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One of the most requested and appreciated materials in the season of cold temperatures is the cashmere. Sweaters and sweaters, scarves and dresses. It is a soft security in which to take refuge when the cold peeps and until at least the beginning of February it does not abandon us. More and more shops sell it, stalls and online shops, it is important to be aware that it is not always about quality material, we must learn to recognize it and choose what is worth the expense. Sweaters at bargain prices of these fibers do not exist and the quality has a price but it lasts. These are clothes that will continue to protect us for many winters.
The name of this material is linked to the animal by whom it is obtained. Its fibers come in fact from the fleece of goats belonging to a very particular species, raised in countries such as Iran, Russia, Afghanistan, Turkey and India. They are usually called cashmere goats, in English Kashmir goats.
Not all goats of this species produce fibers of the same quality, some have more valuable ones and it is precisely the case of the goats that live on the highlands of Chinese Inner Mongolia. The fibers obtained from their coat are particularly fine, even measuring 14 - 15 µ, and also uniform and long. This results in sweaters and dresses that are particularly soft and velvety to the touch.
We stay in Mongolia to observe how the fleece of these animals can be transformed into wool. Two types of fiber are produced here, the brown one and the white one, depending on whether you are in the north, of the Gobi desert, or in the south, in Inner Mongolia. White is the most precious of all.
In these areas it is really very cold and the goats have two coats, a double layer. The first is the one that you see on the outside and that is rougher, composed of coarse hair, then there is the softer hair that looks more like a short, thin and very hot down, which is in contact with the body and is said "Duvet". The suitable period for the collection of the hair is spring when the shepherds begin to cut the outer part of the hair and then arrive at the softer one, to be collected with long-toothed beds.
The time comes to divide the outer hair from the duvet, keeping the latter separately, which is the one from which real cashmere is obtained. After the hair is cut, the washing and then the degiarratura, a process that makes the fibers purer and eliminates as many black and yellow hairs as possible. It is a beautiful selection that ensures a pure and quality material but which also reduces the quantities produced. A single Mongolian goat produces only about 150-200 grams of fiber after de-grating cashmere usable on about 2 kilos of integral mantle. It is about 10% and another 10% of this conserved quantity, inevitably it is lost during spinning.
From the numbers we have just seen you will have understood that it is not at all trivial to obtain cashmere, which is why if it is of quality it cannot fail to cost a lot, despite the laws of competition and the market. When compared with wool, however, this material is evidently of a completely different kind. It is softer and shinier, has shinier tones and is also isothermal. These are qualities that are immediately noticed, to the touch and sight, without being great experts.
If the analyzes are continued, with the microscope, you can see the hair is composed of less clear scales than those of wool and with spaced edges and smooth corners. This is the reason for its unique quality.
Among the advantages of cashmere first of all we certainly find softness and it is not just a whim or a luxury, but a convenience and comfort when you wear a garment made of this material and you notice that our skin likes its delicacy. With very sensitive skin the cashmere it is one of the few wearable fibers.
Since these are winter clothing, it is naturally important that they have the ability to maintain a constant temperature. These fibers have the advantage of thermoregulate so in winter they keep warm and in summer they are cooler, they adapt to the context, they also absorb both internal humidity - sweat - and external humidity, because they are hygroscopic, and do not attract dust because they are not subject to fields
electromagnetic or electrostatic.
If you have already bought and washed a pure garment cashmere you may have noticed its strange attitude when it encounters water. Its fibers react by loosening when they get wet. This means that they felted much less than wool, thanks to the different types of flakes that can only be seen under the microscope. Today, those who love to dress with fantasy, find in cashmere many colors in which to range, at least 7 from white to brown, to gray to reddish, durable.
If you are wondering if there are any flaws, the answer is yes. Unfortunately, this material is not as resistant as wool, and it does not last forever but if we wash it carefully and keep it neatly protecting it, it will stay with us for many seasons. And then there is the problem of pilling one of the most frequent defects. This is the appearance of fluff and small balls of fiber as a certain garment of this material is used. As this phenomenon increases and takes over, our sweater will look older and shabby. Thanks to new technologies and research, today it is possible to obtain fibers that are increasingly resistant to this phenomenon.
Cashmere: how to choose
When we are faced with the heads of cashmere, to evaluate the quality we must rely on some precise criteria. In fact, there is a real standard for the classification of the beauty and therefore of the price of this raw material. What is evaluated are the color, purity, finesse and length. The best is the lightest, thinnest and longest one, without jars or black hairs. Obviously it will have its price.
There are also some tricks to understand if the garment we are buying really comes from Mongolia. In theory it would be important that producers and importers of knitwear indicate for each product the origin of the raw material and the yarn, together with the place of packaging of the finished garment, if long or short fiber, if pure cashmere. In short, all the information necessary for the end customer to evaluate, a bit like it happens with food products which by law must have very precise labels.