Cashmere socks FAQ
Why is cashmere so special and expensive?
The ultimate in luxury hosiery, cashmere socks are exquisitely soft and approximately three times warmer than socks made from sheep’s wool.
Cashmere is one of the finest natural fibres in the world and is obtained from the hair of Cashmere goats whose coat is made up of two distinct layers – the outer layer (guard hair) and the undercoat (cashmere). The guard hair is coarse and waterproof, which serves to protect the goat (and the undercoat). The undercoat is ultrafine, soft and an excellent insulator, to protect the goat from the extreme cold.
Only the soft, ultrafine undercoat is used to produce cashmere. In spring, as the goats moult for summer, they are combed by hand to remove their ultrafine undercoat, while leaving the guard hair intact. These combings are then washed and sorted to remove any stray guard hairs. What is left is pure cashmere. This laborious process results in a fibre that is exceptionally exquisite and rare. It therefore commands a higher price than more easily obtained fibres.
Our leisure weight cashmere yarn is woollen spun using the finest grade of cashmere knitted with nylon to give extra durability and stretch. It takes approximately 6 goats to produce enough fibre to make one dozen pairs of Pantherella short cashmere socks.
Why do cashmere socks 'bobble'?
Bobbles or bobbling, (technically referred to as pilling) is a natural process that happens to all natural fibres during their service in a garment. Natural fibres are made into yarn by combing the fibres so the lay in the same orientation and then twisting them together. This will always mean the odd fibre will ‘stick out’ of the yarn. During wear, these odd fibres can knot together and bobble or pill. The level of pill will depend on the type of dye/shade, the knitted construction and the way the socks have been worn. It is completely normal that this should happen because cashmere is such a soft, ultrafine yarn. It is not a result of washing, but can be exaggerated by the use of conditioners.
Bobbles can be easily removed by hand or by using a special cashmere comb or de-fuzz device. You will find that by removing them in this way after the first few wears and washes, the cashmere socks will actually consolidate and soften in handle and touch. Like any fine wine, cashmere will improve with age if cared for properly.