Muskox is a very old species that has been around since the time of the woolly mammoth. Most live in the Arctic, Canada, Alaska, and Greenland. Qiviut is not another term for the muskox but refers to the soft downy undercoat. A mature male produces around 6 to 8 pounds of muskox raw fleece fiber. After processing 6 pounds of muskox fleece raw fiber, you will yield about 3 to 5 pounds of cleaned qiviut fiber that is ready for spinning into yarn. It is one of the lightest and warmest of all the natural fibers. The more you wear and wash qiviut the loftier and softer it becomes. Qiviut is eight times warmer than sheep wool. Pure qiviut is non-shrinkable, non-felting and safe for people who suffer from sheep wool allergies. Unlike wool, qiviut is not scratchy and feels amazing next to the skin. Qiviut is an insulating fiber and is comfortable to wear in any climate. Qiviut is often blended with silk, fine merino, nylon and now with angora, cashmere, and baby alpaca. Qiviut is an heirloom fiber that can be treasured for generations. Yarnware made with qiviut increase in value over time.
Characteristics and Properties of Qiviut:
· 8 times warmer than wool
· Light weight
· Insulating fiber comfortable in any climate
· Non shrinkable
· Non felting
· Safe for people who suffer from wool allergies
· Softer than cashmere
· Microns: 10 -18
· Color: gray-brown
· Staple length: 3.5–7 cm (1.5–3 inches)
· 6 pounds of muskox fiber yields 3 to 5 pounds of Qiviut per muskox.
"Wherever sheep's feet touch the ground, the land turns to gold.” The Spanish were onto something. Sheep's wool is the most popular type of wool, due to it being widely available and highly versatile. Merino wool has superior shine, legendary softness, great breathability, and a lot of warmth for minimal weight. Merino sheep are most often raised in the mountainous regions of Australia and New Zealand. Merino is praised for its easily dye-able pure white color. Merino wool does not have the itchy feel of some wool, is odor absorbent, and provides high levels of UV protection. Merino is used to make high-end fabrics and yarns for use in luxury garments and knitwear.
Characteristics and Properties of Merino Wool:
· Superior shine
· Legendary softness
· Great breathability
· Maintains shape when stretched
· Is colorfast when dyed
· Is wrinkle resistant
· Is static-free.
· Strong and durable
· Is naturally white
· Is flame retardant
· Non itchy
· Provides high levels of UV protection
· Count: 60s-70s
· Microns: 16-18
· Staple length: 3-4 inches / 75-100mm
North American Alpaca
Softer and sturdier than cashmere and lighter than sheep's wool, alpaca fleece is a luxurious commodity that produces warm, silky, durable, and feather-light garments. Alpaca wool boasts tremendous warmth and insulation with soft drape and texture.
Alpaca is 5-7 times warmer than wool (which is already warm), due to microscopic air pockets that trap and insulate. Alpaca has no lanolin and is hypoallergenic. Alpaca fiber is less itchy and feels softer because the fiber surface scales lie flatter and smoother than sheep wool. The fibers are also very strong and durable.
Characteristics and Properties of North American Alpaca Wool:
· Boasts tremendous warmth and insulation with soft drape and texture
· Is fine, silky, and lightweight
· Has a nice luster
· Is strong and durable
· Does not generally pill
· No Lanolin
· Micron: 16 to 18
· Staple length: 3 – 4 inch
· 1 kilo yield per baby Alpaca a year
Angora wool is an extraordinarily soft fiber produced from the fur of the Angora rabbit. Angora fibers are hollow, which gives them loft and a characteristic `floating' feel. They're exceptionally soft and possess the high heat retention and best moisture-wicking properties of any natural fiber.
Pure angora fibers are rarely woven into fabric because the fibers are so fine and fragile. Rather, they are blended with other wools to increase warmth and enhance softness. Angora wool can be worn outside in very cold conditions and then immediately worn inside without overheating. Angora rabbits shed their fur, or people harvest the fur by combing or clipping. One rabbit can shed every 3 months.
Because Angora involves a laborious harvesting process and a small number of producers, most angora wool products are expensive. Angora is used in luxury garments, undergarments and sportswear.
Characteristics and Properties of Angora Wool:
· Extremely soft, lofty, lustrous, and lightweight
· Best heat retention of all natural wool
· Non-odor absorbing
· Antistatic properties
· 6 times warmer than wool
· Microns: 10-12
· Color: multiple colors
· Staple length: 7-13 cm(3-5 inches)
· 1-5 pounds yield of fiber per year per animal
Cashmere is an extremely soft, luxury fabric made from the hair of the Kashmir goat. Native to India, Tibet, Turkistan, Iran, Iraq, and China, the Kashmir goat produces hair with a lofty feel and natural crimp.
Technically, cashmere is the downy wool that grows beneath the goat's coarser outer hair and is gathered by combing the goat rather than clipping it. Only 4 to 6 ounces of cashmere can be harvested per goat each year. Fortunately for us, this naturally produced material is also extremely fine; a single cashmere fiber is less than 19 microns in diameter.
The natural crimp of cashmere fibers helps them interlock during processing and allows the fibers to be spun into a very fine and lightweight fabric. The crimp of the fiber correlates with the fineness of the spun yarn and the softness of the finished product. The yarn retains the loft of the fibers which makes it warm without weight. Because of its extreme warmth, light weight, and softness against skin, cashmere is used in sweaters, scarves, and undergarments.
Because cashmere has high moisture content, its insulating properties change with the amount of humidity in the air, making it comfortable in all climates (even warm ones).
Characteristics and Properties of Cashmere Wool:
· Is a luxury fiber
· Is lightweight and lofty
· Natural crimp
· Adjusts to humidity in the air for adaptability in all climates
· Microns: 16-19
· Color: shades of grey, brown, white
· Staple length: 5-7cm (21/2-3 inches)
· Only 4 to 6 ounces of cashmere can be harvested per goat each year
India has been cultivating silk moths and producing silk since the ancient times. The fiber is derived from the cocoon formed by the caterpillar of the silk moth. The caterpillar feeds on mulberry leaves and forms the cocoon by a single thread of silk which is its saliva. This strand of silk is later unwound and converted into a usable thread. Production of silk in this process is known as sericulture.
Silk fibers were meant for the rich and powerful in India since the ancient times. Ancient texts and mythological tales tell us that for a long time, silk fibers were specially cultured and developed for royalty. Times have changed, and now anybody can buy silk products. However, silk still remains one of the most sought after and expensive fibers. Silk fabrics are valued due to their luster and ability to drape well. Silk fibers are used to make fabric and yarn. Silk is blended with other fibers to make yarn with added strength, durability, warmth, and luster.
Unlike cotton, which is graded in counts, silk is graded in deniers. In cotton the lesser the count the thicker the material and the higher the count the thinner the material. While in silk it is the opposite with the lesser denier producing a finer silk and a thicker denier producing a heavier silk.
Characteristics and Properties of Cultivated Silk:
· Staple length: 4 inch long
· Natural strength and durability
· Holds dye well
· Comfortable and cool in summer and warm in winter
· Holds dye well
· High absorbency to dampness & odor
Nylon is a synthetic fabric made from petroleum products. It was developed by Wallace Carothers at the DuPont Chemical Company on February 28, 1930 as an alternative to silk. Nylon is valued for its light weight, incredible tensile strength, durability, and resistance to damage. It also takes dye easily, making nylon fabrics available in a wide array of colors for consumers. Nylon is the second most used fiber in the United States, since it is so versatile and relatively easy to make.
Nylon is very sensitive to heat and should be washed and dried on cool settings. Nylon can also be hung to dry, and it dries very rapidly. Nylon is a flexible textile, and as a result, it appears in a wide range of applications, from yarn to rope.
Characteristics and Properties of Nylon:
· Light weight
· Dry very rapidly
· More compact molecular structure
· Better weathering properties; sunlight resistance
· Tensile strength
· Superior colorfastness
· Very lustrous
· High durability
· Excellent abrasion resistance
· Highly resilient (nylon fabrics are heat-set)
· High resistance to insects, fungi, animals, as well as molds, mildew, rot and many chemicals
· Melts instead of burning
· Higher melting point (256 °C)
· Great elasticity and elastic recovery
· UV resistance