What is cashmere?
Cashmere is the under down shed annually by goats living in the high, dry plateaus surrounding the Gobi Desert, which stretch from Northern China into Mongolia. These goats have a coarse guard hair that repels the weather. Under that outer coat lies a much finer fiber, cashmere, which insulates these animals from the bitter cold. The best cashmere is grown at the altitude of N¡ã48 with its ideal length and handle for making high quality knitting garments. That's why similar looking sweaters have very different prices.
What is pure cashmere sweater?
A cashmere sweater is knitted using over 95% of cashmere is internationally regarded as pure cashmere sweater. A sweater is made of cashmere and other blends can be tagged only as cashmere sweater, while proportion of other fibers are clearly marked on the tag or label. For instance, a cashmere sweater made from cashmere and silk, the tag will show cashmere 55%, silk 45%, a sweater of this blend can be less expensive than pure cashmere sweater in the same branding.
Why is cashmere so expensive?
The harsh geography of this area of the Gobi Desert supports a very limited number of goats. It takes one of these rare goats four years to grow enough cashmere for one sweater. Each goat is combed by hand every spring. Then the fleece is collected and sorted by hand. Cashmere sweaters are usually knit on hand-operated machines. Therefore, the scarcity of the fiber and the handwork required converting that fiber into a luxurious garment both contribute to cashmere's price.
How do I judge a good cashmere sweater?
Your fingers are very good judges. If a cashmere sweater doesn't feel smooth, soft and luxurious, don't buy it. The other critical factor is density/weight. Pull the sides of the sweater apart and then let them go. The sweater should snap back to its original shape. Loosely knit, limp fabric is the hallmark of a cheaply made sweater. A good sweater should feel hefty and substantial even if it is lightweight.
What are the differences between European and Asian made cashmere sweaters?
The world's best cashmere comes from China and Mongolia. Chinese garments have the highest level of handwork and because the labor cost is relatively low, these garments usually have good value. European garments have exceptional style and color, which offsets their higher price.
What causes pilling?
Pilling is caused by the abrasion of short fibers into small balls on the surface of the fabric. Some pilling will occur in most new sweaters, especially those worn under other garments. But the problem will not persist in a good garment after the first cleaning. Persistent pilling is the result of a high percentage of short fibers combined with a loosely knit fabric. Lower quality manufacturers use shorter fiber because it is cheaper. Pilling is a natural occurrence on cashmere and wool. However, a quality sweater should not pill excessively. The pilling is usually caused by a friction of some sort; such as a seat belt, purse strap, or even synthetic linings of jackets. When pilling occurs, pull or carefully cut the pills off, breaking the connection. Then wash the garment according to the above instructions.
Why do lighter sweaters feel softer than darker ones?
Dyeing harms the feel of all natural fibers. Most Chinese cashmere is naturally white. So it takes more dyeing to convert it into a darker shade. Experienced producers can minimize but not eliminate the difference in "handle" between lights and darks.
How long will a cashmere sweater last?
That depends on he quality and how it is worn. Under normal wear circumstances a well-made cashmere sweater should last many years.
What is Pashmina?
Pashmina is a textile, which became popular in the West in the late 1990s. It is very soft and warm, and used primarily in scarves and shawls. The word is derived from the Persian word pashm, which refers to the undercoat of fur on many animals - in this case, the goat.
Most commercially available Pashmina is actually a blend of pure Pashmina wool and silk. Pashmina made from cashmere is becoming very trendy in late 90s. With special treatment, Pashmina has a silky handle with lightweight, Pashmina use cashmere blends with wool and silk spanned in high yarn counts. As a general rule, the higher the content of cashmere, the higher the yarn count, the more expensive the textile.