All about cashmere
Henderson Cashmere garments start their journey on the high steppes of Inner Mongolia, where temperatures can fall as low as minus 30 degrees Celsius. To protect against the cold, cashmere goats grow a soft, fluffy down under a coat of long, coarse hair. When temperatures rise in the spring, herders carefully separate this ‘underdown’ from the outer coat out using a long-toothed comb.
Each goat produces only around 200 grams of this precious fiber each year. Therefore, the underdown of two or more goats is required to make just one cashmere sweater.
To understand about cashmere quality, you must first understand about cashmere fibers.
Basically, the longer and finer the fiber, the higher the quality. Long fibers remain twisted into the yarn, thus reducing pilling and stretching. Garments made with high quality cashmere fibers will keep their luster and shape, even after many years of use.
There are three grades of quality for cashmere:
Grade A is the finest quality cashmere, with an average fiber length of 34 - 40 mm and a diameter of 14 - 15.5 microns. Henderson Cashmere uses only grade A cashmere fiber.
By comparison, the finest wool fibre has a diameter of approximately 20 microns and a human hair averages a width of 60 microns or more.
Grades B and C have a shorter fiber length and wider diameter. These grades are commonly used by many cashmere brands and are more prone to pilling, stretching and wear.
Certified GCS premium level
Henderson Cashmere is a proud member of The Good Cashmere Standard by AbTF®️ at the premium black label level, a coveted certification that is awarded only to companies that use premium grade A cashmere, carefully gathered from the precious white-haired variety of cashmere goat.
The GCS premium level also guarantees that every level of the supply chain in the production of our garments is registered in the GCS Tracking System to ensure transparency and traceability.
Ply refers to the number of threads twisted together to make a strand of yarn. The more threads in a strand, the higher the ply. For instance, a strand of yarn that comprises two threads is called 2 ply yarn, four threads is 4 ply yarn, and so on.
Gauge refers to the number of stitches per inch/cm of knit fabric. A garment with a high gauge will have more stitches per inch and is therefore finer than a garment with a lower gauge, which has fewer stitches per inch.
Yarn weight is also an important factor in relation to the quality of the knit.
This has to do with both the thickness of each thread wound into a strand of yarn, and the number of plys in the yarn versus the knitting gauge used to make the garment.
For instance: a specially carded ultrafine gossamer thread twisted into a 2-ply strand is used to make our Featherlight scarf. This is what gives our Featherlight scarf its distinctive luminescence and floaty-fine, soft and delicate feel.
Our most popular knit, the Henderson jersey™️, is made with a medium-weight 2-ply yarn, knit with a 12 gauge needle.
For our thicker 5- and 7-gauge Henderson double cashmere™️ knits, we increase the plys to create a deep, luscious, creamy-thick knit texture that holds its shape with a minimum of pilling.
For instance, our 7 gauge is knit with a 4-ply yarn and our 5 gauge is knit with a 6-ply yarn. Yarn with too few plys knit in a lower gauge will result in a loose knit that will pill and will not hold its shape.
Although extremely fine, cashmere fibres are hollow, providing a natural, light-weight insulation. During colder weather, body heat is absorbed into these tiny air pockets to keep you warm and cozy.
Cashmere fibre also has a ‘hygroscopic’ effect that draws moisture away from the skin. This creates a cooling effect in warmer months while also helping to keep you warm in winter.
These extraordinary properties make it possible for cashmere to be comfortably worn all year around.