can either be needled and used as a filling material or it can be hand opened and layered in a very traditional wool only mattress. Wool is an entirely sustainable fibre which is great news for the environment and all the wool we use comes from sheep that are shorn every year. Every mattress we make at Abaca contains at least 1000 gms per square metre of organic Welsh wool.
What to consider when buying a Wool Mattress
Mattresses have been made using wool for centuries. From a simple bag that was stuffed with wool clippings to the hand layered wool mattresses which were heirloom objects, a wool mattress has long been something to aspire to. Wool has never been cleaner than it is today as the scouring (washing) techniques have improved so much over the years. A wool mattress will still have that faint lovely woolly smell, but there is no concern about wool giving off any unpleasant gassy smell in the way that some foam mattresses do. A wool mattress will be hard wearing and long lasting if looked after properly and will give you countless hours of perfect sleep.
Is a wool mattress cool to sleep on?
We often get asked by customers whether wool mattresses are cool to sleep on and then by others whether a wool mattress is hot to sleep on! The truth is that wool is renowned as a fibre that regulates your body temperature. The science is complicated, but basically wool is able to absorb water vapour through tiny pores in each hair and this vapour passes through to the heart of the fibre thereby keeping the surface of the wool completely dry. It’s this ability to keep the moisture inside while maintaining a dry exterior that makes wool such a fantastic temperature regulator. Wool can absorb anything up to 30% of its own weight in vapour without feeling damp and releases that dampness back into the atmosphere when it’s able to do so. So no getting sticky and damp on a wool mattress, it keeps you cool in summer and warm in winter.
Measuring a bed for a wool mattress
Wool mattresses are often bought for antique beds which are non- standard sizes. It’s perfectly possible to make a wool mattress to any shape or size but it’s really important to get the measurements right. If the bed is a four poster or one in which the mattress sits within a wooden frame, then having the right shape and size mattress is crucial. Pictures are always helpful, an accurate drawing with the correct length and width even more so. Remember that if you’re putting your wool mattress into a wooden box frame that the mattress needs to be 2 centimetres or so smaller otherwise it’s really difficult to tuck a sheet in.
What sort of bed can I put a wool mattress on?
A mattress that has wool layers as a filling will sit quite happily on any sort of frame so long as the mattress is properly supported. So if you’re using a slatted base, please make sure that the gap between the slats is no more than about 5 cms, ( 2” ). If the gap is much more than that and you want to keep the bed, please give us a call as we have solutions. A mattress made entirely from natural fibres needs to have an under-mattress pad to give it the support it needs, Abaca supply these free of charge with our wool mattresses. It’s always best to put a mattress made from natural fibres on to a base that allows it to breathe. A slatted base is perfect, but if your bed has a box base or is a divan style then the materials inside may well be man-made. You can prolong the life of your sprung or latex mattress by putting a wool blanket between the mattress and the bed base. That will give the mattress a breathable surface to sit on in the case of a divan type bed and will reduce wear if the base is made of wooden slats.
How long will a wool mattress last?
A sprung wool mattress ought to last between 8 and 12 years depending on how it’s been looked after and the weight of the people sleeping on it. Pocket springs are quite small and made of a fairly thin wire and some distortion is inevitable over time. A wool mattress made entirely of fibre will last for very much longer if the mattress is regularly turned. All wool mattresses benefit from being stripped back and allowed to air every now and again and turning the mattress regularly will ensure that the fibre settles evenly. Our Abaca wool mattresses can be returned to have the wool renewed.
How is a wool mattress made?
A sprung Abaca wool mattress will have layers of different types of wool that are securely sewn in place around a pocket spring unit. Each layer inside the mattress is there for a specific purpose, and the result is a superbly crafted luxurious mattress. The wool layer that’s next to the springs is a deeply needled pad that protects the springs, while the layers of wool above provide softness, warmth and breathability. The Abaca Italian style wool mattress is created by hand teasing and layering the wool in a time-honoured traditional way. The layers are slowly built up before a cover is painstakingly hand sewn on. The whole mattress is then hand tufted. Hand tufting keeps the wool in place. The Italian style wool mattresses that Abaca make take seven or eight days to make by hand and are unique in the UK.
Our Abaca organic wool mattresses
Abaca hand make both types of wool mattress in the UK:
This video clip shows a wool and horsehair mattress being made, but an all wool one is made in exactly the same way: