Wednesday, November 16, 2011
I have been trying to find a source to buy some soft "pashmina" like scarves and stoles to dye. I find that most of these come from China and it's hard to know what they are made of because there is no quality control on fiber content. There are lots of sellers on eBay but none of them know what the item is made of. I know some countries sell these but call them "Pashima" and they are either wool, rayon, or a combination of. I bought some in Italy. I could not afford to purchase real pashmina wraps because they are very expensive.
This is what wikipedia has to say about "pashmina"
Pashmina refers to a type of fine cashmere wool and the textiles made from it. The name comes from Pashmineh (پشمینه), made from Persian pashm ("wool"). The wool comes from changthangi or pashmina goat, which is a special breed of goat indigenous to high altitudes of the Himalayas in Nepal, Pakistan and northern India. Pashmina shawls are hand spun, woven and embroidered in Kashmir, and made from fine cashmere fibre.
The fibre is also known as pashm or pashmina for its use in the handmade shawls of Himalayas. The woolen shawls made in Kashmir find written mention in Afghan texts between 3rd century BC and the 11th century AD. However, the founder of the cashmere wool industry is traditionally held to be the 15th century ruler of Kashmir, Zayn-ul-Abidin, who introduced weavers from Central Asia.
Cashmere shawls have been manufactured in Nepal and Kashmir for thousands of years. The test for a quality pashmina is warmth and feel. Pashmina and Cashmere are derived from mountain goats. One distinct difference between Pashmina and Cashmere is the fiber diameter. Pashmina fibers are finer and thinner than cashmere fiber, therefore, it is ideal for making light weight apparel like fine scarves. Today, however, the word PASHMINA has been used too liberally and many scarves made from natural or synthetic fiber are sold as Pashmina creating confusion in the market.
Pashmina from Nepal are the best in quality because of the conditions to which the mountain goats have adapted over centuries. The high Himalayas of Nepal has harsh, cold climate and in order to survive, the mountain goats have developed exceptionally warm and light fiber which may be slightly coarser and warmer than cashmere fibers obtained from lower region goats. To distinguish Nepalese Pashmina, the Nepal Pashmina Industries Association has registered a Trademark around the world, called "Changra Pashmina".
It has been difficult to get a natural fiber item that I would be able to dye. I received some that I was able to dye but they had some polyester in them so the dye wasn't real strong. You can tell if there is polyester in fabric by doing a burn test. Take a thread and burn it. If it turns to ashes it is a natural fiber, if it melts and becomes a hard plastic ball you know it is a man made fiber and will not take natural or fiber reactive dyes.
Here is how correspondence went with some of the dealers on eBay:
(M = Me T= Them)
M: "What do you consider to be "pashmina"? Please tell me what the fiber content of that is. Thanks!"
T: "70% pashmina & 30% silk"
M: "What is pashmina?"
T: "Man-made cashmere"
M: "What does that man-made fiber consist of?"
M: "Please tell me what the fiber content of "pashmina" is. thanks!"
T: "Hello friend,
the tag shows it's 100% Pashmina.
M: "What is pashmina?"
M: "Please tell me what "pashmina" is? what is the fiber content?"
T: My dear friend,
The factory told me it's pashmina. But I guess it's cotton.But it's really warm. I also wear it. And for this scarf, many customers purchase it and leave a good feedback.
I'm left frustrated and not sure how to pursue this. I know Thai Silks/Exotic Silks has a silk/wool scarf but it's not as soft as I am looking for. If anyone has a good source I would be so happy to get that information!