The CASHMERE edit: tips&tricks
So what's the deal with cashmere anyway? We're all wondering 'does it has to be this expensive?'. But on the other hand, it is über soft, but still. Does it come from extremely soft sheep or another fluffy animal? How do I take care of it? Well, here's a little list of fun -and interesting- facts about cashmere.
1. WHERE DOES IT COME FROM?
Cashmere has got its name from a special little goat that lives in India. The name of that goat is Kashmir. That's an easy one, right?!
2. IT TAKES 3 TO 5 GOATS TO MAKE A SWEATER
Say whutt?? Yes, indeed. It takes the wool of 3 or 5 of them little goats. You can only image how long it takes for them to grow some wool.
The diameter of a piece of cashmere yarn is under 19 microns (1/10th the diameter of a human hair). And pashmina, the finest grade of cashmere, is a mere 12-14 microns thick. For example, if you were to comb the wool off one Cashmere goat, it would take you 4 years to gather enough hair for one standard sweater.
3. WHY IS IT SO EXPENSIVE?
First of all there's a high demand and a limited production and there you have it. There are only a few areas where the cashmere goats can be bred. So that limits the yarn production.
Also it's a very specific process of production. Cashmere wool is obtained with combing of the lower hair (the lower layer of hair) from the little cashmere goat that provide cashmere wool. Each Kashmir goat is capable of producing (on average) only 4-6 ounces of fiber per year. Cashmere goats are only sheered during their molting season in spring. The spring season provides a limited window of opportunity to sheer the hair and produce the wool, making cashmere very expensive.
4. IT'S NOT ITCHY! YAY!
Cashmere fiber is much like sheep’s wool, but warmer and not itchy. It is lacking in lanolin, which makes it hypoallergenic and also allows it to be processed without the need for high temperatures or harsh chemicals in washing.
5. WARMER THAN WOOL.
Cashmere absorbs and releases water vapor as humidity rises and falls, which is why it works so well as a natural insulator. According to experts, cashmere will keep you warm 8 times better than ordinary wool.
6. HOW TO TAKE CARE OF CASHMERE
Once you've invested in your cashmere piece, the most important thing to know is probably how to take care of it. The better you take care of it, the longer it lasts and the prettier it stays. Here a few guidelines for how to wash, dry and store your cashmere babies. (source: www.cashemeremania.com)
If you take a close look at the tags of your cashmere clothing, you will probably find a Dry Clean Only line on it. While it is true that dry cleaning is very effective for washing cashmere, it is also true that this cleaning method is costly. There are situations in which we need to wash the clothes in a short period of time and such practice can cost you a small fortune. As always in the real world, there are alternatives and when we talk about cashmere, there is another practical method of washing: the do-it-yourself hand washing. In order to perform hand washing you will need to use scentless dish soap or baby shampoo. In addition, you can also use a small quantity of detergent designed for delicate clothes.
1. The washing procedure is simple, all you need to do is to pour the baby shampoo or scentless soap in sink filled with lukewarm water.
2. Next, make some foam with your hands by swishing the piece of clothing. It is crucial to squeeze the item through the water gently.
3. After that, slowly squeeze the solution out of the item and replace the water with fresh, plain water. The main objective is to completely remove the traces of soap or detergent.
4. Keep in mind that everything should be performed carefully, gently and slowly
This is the second part of the procedure because even drying of cashmere clothing requires special attention. Once you squeeze (don’t wring or twist the item) the water, you should place the item on a towel. Push the item carefully so that the towel can absorb the excessive water. Take another towel and place the clothes there. Leave it at room temperature and wait until the item is completely dry.
Storing is equally important for the look and quality of your cashmere products. People usually store these products during the summer period. The basic rule is to store them once you wash them. Make sure that they are completely dry and clean. In addition, make sure that the drawers are clean too because insect residue, dust and dirt can damage cashmere. Moths are one of the biggest threats when it comes to cashmere products. It is always a good idea to use some kind of moth-repellent (preferably natural) in order to reduce this risk.
For even more information or tips&tricks about cashmere, visit: www.cashmeremania.com.
7. CASHMERE x LILY
We love cashmere! Though it can be quite expensive, we do appreciate a good decent piece in our wardrobe. And especially now we know where that price comes from. We believe every woman must own a good cashmere piece. Whether it's a classy scarf, a cosy knit or a trendy pull-over -if you take extremely good care of it- these pieces never go out of style. A real investment for your wardrobe we feel.
At LILY we have several brands that love using cashmere in their wool blends. Such as Samsoe, Des Petits Hauts and Selected Femme. Once in a while they make these beautiful pieces 100% cashmere. But more often they opt for a subtle cashmere touch in their normal wool blend. Here are a few cashmere pieces of our current collection.
Good luck choosing your favoutire piece and remember, cashmere lasts forever! ;) (if you take good care of it!!!)