Cashmere products are simply gorgeous. Combining the ultimate yarn softness with warmth without weight, once worn pure cashmere makes every alternative less desirable, nothing compares and, before you know it, you’ve become accustomed to quality. The good news is that a quality cashmere garment will last you a lifetime, but be warned - you may never go back!
Usually collected by combing when the goats moult in spring, the main producers are China, Mongolia and Tibet where the combination of high plateaus, cold dry weather and poor diet combine to produce some of the best and, quite literally, the finest hair. As each adult goat only produces only 4 – 6 ounces of undercoat a year, (approximately half an adult sweater) cashmere is a rare, and internationally traded luxury product.
‘Grade A’ cashmere has a fibre thickness of 14 microns (i.e 14 millionths of a metre) and a fibre length of 34 – 36mm. Colour is an additional factor with ‘white for white’ as it is known, being the most prized as the only colour for white and pastel yarns as opposed to the darker brown fibres.
High and low quality cashmere
The determining factors in the quality of cashmere are the length and fineness of the fibres, along with the colour as outlined above. Garments with long, fine fibres pill less and maintain their shape better than cheaper, lower quality cashmere. The best cashmere ‘blooms’ with each wash and lasts a lifetime.
‘CashmeRED’ yarn uses only ‘Grade A’ cashmere, the finest available.
Laundry care instructionsHaving invested time and money in hand knitting a cashmere garment, caring for it makes sense - and is really not as difficult as you might imagine.
Try to avoid this on a regular basis. The chemicals tend to dry out the fabric and leave a slight residue, as a result of which the fibres can become brittle over time. (Although I would be the first to admit to the convenience and tend to alternate dry cleaning with washing.)
Washing cashmere actually gives the best result, relaxing the fibres and allowing the garment to ‘bloom’ and fully display the amazing softness for which it is rightly renowned. You’ve heard the adjectives ‘whisper’, ‘thistledown’, ‘baby’s breath’ – they all apply.
- Fill the bowl with cool water and add a liquid washing soap specifically for ‘delicates’ as directed. (Shampoo can be used as an alternative as it is low in detergents)
- Turn the garment inside out, immerse, and gently squeeze the suds through it massaging (rather than rubbing) any particular stains along with areas such as necklines and armpits to ensure traces of make up or deodorant are removed.
- Leave the garment to soak for 5 – 10 minutes to allow the soap to do its work.
- Drain washing water, squeeze (do not wring!!) excess water from garment and rinse with clean cool water until it runs clear.
- Squeeze out as much moisture as you can before laying garment out flat on a clean bath towel. Roll up towel to blot excess moisture. (I actually put the roll on the floor and walk on it barefoot to ensure ‘maximum blotting’.)
- Unroll the towel, remove the garment, turn it right side out and then lay it out flat on a clean towel, coaxing into shape with cardigans buttoned, necklines and hemlines straightened etc.
- Place towel and garment somewhere warm and airy, away from direct heat and sunlight to dry fully.
- When dry a quick shake to restore the nap and your garment should be ready to wear/store.
Yes, it can be done with today’s washing machine technology!
- Turn garment inside out and place in a net laundry bag. (To avoid stretching out of shape in the drum – particularly during the spin cycle.)
- Add specialist washing soap (shampoo?) as manufacturer’s recommendations.
- Use ‘wool/delicates/handwash’ programme, followed by ‘woollens/low heat’ drying cycle - or remove after spin cycle and dry flat.
- Remove garment from laundry bag, turn right side out and lay out flat to air.
(I have a friend who washes all her wool and cashmere sweaters like this – to no bad effect that I can see!)
The following abbreviations are those used in our patterns.
- alt. - alternate
- beg. - begin
- C4B - cable 4 stitches (or number stated) back
- C4F - cable four stitches (or number stated) front.
- CN - cable needle
- col. - colour
- cont. - continue
- cr2l - cross two stitches (or number stated) to the left.
- cr2r - cross two stitches (or number stated) to the right.
- dec(s) - decrease(s)
- dpn - double pointed needle.
- foll. - follow(ing)
- gst. - garter stitch
- in(s) - inch, inches
- inc. - increase
- k - knit
- k1b - knit stitch in row below
- k2tog. - knit two (or number stated) together
- ktbl - knit through back of loop(s).
- kwise - knitwise
- LH - left hand
- m1 - make 1 stitch
- mb. - make bobble
- p - purl
- p2tog. - purl two stitches (or number stated) together.
- patt(s) - pattern(s)
- psso - pass slipped stitch over
- pwise - purlwise
- rem. - remaining
- rep. - repeat
- RH - right hand
- RS - right side
- skpo. - slip one stitch, knit one stitch, pass slipped stitch over.
- sl - slip
- ssk - slip one stitch, slip one stitch, knit slipped stitches together.
- st. st. - stocking (stockinette) stitch, knit one row, purl one row.
- st(s) - stitch(es)
- tbl. - through back of loops
- tog. - together
- WS - wrong side
- yb. - yarn back
- yf. - yarn front
- y.fwd. - yard forward
- yon. - yarn over needle
- yrn. - yarn round needle
Interested in carrying Cashmered pure cashmere yarn in your shop? We’d be delighted to hear from you. Contact us for wholesale details.