The word Mohair is derived from the Turkish word 'muyhyar', meaning the 'best selected fleece'. Mohair is the wool collected from the Angora goats. Initially, the goats were natives of the province of Angora in Turkey. So valuable was the fleece of these goats that the Sultan of Turkey placed an embargo on the export of the animal and its fiber. After 1820, European conquerors started exporting this soft and gentle animal and its fleece. In more recent times, Angora goats have flourished on similar terrain in South Africa and Texas. Today, Mohair is prized as one of the world's most luxurious natural fibers.
Types of Mohair
Kid Mohair: This fleece is the first shearing from a young Angora goat and is very soft and fine to handle. Fineness ranges from 23-27 microns with a staple length of 100 - 150mm.
Goatling: This is the second shearing from a goat and is also fine and soft.
Adult Mohair: This is the fleece from the mature goat. It is fine to coarse, with a fineness of 30 microns onwards.
Mohair rates amongst the warmest natural fibers known to man. Mohair is also renowned for its ability to be dyed into brilliant colors. When blended with other fibers, mohair adds sheen to the fabric. These characteristics are what make it highly sought after by top designers of clothing and soft furnishings worldwide. Leading fashion houses make use mohair as a luxury fiber. South Africa currently produces more than 60% of total world production of mohair.
Characteristics of Mohair
Mohair is a strong, lustrous fiber that makes it an ideal yarn and fabric. It drapes well and resists wrinkling and shrinking. It is stronger and warmer than wool, keeping heat in during cold weather and acting as a barrier against hot summer temperatures. Mohair isn't itchy because it doesn't have scales like wool. It accepts dye with an unparalleled ease. Natural colored mohair has variations of shades that are exceptionally beautiful. Mohair has several unique properties that are not found in any other animal fiber.
Insulating: Mohair's hollow fibers do not conduct heat like wool and provide good insulation, even when wet.
Durability: Mohair can be twisted and bent without damage to the fiber. It is the most durable of animal fibers.
Comfort: Mohair does not irritate the skin, even for people who are sensitive to wool.
Strength: Mohair is stronger than steel of the same diameter.
Shrink resistance: Mohair fabrics shrink much less than wool because mohair's smooth fibers do not felt.
Elasticity: Mohair is very elastic; it can be stretched up to 30%, and will spring back to shape. Mohair garments resist wrinkling, stretching or sagging.
Moisture transfer: Mohair easily absorbs and releases moisture, moving perspiration away from the skin. It is comfortable to wear in cold and hot weather.
Luster: One of mohair's most important qualities is its ability to take dye and retain it for long, resisting by time or hard wear.
Lightweight: Mohair's smooth fibers can be made into fabrics that have a cooling effect. It is ideal for summer garments.
Non-flammability: Mohair will not burn unless it is exposed to a direct flame.
Taking care of your Mohair
Mohair, like other wool, requires delicate care and storage. By taking proper care you can increase the life expectancy of the mohair garments. Read and follow label instructions for the care of each garment. Hang garments in a steamy bathroom after wearing or unpacking to help remove wrinkles. Hang garments on padded hangers between uses, for 24 hours to smooth out wrinkles and restore original shape.
Store garments in a well ventilated closet with fresh cedar blocks to keep the moths away. You can also use a sweater bag for storing mohair. Fold knits, or hang with closures zipped or buttoned. Dry the garment at room temperature if you accidentally get it wet. Keep it away from heat. Remove soil surface with a brush or a damp sponge.
Dry cleaning may be the most convenient way to clean your delicate sweaters. The cost of cleaning is minimal compared to the cost of a new sweater. But, it should also be kept in mind that excess chemical treatments may shorten your sweater's life. Dry cleaning once or twice a year should be sufficient.
Machine washing can be done with cold water on the gentle cycle and detergents specifically intended for cleaning fine garments. Protect your mohair sweater by placing it in a mesh washing bag while machine washing.
Mohair sweater fashion tips
Lavender, sage green, teal, raspberry or beige; turtle neck, cowl neck, v-neck or crew neck; tunic, cardigan, shawl or poncho - mohair sweaters are versatile and elegant.