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Winter local timeless goods

The wool beanie

In this little guide, the Maison Douillet focuses on local resources and regional know-how.

An overview of how a wool beanie is made – with French, natural and sustainable ressources.

Bonnet en Laine Française et Fabriqué en France, de la marque Maison Douillet - Couleur Gris Naturel.
Le bonnet est présenté dans une composition géométrique, entouré d'objets rappelant l'héritage ancestral, montagnard.
Introduction: The Alps

Moutain Beanie

How to create the best beanie?
Which raw materials to choose?
Which people should you collaborate with?

At a time of climate change, when we are aware of the human and environmental impact of production – it is essential to ask ourselves these crucial questions.

The best way to make a beanie is to naturally look at the world around us. Taking an interest in our regions – reconnecting with our cultural, craft and natural heritage.

Through the story of a simple wool beanie – we took a look at the pastoral history of the Alps. We tried to understand the variety and specificity of local natural resources. We immersed ourselves in the know-how needed to transform natural fibres.

Our desire to choose the right method and the right material – in order to design a beanie made from noble, natural, respectful and respectable wool – has given us precious knowledge that we are proud to share today.

Part 1: The Right Fibre

French wool beanie

The best material for a winter beanie is undeniably wool.

Wool has extraordinary physical properties, making it ideal for creating high-quality textiles that are breathable, technical and durable.

These qualities are increasingly recognised – in both urban and technical clothing – and sought after by people who are aware of the value of these natural fibres.

With its versatility, technical properties and renewable production method, wool is without doubt the best material in existence. The kind that can be produced most responsibly, most locally, most naturally – at least.

For thousands of years in France, we have practised extensive, pastoral sheep farming, favouring breeds that have developed quality wool* – fine, robust and pleasant.

This local wool is sometimes devalued and not very highly regarded – and very often imported wool is used to make fabrics or knitwear.

Recently, a group of local operators – from France and Italy – determined to enhance the value of this regional heritage, have come together to breathe new life into quality local wools.

We believe that this local resource – Merinos d’Arles – is the best solution to make the best wool beanie.

Merino wool, from the Merino breed of sheep, has many physical qualities: soft, strong, fine, elastic, renewable, etc.

Most of the Merino wool used in our clothes comes from imports (Australia, New Zealand, South Africa) – often from intensive livestock farms.

In France, we’re lucky enough to breed sheep using extensive methods – and to have some of the finest wool in Europe.

Local wool is a natural, high-quality fibre that is produced in a respectful way – which seems to be the most suitable material for making a wool beanie.

Mohair, Angora, Alpaca, Merino: many French animal species produce quality wools. All these wools are used to produce fabrics or knitwear of exceptional quality – with a host of qualities including fineness, softness, breathability and thermoregulation.

Laine du Mérinos d’Arles is certainly the most versatile of French wools. It’s a sheep’s wool with great elasticity and strength – making it durable and hard-wearing.

Arles merino wool is the natural, local material of choice for a high-quality wool beanie.

*The Mérinos d’Arles is a breed of sheep reared on the Crau plain, which has been home to pastoral activity for over 4,000 years.

Sheep farming has created and maintained a unique eco-system – on this plain and in the alpine and pre-alpine mountain systems [1].

Arles Merino wool is the finest sheep fibre in Europe. It is a renewable and local material with remarkable physical qualities (fineness, softness, elasticity, mechanical strength).

Schéma montrant les qualités de la laine française utilisée pour la fabrication des bonnets de la Maison Douillet.
Détail en gros plan du bonnet gris en laine française, de la marque Maison Douillet. La photo montre la qualité et la texture de la laine, sa couleur naturelle, son aspect brut.
Part 2: The Right Colour

Natural color

Wool naturally comes in a wide variety of colours.

Depending on the species, the fleece can take on very different colours.

In the case of Mérinos d’Arles, a subtle palette – from ivory white to a very deep brown – makes up the fleece.

The combination of these different coloured fibres creates a yarn with multiple hues – uniform in appearance and in detail: complex, mottled, with a myriad of natural colours.

To pay tribute to this beautiful natural diversity, we’ve chosen to make the most of these undyed colours, to create a wool beanie that’s both sober and intrinsically complex.

Did you know? Wool is a fibre whose chemical nature is quite similar to human hair: an assembly of keratin molecules made up of carbon, oxygen, nitrogen, hydrogen and sulphur.

On condition that it has not been dyed with synthetic products – the wool is therefore entirely bio-degradable.

The use of undyed fibres makes it possible to create fully compostable items.

Part 3.1: Manufacturing, The Right Way

Knitted Beanie

Felt, fabric, knitting, crochet, etc. : the way in which wool is worked is multiple – and essential: it gives the work its soul.

For a quality wool beanie – you need to choose the right fibre and the right material.

Knitting is a simple method, yet it gives the final piece outstanding mechanical properties: elasticity, strength, breathability*.

Handmade in Europe for several centuries, its contemporary mastery gives us the opportunity to create modern, technical items.

Machine knitting creates a regular piece of work that is easy to wear, adaptable, practical and enveloping*.

*Knitwear is considered to be a meta-material, i.e. an end product with outstanding mechanical properties. Knitwear – as an end product – has an elasticity and mechanical strength that far exceeds that of yarn.

Integral knitting, or 3D knitting, allows you to create a seamless wool beanie: the work is knitted “in a single piece”. This technique eliminates the need to cut and assemble panels, and generates no knitted fabric waste: it’s a waste-free design technique.

Montage photographique d'une femme en train de tricoter, certainement une manche d'un pull en laine. Photographie au cours du siècle dernier.
Bonnet en Laine Française et Fabriqué en France, de la marque Maison Douillet - Couleur Gris Naturel. Le bonnet est présenté dans un cabinet de curiosité, entouré d'objets naturels et manufacturés, rappelant l'héritage ancestral et naturel montagnard dans des teintes naturelles.
Part 3.2: Manufacturing, the right place

French Beanie

France has a wealth of textile expertise – in the manufacture of fabrics, knitwear, handwork and so on.

Knitwear – the art of making knitted goods – is a historic skill that is still practised in certain regions of France (Loire, Aube, etc.).

This local manufacturing – as well as being based on hundreds of years of practice – is the guarantee of work carried out by passionate people in decent working conditions.

In our opinion, the best way to produce a garment – and therefore a wool beanie – is to rely on regional manufacturers.

The Alpine Beanie

Thanks to our research and sensitivity, we have developed a precious object – the perfect winter companion.
Our wool beanie is made without dyeing, in France and from the best French wool – Merinos d’Arles.
We work with companies specialising in knitwear (independent craftsmen and Entreprises du Patrimoine Vivant) located in the regions closest to us.

Discover:

April 1, 2024

January 22, 2024

December 22, 2023

Maison Douillet