FROM STEPPE TO DOWNS

   

Misty Cashmere began in a small village near Lewes in the heart of the Sussex Downs. We wanted to create ethical knitwear made from natural fibres which were warm and easy to wear in modern timeless styles!

Our knitwear is spun in cashmere, cashmere and merino, and yak yarn which are socially and responsibly produced. The cashmere used in our garments is from the Erdos Plateau, Inner Mongolia while the yak wool comes from Tibet - both are spun in Inner Mongolia. The merino wool we use comes from Australia.

Our supplier farms cashmere goats that are raised on open grasslands. Temperatures often get to -46° C on the Mongolian Steppe which is exposed to the cold Siberian winds from the north. To brace themselves against the harsh winters the Mongolian goats produce a downy layer known as cashmere which is believed to be the finest, longest and softest yarn in the world; it is finer, stronger, lighter and approximately three times more insulating than sheep wool.

 

Once the raw fibre has been collected from the goats it is washed and cleaned before 'carding' or dehairing and then dying and spinning into yarn. This is then spun into 'swatches' or panels and sewn together by 'linking'. The finished garments are washed and dried before a final inspection, ready for packing. Our garments come in two weights, 7-gauge which is a thicker knit and a more traditional finer 12-gauge knit.

Like the cashmere goats, yaks form a dense woolly undercoat over the chest, flanks, and thighs to insulate them from the extreme winter cold. The yak is the main bovine in the Tibeten Plateau and is a heavily built animal with a bulky frame, sturdy legs and rounded cloven hooves, not to mention extremely dense, long fur that hangs down lower than the belly! While wild yaks are generally dark, blackish to brown in colour, domestic yaks can be quite variable, being brown, grey, white or even piebald. Because the yak hair is such a beautiful natural colour we leave it undyed. Yaks are free ranging; the herders follow them in a nomadic pattern between spring, summer, autumn and winter pastures. They help maintain the delicate ecosystem of the area as they graze on a variety of flora, fertilize the land with their manure and spread the seeds with their broad hooves. The yaks are not clipped but instead the hair is gathered naturally when they molt in the summer and retains its insulating properties when knitted into garments for years to come!

 From Mongolian Steppe to Sussex Downs we hope you enjoy our knitwear!

 

 

 

 Misty!