Check out International Fleece’s blog post on spinning camel fiber! Talia says camel fiber is 1/2 the price of cashmere, yet as soft with a micron count of 15-22; cashmere falls in the micron range of 14-18.5.
What’s a micron count?
Basically, micron count is a way to measure the quality of fineness or coarseness of fiber. A micron is equal to 1/25400th of an inch, or about a millionth of a meter! Special lab equipment is used to measure the actual diameter of each fiber in these tiny fractions. The lower the number, the softer and finer the quality of the fiber.
Click through to this brief article from bellaOnline about the three grading systems of fiber.
Did you know that the finest cashmere comes from the underbelly and throat of Kashmir goats primarily raised in Mongolia, Tibet, India and China? Lesser grade cashmere (thicker in micron count, and also shorter in length) comes from the Kashmir goat’s back and legs. It is said to take four years for one goat to shed enough wool to make just one sweater! No wonder it is so pricey!
Watch out once you start spinning luxury fibers such as alpaca and mohair. The incredible feel of the fibers in your hands is completely addicting, and soon you’ll be panting after some cashmere…so I am thrilled to hear Talia’s explanation that camel fiber is half the cost but in the same range as cashmere. More luxury fiber for less money!
You can find out more about these incredible fibers at the Cashmere and Camel Hair Manufacturers Institute (CCMI).