I am very excited to bring a new series to the blog – “The Making of Cashmere Yarn”. As you all know all my products are knitted in 100% cashmere, and whilst I often share images of the knitting machines at work there is a whole other story and process that has to happen before the yarn is ready for knitting. The raw cashmere fibre has to be dyed and spun into yarn which I then purchase from a yarn supplier/mill. I work with two yarn suppliers, one in the heart of the Yorkshire and another in the Scottish Highlands, and a couple of weeks ago I was very kindly granted access to the mill in Yorkshire. It was a lovely trip down memory lane as the last time I was here was with my darling Dad a few years ago. In this first instalment I wanted to show you what raw cashmere fibre looks like.
All our products are made from 2ply woollen spun cashmere yarn. The fibre used is 100% Mongolian raw material from the upper grasslands of Alashan in Inner Mongolia. Each spring in April the fibre is combed from the underbelly of the cashmere goats before being sorted, washed and de-haired,whence it begins the long journey to the UK where it is dyed and spun into yarn ready for knitting. Material is always dyed in open fibre form, ensuring the softest of handle, brightest hue and longevity of the product.
These are the bales that the cashmere arrives in.
This is what the raw cashmere fibre looks like. Cashmere goats come in a variety of colours varying from this very light shade you see below to much darker brown. The lighter cashmere is slightly more expensive and is usually dyed into light shades like pastel colours and shades of ivory. The dark cashmere is less expensive and dyed into darker colours like black, navy, charcoal etc.
Bales and bales of cashmere to keep the mill busy!
Stay tuned for the next instalment where I’ll be showing you behind the scenes in the “Recipe Room”, where all the colours are designed and tested.
All imagery – Ciara Menzies