Best Yarn for Blankets — From Goats!

What is Yarn Made Of? Consider Mohair or Angora for Fiber Crafts.

best-yarn-for-blankets

When looking for the best yarn for blankets, you may not immediately think of yarn from fiber goats. The hair from goats, including cashmere, Pygora, Cashgora, and Angora fiber, is soft and warm. The yarns made from these fibers are considered luxury yarn in the marketplace. Although we often think of using these yarns for sweaters, vests, and other clothing items, mohair can be the best yarn for blankets too. Pendleton and Woolrich are two high-end wool product companies that sell cashmere and mohair blankets, throws, and pillows. These beautiful products are something you can recreate if you knit, crochet, or weave.

Where Does the Best Yarn for Blankets Come From?

Yarn from goats is not wool. Wool comes from sheep. The fiber or hair from goats is referred to as cashmere or mohair.

Cashmere Fiber and Yarn

Cashmere fiber is plucked from the undercoat of cashmere-producing goats. Most of the cashmere is harvested from goats in China and Mongolia, where they are referred to as Kashmir goats. The fiber is plucked rather than sheared, and it takes up to two goats to produce enough to make a sweater. In the category of fine yarn from goats, cashmere is the most commonly found. Cashmere is downy-looking, with unmatched softness and warmth.

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Working with Cashmere Fiber to Make the Best Yarn for Blankets

Cashmere comes in a variety of natural colors from white to shades of brown or gray. The fiber dyes very well and the darker fibers also look great when the dark shades are over-dyed. The fiber is a fine down with shorter staple lengths. Since it is delicate, it will knit or crochet into a lightweight product. If the fiber is spun well, it will make a yarn that can stand up to every day use as a blanket, sweater, or scarf. Using the yarn for socks might not be a good idea because of the heavier abrasion socks withstand. Cashmere yarn creates a very warm blanket or lap robe.

best-yarn-for-blankets

Mohair from Angora and Pygora Goats

Mohair fiber is produced by Angora goats and any fiber breeds derived from Angora stock, such as the Pygora goat. The hair from fiber goats is also very soft but does not rival cashmere in softness. When knitted into fabric for blankets or garments, a beautiful sheen develops from the smooth fibers. Mohair, like cashmere and wool, is a good insulator, and wicks away moisture from the body. In addition, mohair wears better than some wool from sheep.

best-yarn-for-blankets

Pygora goat in full fleece.

There’s a halo effect from the fiber when yarn is made into a garment. This is from the fuzzy nature of the goat hair. In some breeds, the halo effect is more pronounced, like the yarns from Pygora goats.

What Is It Like to Spin Mohair?

Mohair is a durable, long staple fiber that has a beautiful luster. The draft, when spinning can be slippery. It can take some getting used to if you are accustomed to spinning a sturdy wool. Yarns spun from mohair goat breeds’ fiber are great choices for knitting, crocheting, or weaving. Kid mohair from the first clip of a young goat is exceptionally soft. It rivals cashmere for softness next to the skin.

Courser mohair can be used for rug making, or other household items like cushion covers. The fiber comes in many shades of natural color to make the projects interesting. Doll hair from mohair is sought by artists.

best-yarn-for-blankets

Gray Pygora top for spinning.

Is Mohair Safe for Baby Items?

Mohair fiber is fine, although not as fine as cashmere grade.

Not only are mohair and cashmere safe choices for baby items, the fact that natural fibers from wool producing animals are breathable and wick away moisture adds to the benefits list. People searching for more natural products for babies will appreciate that there are no chemicals added for retarding fire. Wool and mohair are naturally fire resistant. Consider making an heirloom-quality lap robe or stroller afghan for the baby.

best-yarn-for-blankets

But What About Cleaning Mohair and Cashmere Items?

Often, when making gifts for friends, family, or baby gifts, we overlook using a really fine yarn because it may require special cleaning. This is not necessarily true. Many items made from goat hair can be washed gently, even in a machine, on a gentle setting. Low or no agitation is the needed setting, to avoid felting the blanket fibers. Hand washing is another option for cleaning hand knit items. So mohair and cashmere really can be the best yarn for blankets.

Cashmere and mohair are at the higher end of the price scale for yarns. However, there are certainly many expensive yarns and finished goods on the market that do not wear as well as a beautiful cashmere or mohair blanket. Consider the factors of drape, softness, warmth, and the beautiful sheen from these high end fibers. Making an heirloom quality gift should start with choosing the best yarn for blankets and other items.

Cleaning, Drying, and Storing Items Made From Cashmere and Mohair

If you don’t have a washing machine with a fine, no agitation setting, you should hand wash articles made from mohair and cashmere. Use a gentle detergent that is recommended for fine wool. I prefer Unicorn brand products for washing wool and mohair but there are others on the market. Dry cleaning solvents can be too harsh for these fabrics from cashmere or mohair.

Drying any mohair or cashmere item should always be done by laying the item flat and air drying. Make sure the area is not in direct sunlight. Line drying will pull the garment or blanket out of shape. Always lay flat on a towel to dry.

The best way to store quality mohair or cashmere items is in a clean pillow case! Protein fibers such as wool, mohair, and cashmere need to breathe. Storing in plastic bags is not a good choice. Always store your fine handmade products after cleaning so they don’t attract insects. With proper care, your handmade heirlooms will last a long time.

Best Yarn for Blankets

Other Items to Knit or Crochet from Mohair or Cashmere

Even though cashmere and mohair may be the best yarn for blankets, it’s a great type of yarn for other items. Hats, gloves, shawls, scarves, and mittens from mohair yarns make great gifts. Make a quick pair of soft wrist warmers or fingerless gloves with the leftover yarn from a blanket project.

Because the yarns are higher in price, most crafters will use them for higher end garments or gifts. The mohair or cashmere fiber can be used for knitting, crocheting, or weaving and make a family heirloom blanket for the sofa.
Originally published in the November/December 2018 issue of Goat Journal and regularly vetted for accuracy.

 

 

 

 

 

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