UTO : Cashmere Library : Facts about Cashmere and Knit

About Cashmere

What animal does cashmere hair come from?

Cashmere comes from cashmere goats. These goats are not sheep, and cashmere is different from wool. Cashmere goats live in China, Mongolia, Iran, Afghanistan, and Russia. The temperature in the places where cashmere goats live is -30C in the winter and +30C in summer.

In the past, European people tried bringing cashmere goats back to Europe and keeping them there. However, the weather in Europe is not cold enough, and the goats did not grow down. Fine, soft, down hair is a God-given gift to protect goats from harsh winters.

There are two types of hair cashmere goats grow: guard hair and down. Guard hair is a much coarser outer coating of hair, and what we call cashmere is the soft and light fibers from the down undercoat. The fine, resilient down is used for making sweaters and scarves. It grows to its maximum length by mid-winter and is harvested in spring.

Characteristics

Cashmere is known for its warmth, airy softness, and lightness. Why is it so warm?

Clothing usually works to prevent the outside air from taking heat away. It helps to maintain body temperature.
What makes clothing fabric warm is the amount of air it can hold. When air blows through fabric, it can draw heat from the body, but when in a static state, it actually prevents heat transfer. Air’s heat conductivity is very low.

Think about a double glass window. There’s air between the glass panes, and it prevents heat or cold from transferring. It is a much better “insulator” than solid glass with the same thickness. Clothes are the same. The essential element is the amount of air they can hold.

Most of our clothes are made from woven and knitted Fabrics.The materials used in clothes are cotton, linen, wool, silk, or synthetics. Each has its unique characteristics and is chosen to suit a purpose. Thread is usually spun to make yarn. The thinner the thread, the lighter and softer it is, and the more air it can hold. Cashmere is the thinnest animal hair available on the market.

Why Cashmere Is Expensive

The quality and the price of cashmere depends on the fineness of the hairs on the fiber as well as the length of those hairs. The highest-grade cashmere can cost 15 times as much as lambswool. The top-grade cashmere is bought by European and American luxury brands and Japanese companies. Being very keen on quality, UTO is one of the Japanese firms that purchase only the best cashmere.

Cashmere fibers are harvested by hand. The process is both delicate and time-consuming, but it causes no pain to the goat. After removal of dust and other objects, down hair taken from one goat weighs only about 170g (6oz). It takes at least 2 to 3 goats to make 1 cashmere sweater.