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Finding the Perfect Knitwear

With the temperature dropping recently we have turned our attention to staying warm. Layered dressing is a great idea at this time of year and finding perfect knitwear is essential. Our knitwear options include wool, merino wool, alpaca, mohair, cashmere and man-made fibres. We thought it might be a good time to talk about knits with a focus on cashmere.

The name cashmere comes from the Kashmir region where its production and trade originated. Cashmere is also the name of the goat breed that gives us wool like fibres that have very special properties. The Cashmere goat originates from India and Pakistan, although in ancient times it could be found in neighboring countries like China and Mongolia. Today, these ridiculously cute Cashmere goats are bred in many different countries around the globe. Pashmina goats are also bred to make knits.

Cashmere is used to make coats, hosiery, blazers, jackets, gloves, sweaters, socks, scarves, hats, blankets and more. Cashmere fibre is six times finer than most human hair. The cashmere fibres start from 14 microns and goes up to 19 microns in thickness. Thinner cashmere is always softer and the best quality cashmere is never itchy.

To produce one average-sized sweater, the soft undercoat from three to five Cashmere goats is used. The softest fibres are found on the belly. Cashmere comes in three colors – grey, brown and white but can be dyed many different colours. Cashmere has great insulation properties and is three times more insulating than fleece from sheep. Cashmere fibres will keep you warm in sub-zero temperatures but not overheat you in warmer temperatures. What a perfect choice for our changeable weather right?

Not all cashmere is the same quality. If the cashmere is woven using multiple strands of fibre it will last longer and is more resistant to different weather conditions. Producing garments using multiple strands requires more work and is reflected in the price. When it comes to cashmere fibres it’s a difficult process to collect, sort by hand, clean, and get the fibres ready for production.

Care Tips for Knits

  • Cashmere knits will keep their original shape even after years of use. With proper care cashmere will not stretch or fade.

  • Fold your knits instead of hanging them. We hang most of our knits for a short period of time in our stores since we have limited shelf space.

  • Some recommend wearing a thin tee-shirt under a cashmere sweater so it does not have to be washed as frequently. Always use a good quality soap for hand-washing. We like a product we sell at both of our locations called Soak. It’s made with plant derived ingredients and is environmentally friendly. Washing with a good soap will keep your delicates looking like new and the best thing about Soak - it’s a rinse-free product.

  • The better quality cashmere does not pill as much. Having a sweater shaver on hand will help keep your knits looking beautiful. We have an awesome Repeat shaver that is super easy to use.

The beautiful Chan Luu scarves are made with a blend of cashmere and silk. They are a large square shape and come in many colours and patterns so the styling options are endless. This scarf is a perfect travel companion since it can be a scarf, wrap or blanket. You are always welcome to drop by and ask us for styling tips.

The quality of the the luxurious Brodie and Set cashmere sweaters are awesome.

Brodie has been building relationships with goat herders and ethically producing beautiful cashmere in Mongolia for over ten years. We love that these knits are machine washable too. This is a great example of sustainable fashion and we’re happy to carry products that reflect this consumer conscious movement.

We just received the most gorgeous Set cashmere sweaters that are made with 5-ply cashmere fibres! Honestly, they are the softest sweaters (below is a picture of our stunning sweater in blue. It‘s available in a rust colour too).

We guarantee you will want to wear these quality sweaters for years!

We can’t talk about knits without mentioning other fibres. Here’s a little information about some of the other knits we currently have.

Alpaca - There are 22 natural colours of Alpaca fleece to choose from. This very long fleece is flame and water resistant. Alpaca fleece is also hypoallergenic. This season we have brought the most gorgeous knitted sweaters into our store - the Stella Pardo sweaters (as shown in the picture below) are “fashion forward” Parisian beauties designed in Paris and handmade in Peru.

Mohair - This fibre comes from the Angora goat (no relation to the Angora rabbit). Mohair comes in different strengths and textures depending on the age of the goat. The younger the goat the softer the fibres. Younger mohair fibre would be made into soft sweaters and older, tough-wearing goat fibres would be considered good for a rug. The soft, fluffy looking mohair makes a gorgeous cozy sweater.

Merino Wool - This fleece comes from the Merino sheep. Merino fleece is denser than fleeces from other breeds because Merinos have more hair follicles per square inch of skin. The merino knits we bring into the store are a fine quality with fibre strands under 17.70 microns. This makes this a warm and lightweight option. Merino wool is very smooth and soft to the touch.

Wool - We should mention that wool is the term for fleece that comes from sheep, goats, camels, bison and such. When it comes to sheep various breeds are used around the world and the fleece quality varies. Fiber diameter, colour and strength are the most important wool characteristics that determines the quality and price.

Blended fabrics - This is often a choice to improve the wear and comfort performance. Using more than one fabric can allow for a better result when dying or easier handling during production. Blending fabrics can sometimes bring the manufacturing cost down.

Wondering how to stretch a sweater that has shrunk. Follow these steps:

  1. Soak the wool sweater in a solution of cool water and two tablespoons of baby shampoo or fabric softener for at least 30 minutes. Do not soak longer than 2 hours.

  2. Gently squeeze to remove the excess water. Be careful not to wring or twist the sweater. Lay the sweater on a dry towel, and roll it up. The sweater should be damp, but not soaking wet.

  3. Gently begin stretching it back to its original size.

  4. Allow the sweater to air-dry on a flat surface.

We intentionally source fashion that is ethically made. We build long-term, trust-based relationships with our suppliers and designers so we know the fashion we bring to you is ethically made. You will find we have a really wide selection of knits to fit your style and budget this season.

In our next blog we will talk about holiday dressing. Do you attend events which require a more formal look, or do you keep things a little more low key and casual? We have great styling ideas for whatever your event.

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