EXQUISITE SOFTNESS AND LUXURY
Gift yourself or a Friend this Holiday Season
Why in the world is this goat so popular? It's because he has the most popular wool around. Wool that creates for us the softest, most luxurious sweaters around.
Winter is upon us, which means that cashmere sweaters—a staple of holiday gift-giving and cold-weather fashion—have returned to store shelves. Those planning to purchase a garment boasting the label “100 percent cashmere” can expect a hefty price tag; at Banana Republic, one sweater is usually priced at $198; elsewhere, you can find cashmere sweaters for upward of $500
Cashmere wool, usually simply known as cashmere, is a fiber obtained from Cashmere Goats. Common usage defines the fiber as wool but it is finer and softer than sheep's wool. Some say it is hair, but as seen below, cashmere requires the removal of hair from the wool. The word cashmere is an old spelling of the Kashmir region in northern India and Pakistan. Cashmere is fine in texture, strong, light, and soft. Garments made from it provide excellent insulation, approximately three times that of sheep wool. Cashmere is also softer than regular wool. A wool or textile product may be labelled as containing cashmere only if:
- such wool product is the fine (de-haired) undercoat fibers produced by a cashmere goat
- the average diameter of the fiber of such wool product does not exceed 19 microns; and
- such wool product does not contain more than 3 percent (by weight) of cashmere fibers with average diameters that exceed 30 microns.
Why is cashmere so much more expensive than other kinds of wool? Its costly production process and scarcity. Cashmere comes from the soft undercoat of goats bred to produce the wool. It takes more than two goats to make a single two-ply sweater. The fibers of the warming undercoat must be separated from a coarser protective top coat during the spring molting season, a labor-intensive process that typically involves combing and sorting the hair by hand. These factors contribute to the relatively low global production rate of cashmere—approximately 6,500 metric tons of pure cashmere annually, as opposed to 2 million metric tons of sheep’s wool.*
Cashmere wool fiber for clothing and other textile articles is obtained from the neck region of Cashmeregoats. Cashmere goats produce a double fleece that consists of a fine, soft undercoat or under-down of hair mingled with a straighter and much coarser outer coating of hair called guard hair. For the fine under-down to be sold and processed further, it must be de-haired. De-hairing is a mechanical process that separates the coarse hairs from the fine hair. After de-hairing, the resulting "cashmere" is ready to be dyed and converted into textile yarn, fabrics and garments. Cashmere is collected during the spring molting season when the goats naturally shed their winter coat. In the Northern Hemisphere, the goats molt as early as March and as late as May.
In some regions, the mixed mass of down and coarse hair is removed by hand with a coarse comb that pulls tufts of fiber from the animal as the comb is raked through the fleece. The collected fiber then has a higher yield of pure cashmere after the fiber has been washed and de-haired. The long, coarse guard hair is then typically clipped from the animal and is often used for brushes, interfacings and other non-apparel uses. Animals in Iran, Afghanistan, New Zealand, and Australia are typically shorn of their fleece, resulting in a higher coarse hair content and lower pure cashmere yield. In America, the most popular method is combing. The process takes up to two weeks, but with a trained eye for when the fiber is releasing, it is possible to comb the fibers out in about a week.
What does all of this mean for a sweater…Silky soft wool that is light weight, yet warm and irresistibly soft against the skin. I LOVE WEARING CASHMERE!
Above, I am wearing a beautiful purple cashmere sweater from Steinmart...$49.98. I always look forward to Steinmart getting in their Peck and Peck collection of cashmere and adding to my collection. This year I purchased the one above and a gorgeous deep turquoise and a bright pink. I also treated myself with a couple of 100& cashmere scarves ( I have been eyeing these for a couple of years). Steinmart has a wonderful collection of cashmere in v-necks, boatneck, v-neck with collars, scoop neck, cardigans, asymetrical hems and more. Their collection of cashmere scarves is worth the trip to look and see. And they make a great gift at $39.98. Steinmart has the very best prices on 100% cashmere sweaters around! These jeans are boyfriend straights form Old Navy, reptile pump from bostonproper.com the scarf is Steinmart...recent purchase and the faux fur vest is from one of my favorites...amazon.com.
Cashmere sweaters are rarely bedazzled or glammed up in any way, because they are luxurious in their simplicity and gorgeous colors. Their softness is second to none. Beautiful!
A few Steinmart sweaters....some of my favorites...
As the weather gets cooler, you may want to have some of these on hand. They are SOOOO Soft and luxurious, they are very lightweight, not at all heavy like some other wools or acrylics, and they are quite warm.
It has taken Texas weather a while to give us a reason to pull out our sweaters. I am so pleased that right here before Thanksgiving, we are finally getting that opportunity.
Blessings to all of you,
Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. Colossians 3:16-17