Kashmiri Pashmina – An Extraordinary and exquisite Fabric! - By: Rozi Sayera
The need to stay warm during winters is everyone’s priority. People want to look fashionable while wearing many layers of clothing. Winter clothes can be fashion able and warm at the same time. Pashmina is one of those fibers that fulfill both these conditions.
Pashmina wool is obtained from four different breeds of Cashmere Goats in the Kashmir Region. Pashmina translates to ‘soft gold’ in the Kashmiri language. Pashmina Stoles and Kashmiri Pashmina shawls are famous all over the world for their finest quality wool which keeps you warm with just a single layer.
Best Pashmina shawls and Cashmere Pashmina is hand crafted by artisans who have been keeping this art alive for several generations. The Quality of a hand woven Pashmina Shawl is exquisite and showcases the amount of labor and attention to detail of the weaver’s craft.
The Fleece of the goat is collected through combing and not by shearing as is done in other varieties of wools. Each Cashmere goat sheds around 80-170 gms (3-6 ounces) of fleece every spring. The Goats not only eat grass but also the roots of the grass to produce a fine coat of wool every winter.
The Collected wool is then transported to processing centers in Kashmir. Every step from combing which includes removal of hair, guard hair and aligning fibers and the next steps of spinning, weaving and finishing are done by hand by specialized craftsmen and women folk.
Pashmina shawls have achieved the right balance of warmth and weight over the years. The Pashmina fabrics are made using a paddle adjusted yarn according to the thickness required. Two-ply or four-ply yarn is used in most products according to the quality desired.
Some Pashmina stoles and Pashmina shawls are made using silk blend to provide stability to the fiber as Pashmina fiber is gauzy and cannot tolerate high tension. The best quality blend is the 70/30 which has 70% Pashmina and 30% silk. It has a tight weave and an elegant sheen. It adheres to the features of Pashmina and is light-weight and soft.
Pashmina shawls are priced according to the amount of labor and intricate hand work that goes into making a single piece. Best Pashmina shawls are quite pricey due to the limited amount of Cashmere wool produced every year and the amount of hard work that goes into producing one item.
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Pahmina! has become a way of living for the people and Artisans involved with the fabric. One should experience the extraordinary exuberance of this exquisite fabric.