Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Mohair

Mohair, to those familiar with it, conjures up a vision of a yarn or garment that is VERY fuzzy. But most people I talk to don't know where it comes from.

Mohair is goat hair, specifically from the Angora goat. Angora goats originated in Turkey, but can now be found all over the world, raised for their luxurious locks. Their hair is curly and silky and the softness and fineness of the hair decreases with age. Thus, kid mohair is the most desirable for use in garment yarns being the fineness and softest. The coarser hair of older animals is more suitable for use in bags and outerwear. As is the case with other animal fibers used for garments, it has insulating and moisture wicking properties.

Angora goats are sheared, without harm to the animal, twice a year. The fleece is cleaned of the natural body oils, dirt, and debris, then carded and combed to align the hairs for spinning into yarn.

Despite its softness, some people with sensitive skin find it irritating. So if you are gifting a mohair scarf or sweater, try to keep that in mind. Using a blend, as I did in my Switchback Scarf, can help to reduce the ticklishness while still keeping the luster and sheen.

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