Technical Characteristics of Cashmere

1- It does not smell after you wear it.  This is because Cashmere is naturally antibacterial properties.  Other kinds of wool, due to the presence of lanolin have more anti-microbial properties.  Cashmere fibers are also more breathable than any synthetic fibers.

Sounds ridiculous, but it is awesome.  Wear Cashmere for a run!  Not ready to sweat in your treasured sweater?  Pick some up at a second-hand store like Salvation Army.

2- It is easy to dye compared to most tech fabrics, which are usually constructed of polyester or other petroleum-based yarns.  Cashmere can be dyed in a simple aqueous dye bath.  Polyester, on the other hand, must be dyed through a more complex solution.  Why?

Polyester is a hydrophobic material.  It repels liquids.  There are three methods that are typically used to dye Polyester: aqueous dyeing with a carrier, high-temperature, and “Thermosol” dyeing.  If you want to learn more about these methods click here.

Cashmere is hydrophilic.  This means it absorbs liquids.

3- It can be 7-8 times warmer than Merino Wool.  Cashmere provides lofted insulation without bulk.  Some claim that Cashmere, only a few millimeters thick can keep you warm below -40 degrees Celcius (which is oddly actually also -40 degrees in Fahrenheit.)

4- It’s biodegradable.  Cashmere is a natural fiber.  Buried in the ground, Cashmere, like other wools, will essentially disappear within 6 months.  Tech Fabrics are usually petroleum-based and do not degrade.

5- You can wear it to work.  Cashmere is regarded as a luxury fabric.  Why?  It is rare.  Each Kashmir Goat sheds only 4-6 ounces of undercoat per year.

 

5 Things you didn’t know about cashmere:

1- Cashmere is a type of wool, not it’s own category entirely.

2- Cashmere comes from a goat, not a sheep.

3- Cashmere fibers are usually between 7 and 19 microns.  Microns are the unit of measure used to describe the fineness of these fibers.  A human hair is about 75 microns and dog hair can be as coarse as 200 microns.  (So much for Knitting with Dog Hair, Kendall Crolius.)  Check it out under a microscope:

 

4- You should hand wash, not dry clean, your cashmere.  Click here to see how to.

5- Although Cashmere is still made in Kashmir, China supplies most of the world’s raw materials to produce Cashmere wool.

You may be wondering, where is Kashmir anyway?  

Thanks for reading this post.  Keep following the fashion robot to learn more!  If you liked this post about Cashmere, you might also enjoy The Fundamentals of Patternmaking for Brands.

Why is some Cashmere so expensive and other Cashmere cheaper? 

What is the argument against Cashmere?

Why is polyester so ubiquitous?