Know Your Wools: Cashmere, Lambswool, Angora and More
Oct 01, · Lambswool is quite literally wool from lambs. The young sheep provide soft, fine wool that makes for great clothing and home items. While sheep’s wool is notorious for its potential itchiness, lambswool is generally softer and less likely to cause skin irritation. Lambswool is wool which is 50mm or shorter from the first shearing of a sheep, at around the age of seven months. It is soft, elastic, and slippery, and is used in high-grade textiles. Weaner fleece is wool 50mm or longer from young sheep, that have been shorn for the first time, and which exhibits the characteristic lambs tip and staple structure.
People are often misled by the fabric content labels in how to put music on media player, and the difference between cashmere, lambswool and merino.
Wool is measured in microns. It is the diameter of the follicle through a microscope which is measured. In general, the smaller the micron count, the softer and more expensive the wool. To give you a point for comparison, human hair varies from microns. Crimp is also important. It is the natural waviness of the fibre, the elasticity. The crimp in wool makes it soft and springy to touch. It also adds bulk and traps a large volume of air between the fibres, giving it good insulation properties.
In general, the more crimp there is, the smaller is the diameter of the fibre, ie the lower the micron count. Finer wool with more crimp such as merino create fabrics that drape better than coarser wool with little crimp.
Merino has up to crimps per inch, more than either cashmere or lambswool. Lanolin is a wax or grease, present in all sheep's wool, but not in goat's wool. It has important natural antibacterial properties, useful for preventing body odours. Cashmere is produced from cashmere goats. Pashmina goat in Kashmir [image source: Wikipedia]. Fine cashmere is made from the soft under hair close to the skin. Only wool from the neck region is used for fine knitwear.
It is gathered by combing rather than clipping as with a sheep, and the output per goat is very small, around g. This wool is called cashmere at 19 ia or less. Cashmere wool provides excellent insulation and can be times warmer than merino wool, but this can lead to problems of over-heating, awkward without the presence of lanolin and its an tibacterial properties! Cashmere is expensive relative to other wools because the annual supply is so small.
Lambswool is wool taken from the first shearing of the sheepusually around seven months after its first coat has come in. It has to be no longer than 50mm. It is fine and soft, and requires minimal lambswoool.
However, because lambswool can come from any breed of sheep, the micron count can vary considerably and is not usually stated. Lambswool, like all sheep's wool, contains lanolin. It is popularly used for good quality knitwear. Merino wool comes solely from a strain of Merino sheep bred for its wool. Average merino wool is about Full og Merino sheep [image source: Wikipedia]. One of the most important properties of merino wool is its strength or durability.
Because of its high crimp count, it is also excellent at regulating body temperature, especially when worn against the skin. Moisture is wicked away from the body; the wearer is warm without being too hot. Merino wool has an excellent warmth-to-weight ratio. Additionally, merino contains lanolin with its useful antibacterial properties. For all these reasons, merino wool is often used for top quality outdoor clothing.
Merino is cheaper than cashmere. You can get an idea of the quality of this wool from the photos in our shop. This reputation is well-deserved. Each year the purchasing office at Zegna Baruffa Lane Borgesesia SpA purchases the best merino possible os the top producers. Quality tests are hwat on the how to make a duck plucker to make sure that its quality meets the high standards required by Zegna Baruffa Lane Borgesesia SpA.
Then the fibre is sent to the factory in Italy to be turned into yarn. Zegna Baruffa Lane Borgesesia SpA is the only Italian company which undertakes the whole process from raw fibre to finished yarn in Italy.
The teasing, carding and spinning processes use innovative, exclusive, patented technology developed by expert engineers. We only use five colours in our work, two of which have been specially dyed for us by Zegna Baruffa Lane Borgesesia SpA to replicate the natural colours so familiar in Shetland's textile heritage.
Cart : 0. Menu Cart 0. Cashmere - goat Cashmere is produced from cashmere goats. Pashmina goat in Kashmir [image source: Wikipedia] Fine cashmere is made from the soft under hair close to the skin. Lambswool and merino wool - sheep Lambswool is wool taken from the first shearing of the llambswoolusually around seven months after its first coat has come in.
Full wool Lambswol sheep [image source: Wikipedia] One of the most important properties of merino wool is its strength or durability. The factory process from raw fibre to finished yarn is as sustainable as possible.
Apr 28, · Lambswool Lambswool, a hardworking and durable favorite fiber, is the finest, softest fleece that comes from a lamb’s first shearing, usually when the lamb is six or seven months old. It’s smooth, strong and flexible, plus it doesn’t need much processing. Dec 20, · This is a traditional cider drink that was made and enjoyed on Twelfth Night (January ) in Elizabethan England. It is said that it gets its name from the whiteness of the roasted apples as they fluff out of their skins while they cook. I haven't made 4/5(1). Lambswool, like all sheep's wool, contains lanolin. It is popularly used for good quality knitwear. Merino wool comes solely from a strain of Merino sheep bred for its wool. Average merino wool is about microns, fine merino is microns, superfine is 15 .
Sweater season is almost upon us and we thought we would take it upon ourselves to break down for you the different types of wool and animal fibers that compose them. To help you separate your wools from your hairs and to give you an overview of the different properties and pros and cons associated with each, this guide intends to cover most frequently found names on the inside labels of your wool garments, including Lambswool , Merino , Cashmere , Angora , Mohair , and Alpaca.
Wool and hair in garments is something we humans have used since at least BCE, when ancient Iranians began to domesticate wool sheep, to keep our bodies warm.
What started out as a basic survival instinct for us hairless mammals at the very top of the food chain has since evolved into an industry of farming domesticated animals in the name of fashion.
True, many people do still depend on clothes for utilitarian purposes, but many also have the luxury of being able to hand pick their optimal choice of knitwear, whether it is light or heavy, natural or dyed, merino or cashmere. Aside from the soft and luxurious feeling very often associated with the popular cashmere, it can be difficult for many to distinguish between the different types of wool and hair.
Wool is sourced from sheep Merino, Lincoln, Dorset etc. The undercoat is soft, highly-prized, and generally favourable for use in knitwear, but the two are sometimes blended into the same finished yarn e. Wool fibers are generally shorter, thicker and has more pronounced scales whereas hair is generally longer fibres, finer and has less pronounced scales.
Our columnist Robert Lim recently declared his love for wool , but allow us to remind you why. Wool and hair have many general properties in common, making them desirable for use in a variety of garments:.
A lot of the desirable properties associated with wool and hair stem from a natural protein, called keratin , which is found in the fibers of the hair and skin of mammals.
The bilateral core of keratin causes the fibers to twist and bend, giving wool its natural crimp and resilience. Another beneficial property of keratin lies in its flame-resistance, which unlike with plant fibers, makes wool and hair fibers self-extinguishable once no longer directly exposed to a flame.
One drawback, however, is that wool and hair become weaker when exposed to water, with wool losing about a quarter of its strength when wet.
Another disadvantage of wool and hair and other natural fibers is their tendency to become moth food, a problem not shared by synthetics. That being said, the beneficial properties of wool and hair arguably makes it unrivaled by any man-made fiber known today.
Aside from various types of animals and breeds, several things determine the quality of wool and hair. Wool and hair are both graded on their properties such as strength, staple length length of the fiber , and fineness diameter measured in microns , as well as consistency and defects.
Generally, the first shear from any animal is the softest and considered the most valuable as one end remains uncut. After shearing, the staples are spun into different types of yarn generally separated as carded woolen and combed worsted. Wool and hair are often mixed with other fibers natural or man-made to lower cost or to impart other qualities, for example, in a sweater to improve elasticity, durability, and to help it keep its shape.
There are many different breeds of sheep used in wool production and their fibers range from roughly microns in diameter and 1. The various breeds come in different shapes and sizes, and live in different countries and climates, that along with age, health, and diet affect the quality of their fleece. Carding wool for Harris Tweed. Image via Scotweb. Wool has a low tenacity the ultimate force it takes to break the fiber , which is worsened when wet, but wool is able to stretch up to a quarter of its size before breaking.
Wool fibers are generally durable and are able to bend a thousand times more than man-made fibers. The pronounced scales in the wool fibers makes woolen fabrics more prone to tangling and thus relevant for nonwovens like felt, but it also increases the tendency of shrinkage.
As with most wool and hair, the first shearing of sheep generally produces the finest and softest wool. This is referred to as Lambswool and is typically shorn from lambs younger than seven months old. Sheep yield anywhere from one to thirteen kilos annually depending on breed, health factors, etc. Some breeds produce a fleece with a high resilience which is hard wearing and therefore good for carpets, rugs, and upholstery while other breeds produce a fine fleece with a softer hand feel which is thus popular in clothing.
Inverallan lambswool sweater at End Clothing. Merino wool sheep. Image via Deborah Silver. It is the most popular breed of sheep used for clothing and produces the most luxurious wool, famous for its fine staples at about microns in diameter superfine merino can sometimes be down to 17 microns and a soft hand feel.
It has excellent drape due to its long staples at approximately 4. This gets rid of the fatty grease lanolin, which is a by-product used in cosmetics, but it means that only about half of the initial fleece can be used in the production of a garment. Yet producing merino is still not as inefficient as the production of cashmere. Cashmere goats. Image via Business of Fashion. Cashmere is obtained from the undercoat of the cashmere goat which only makes up about one-quarter of the total fleece.
Known for its luxurious soft hand feel, cashmere is extremely fine with a diameter at around 18 microns, similar to superfine merino. The finest cashmere comes from the neck region of the undercoat which has to be combed over one or two weeks. When cashmere is finished into clothing, the nap is typically raised on the wool to improve the softness. Most modern napping machines use metal tines e. Mohair is obtained from the Angora goat sometimes confused with the angora yarn that comes from the angora rabbit.
It has a larger undercoat compared to the cashmere goat, but the guard hairs from the topcoat are, unlike with cashmere, often mixed with the hairs from the undercoat. This gives mohair its distinct, frizzy look with the slightly stiff short hairs visible in the final product. The finest mohair fibers come from the first three shearings of the Angora goat. Angora goats are farmed similarly to sheep, but at a much smaller scale, which might be why mohair is slightly more expensive than wool.
One Angora goat yields between kilos of mohair in a year which is significantly more than the cashmere goat, but its end product is not as soft and exclusive. Loewe Mohair blend scarf.
Image via Ssense. Angora comes from the undercoat of the Angora rabbit whose fibers are extremely fine at about microns, which makes Angora incredibly soft and the finest of all the aforementioned.
The quality of angora depends on the proportion of guard hair and undercoat making up the finished angora. There are four main breeds: English, French, Giant, and Satin, which are all domesticated for angora production. The hair is very light and not very strong, with a low resilience. For that reason, angora is often blended with stronger or more elastic materials. Angora production is both time consuming and costly and the ethics of the production method has been questioned by many.
Farming angora sometimes involves the rabbits being kept in separate cages and in near darkness to protect their undercoat.
To further protect their hair from matting, the rabbits are combed regularly. The hair for the finished angora is obtained either by plucking or shearing, each having their own advantages. Plucking makes for the best quality, but is more time consuming — shearing makes for a lesser quality, but will yield more hair. The Angora rabbit grows hair quickly, but one rabbit will still only produce around grams a year at best. Alpaca hair comes from the Alpaca, an animal living in South America that produces some of the finest hair available.
Ranging from microns, alpaca fibers can be very fine and soft, but are generally quite itchy at or over 30 microns, and thus less likely to be used for clothing.
Generally a little bit stiffer than merino or cashmere, alpaca fibers are sometimes blended with wools like Merino to improve its draping qualities. Like hair from goats and rabbits, it needs less preparatory steps compared to wool, and the hair from Alpaca hair is a natural hypoallergenic, arguably making it superior to cashmere.
The Suri Alpaca, in particular, is a very rare breed, yielding some of the most exclusive alpaca. The different breeds of Alpacas offer a wide range of natural colours, with five main colours, and furthermore twenty-two shades to choose from. An average Alpaca will yield approximately 3. Alpaca hair watch cap via Alpaca Unlimited. There are many aspects to take into consideration when choosing the right jumper for your specific needs, something this guide will hardly be able to do for you. Some jumpers are heavy and hard wearing, some are light and fuzzy, some have intricate jacquard patterns, some are plain knit, some are naturally coloured and some are dyed, some are washable and some are dry clean only.
These are all properties that can be found in woolen and hairy jumpers, but as much as it depends on the animals from where the yarn is sourced, the composition, and the preparatory steps from fibers to yarn, it also depends on the design and the machines that knits the fabric.
However, the design and knitting technology is a whole chapter of itself. Alpaca, cashmere, and angora knitwear are all very exclusive and generally have the highest price points.
Angora production is furthermore an industry that many people and animal welfare associations have had issues with in the past, due to a lot of Angora farming having taken place in countries with little to no animal welfare standards. But if you want sustainable and hard wearing woolens, here are a few brands we recommend:.
The world's first Woolmark-approved indigo dyed sailor sweater. Image via Andersen-Andersen. Like this? Know Your Terminology: Overlock Stitch vs. Flat-Felled Seam. Sheep shearing. Image via Wovember. Staple Length. Image via Desigknit. Lambs used for lambswool. Mohair sheep. Image via T-Ray Woolies. Angora rabbit, image via Huffington Post. Angora blend scarf from Brooks Brothers. Image via Wikipedia.
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