We have one love at Feine Cashmere and it’s great cashmere. We always mention the softness, but the knit items made from cashmere are great for their thermal property and the fact that it can be worn directly on the skin without the itching caused by traditional wool.
Cashmere is the downy, underbelly wool from a cashmere goat (Capra Hircus). The goat makes use of this soft belly to protect itself from the cold winters while living at an average altitude of 4,000 meters in the Tibetan Highlands. This landscape stretches from Northern China into Mongolia, but there are also small populations of cashmere goats in Afghanistan and around the world.
As the weather warms in the spring, the goats naturally lose their hair, even rubbing themselves against rocks and shrubs to assist the process. Traditionally, local collect the wool spread throughout the mountains and sort it by hand. For domesticated goats, local workers will comb away the belly hair, sort it by hand and then send it onto a supplier to be cleaned, refined and woven into yarn.
The name cashmere comes from the British spelling of Kashmir, the region in India where the production and trade originated. Historians have traced the usage of Cashmere shawls as early as the 1500’s when Iranian and Indian emperors made use of them in political and religious settings. As a result of trading along the Silk Road, the name Cashmere stayed even though most production has shifted to areas in China and Mongolia.
As this is a natural fabric, there are many variations in cashmere fibers. Whiter wool requires less dye, which can diminish the natural softness for brighter variations of yarn. There is still an ‘art’ to spinning and weaving cashmere fabric which largely affects the look, feel and touch of the final knit piece. Currently, China is the largest supplier of the raw material needed to spin cashmere wool, and luckily for us, having our factory in Shanghai and working with historically great yarn suppliers, allows us to reduce the cost in each final piece.
We love to hear from you! What do you love about cashmere?