After sharing with you our tips on How to know if something is cashmere and How to take care of your beloved cashmere garments now it is the turn of our handy guide on how to appreciate the real quality of the cashmere you choose to buy.
Click on the link of our articles above to find out why cashmere is such a precious fiber. The fact that it is scarce and rare when compared to wool or other fibers makes it even more precious, which is one of the reasons that justifies the higher figure on the price tag.
The other reason lies in its qualities. Cashmere is softer, lighter, warmer, and more durable than wool, but not every cashmere is the same. So the question now is how to know if a cashmere garment is qualitatively better that another one. Here is your essential guide on the quality of cashmere.
Index of the topics:
- Carded vs Combed Cashmere
- Length and Thickness of the Fiber
- Single-ply vs Two-ply Cashmere
- Knitting Process
Carded vs Combed Cashmere
After being shaved off from the goats, cashmere fibers are dyed, often combed and then spun into yarns. If the yarns are spun without the cashmere being combed, you call it “carded” cashmere. Only the thinnest and longest (and therefore finest) fibers “survive” the combing process. This means that for a combed cashmere garment only the best fibers can be used. Combed and carded cashmere are both precious and just have a different hand.
Length and Thickness of the Fibers
Quality of fibers depends mainly on their length and thickness. The longer they are, the more resistant the garment will be. Longer fibers are also less subject to the forming of pilling as it would be more difficult for them to untie one from the other and get loose.
As for the thickness, thinner fibers mean softer garment. Fibers’ diameter usually stands between 15,5 and 23 microns (a human hair’s diameter usually measures 30 microns). The cashmere we use for our sleeveless cardigans is one of the finest two-ply cashmere with its 2/28 title, meaning that 2 kg of cashmere contain 2 yarns, each one long 14 km, for a total of 28 km. The diameter of our yarns is 15,5 and the length 36-38 mm. Always look for the right balance though. A higher ratio (for example 2/30) can make your garment softer but then you need to compensate with a good fulling to ensure resistance and durability.
Single-ply vs Two-ply Cashmere
In our opinion, two-ply cashmere is a must. Two-ply means two threads of yarn twisted together for a more resistant and tighter knit which will make your garment cleaner and consistent to the eye and to the touch. Be careful though, a good cashmere is not made only by the number of yarns, but also by the quality of each of them. Therefore a five-ply cashmere made of short and tiny yarns will be way worse than a two-ply made of long and qualitative yarns.
Finally, always keep in mind that poor knitting can spoil even the best quality cashmere. If you have not yet reached the stage where you are able to spot a good knitting with your own eyes and hands, the safest option is always to buy your garments from a trusted brand or artisan…and, by the way, we know you trust us!