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Cashmere wool comes from cashmere goats’ undercoat, which is extremely soft and downy. The undercoat is protected by an outer layer of wool and is made of fine, soft hairs keeps the goats toasty during the cold winters. It is the undercoat that is used to make cashmere yarn.
The term gauge (gg) is often used when describing knitted garments. The term refers to the number of stitches per inch. Basically, you can say that the higher the gauge, the thinner the sweater.
Soft Goats cashmere garments are knitted in 3gg, 5 gg, 7 gg, 12 gg, 14 gg or 16 gg.
Microns are used to measure the diameter of the cashmere fiber. A micron is equal to one-millionth of a meter. The lower the thickness, the softer the yarn will be. Cashmere wool can grade between 15-30 microns. Finer cashmere wool grades between 14-19 microns. For reference, a human hair is about 100 microns wide.
All cashmere from Soft Goat grades between 15-19 microns.
Fiber length is measured when the fiber is in a “relaxed state”. Fine cashmere fibers range from 28 mm to 40 mm. The longer the fiber is, the better the quality.
All Soft Goat garments are knitted with fibers that are 28 mm to 40 mm long.
Ply indicates how many threads are twisted in the finished yarn. Two plies mean that two threads have been twisted together to the finished yarn. This makes the garment warmer and more durable. Fine knit garments are usually made with 1 ply.
Plain knit has a flat surface and does not have any knitted patterns. A plain knitted garment is most often knitted in 7 or 12 gg.
Cable knit pattern is a decorative pattern that reminds us of braids.
A ribbed knitted garment is knitted in a special way that gives it a ribbed pattern.
A chunky knit garment is made with lower gauge and gives it a thicker and heavier texture. Therefore, a lot more yarn in needed when making a chunky knit.
Double knit cashmere is two sides that are sewn together to form a double-faced fabric.
Paddington knit is a kind of rib knit but with wider ribs. The lower the gauge of the sweater the wider the ribs are.
A regular fit means that the sweater is not too tight and not too loose or oversized.
A slim-fitted garment has a tighter, closer fit than the regular fit.
An oversized garment has a loose fit that gives the garment a relaxed and cool touch.
First, cashmere should feel soft. The fabric is not like other types of wool and should not feel itchy against your skin. But if you only look at the sweater’s softness, it can misguide you. Some manufacturers disguise the feel by adding resin to make jumpers softer in stores, but this effect wears off quickly. Others over-wash them, but this makes the jumpers wear out much faster.
A good test when checking the quality of a cashmere garment, is to examine it while holding it up towards the light. Then you can see if the surface is very fluffy or not. If the surface is extremely fluffy it can be an indication that the sweater is made of shorter, less resistant fibers. If the fibers begin to roll up when you run your hand over the garment, this also indicates that short fibers have been used to knit the sweater.
Before the yarn is dyed into a wanted color it has a white, beige or light brown color. These colors do not have to be dyed as intensely as darker colors like navy or black. Therefore, darker colors can sometimes feel less soft than lighter colors.