The beautiful material we know as cashmere comes from the cashmere goat, a wonderful creature found all over central Asia. The best cashmere of all comes from the goats living in the greenlands of Inner Mongolia - so naturally, that’s what we use in all our products.
In and around these green lands there are massive variations in temperature from 20 degrees celsius to above 35 degrees celsius so nature has provided the goats with super fine insulation in teh form of cashmere. Each goat will produce just 250 gms of cashmere a year (that’s about the same weight as a large bar of chocolate) and not all of this can be used, only the fibres from the downy undercoat. As a result, it normally takes the cashmere from four goats to produce enough to knit a single sweater.
As you many have guessed, not all cashmeres are the same! Arkell & Wills cashmere uses only the very finest fibres, taken when they are 34-36mm long and 16 thousandths of a millimeter wide. Larger, wider fibres are available, but feel much coarser and are more susceptible to piling. Its the Arkell & Wills fibres that give our products their beautiful soft handling and superior feel.
Once the annual 'clip' is completed, the knitwear yarns can be produced. Two yarns are twisted together for the knitting process; the twist gives strength but a lesser twist increases the softness and yes, that's what the Arkell & Wills products use!
Coffee & Chat Fact: The twisting of two cashmere yarns is the origin of the phrase 'two ply'