The Story of Mohair

Angora goats evolved on the Anatalian Plains of Turkey near the city we now know as Ankara and from which the name "Angora" derives. The term "mohair" apparently derives from Arabic (mukhayyar). Angora goats were highly regarded and jealously protected from exportation until the sixteenth century when the Angora goat was introduced into Spain and France. However, the goats were not introduced to the United States until 1849.

From the importation of a small flock of seven does and two bucks, the United States has developed into one of the two largest producing nations in the world with an annual production of two million pounds. The other principal mohair source is South Africa and Turkey. Texas, with a herd of 200,000 goats is the primary mohair region of the United States, producing 90% of the total US mohair. The main region is on Edwards Plateau in Southwest Texas, where the mild dry climate and hilly, brushy terrain are particularly well suited for raising Angora goats due to their dry mountain origin. Additional range and animal husbandry studies now allow Angora goats to be raised in many states of the Union.

As the environmental and quality awareness issues of the American consumer rises, the market place must meet these changing demands head on. Today's consumer will not tolerate shoddy craftsmanship, poor quality, and unsubstantiated claims. They seek quality at reasonable price and products that will last and perform.

What started out as fashionable trends have become lifestyle choices. Health awareness, natural foods and natural fibers are some of the basic new ideals set forth in the past two decades. The distinctive properties of mohair have made it a highly desired fiber through the centuries for both clothing and home furnishings. Its soft luxurious hand and rich luster combine with great durability for a long lasting product.

With its high affinity for dyes, mohair produced colors that have an unmatched clarity and a halo-like glow. Fabrics containing lively, smooth mohair don't have a tendency to be easily crushed or matted.

Mohair is an all-season fashion fiber, in wonderfully warm knits and wovens for cold weather, and in airy, lightweight structures that breathe with the body for warm days. Used alone or in blends, mohair imparts its unique signature to an infinite variety of fabric textures, from lofty fleeces, rich tweeds and frothy knits, to crisp men's suiting fabrics. As a fake fur fabric, mohair creates an environmentally friendly alternative to real fur. Mohair is a naturally soft fiber which is enhanced by current expertise and modern processing techniques.

As a decorating fabric, mohair is valued for its flame-resistance, and high sound absorbency. It is ideal for public places such as symphony halls, theaters, hotel lobbies, offices as well as for homes. In addition, mohair drapes are effective insulators, keeping heat in during cold weather and serving as a barrier against outside hot temperatures in summer.

Mohair can be used in many items; accessories of hats, scarves, lounging boots and slippers; throws and blankets; carpeting and rugs; wigs; paint rollers and ink transfer pads; and children's toys. Through the ages the appeal of mohair has continued, adapting to the times with new and exciting fabric and style interpretations.

Mohair Characteristics

  • Mohair yarns & fabrics have an outstanding luster and shine.
  • Mohair fabrics are wrinkle resistant.
  • The mohair fiber has a high affinity for dyes.
  • Mohair fabrics tend to be moisture resistant.
  • Mohair fabrics are extremely flame retardant

Average Body Weight & Average Fleece Weight

 Kids 30 - 60 lbs. 1.5 - 3 lbs.
 Young Goats60 - 150 lbs. 3.5 - 15 lbs.
 Adult Does 65 - 125 lbs. 4 - 8.5 lbs.
 Adult Bucks125 - 200 lbs.10 - 25 lbs.

Micron Levels & Length

 Super Fine Kid 24 - 26 mic3 - 4.5 in
 Fine Kid 27 - 28 mic3.5 - 5.5 in
 Good Kid 29 - 30 mic3.5 - 5.5 in
 Super Fine Yearling31 - 32 mic3.5 - 6 in
 Good Yearling 33 - 34 mic3.5 - 6 in
 Super Fine Adult 35 - 36 mic3.5 - 6 in
 Good Adult 37 - 39 mic3.5 - 6 in

Mobility

Luxurious mohair, typically used in the fall and winter, is being redefined and revolutionized into finer gauge yarns for spring and summer. This translates into sensuous sheer knits, airy wovens as well as sleek, mohair and silk blended suiting fabrics. This realistic approach to a more urban environment is satisfied by consumers searching for "au natural" fabrics with super-synthetic blends.

Micro Mohair

The blending or otherwise combining super fine synthetic fibers (under 1 denier) with mohair to create the fine drapery fabrics that are currently in fashion.

Lycra Mohair

The use of Lycra or other elastomeric fiber in conjunction with mohair yarns to create a fabric that moves with the body and adds a high level of comfort to garments that have a body hugging silhouette.

Nohair Mohair

Specially developed yarns that are used specifically in sweater knits to bring out the crisp, brilliant characteristics of mohair with a clear finished surface.

Real Wrinkle Recovery

The new 3R's of fabric development. Mohair has the natural property of being highly resilient & therefore lends itself to shedding wrinkles, when properly fabricated.

Mohair Aerato

The new open lightweight construction recently developed in the woolen carded system to result in light airy, drapery fabrics for sportswear. (From Jackets to Coats)

Processing Mohair

1. Raw Mohair - Mohair is shorn from the Angora goat twice a year. The shearers use power driven clippers similar to those used by barbers and remove the fleece with long smooth strokes. It is then rolled separately, classified, and packed into bags holding about 70 fleeces and weighing approximately 400 pounds when full.

2. Scouring - Mohair is scoured by moving it gently by rakes through a series of tubs containing a soap and water solution. It is then rinsed. During the scouring process mohair loses about 20% percent of its weight when natural grease (lanolin) and soil are removed. After scouring, the mohair is passed through a series of squeeze rollers and finally dried. The purified lanolin by-product is used in face creams, soaps, and ointments.

3. Dyeing - Mohair can be dyed at several stages in the processing. If dyed after scouring, it is called stock dyed mohair; if dyed after spinning, it is referred to as yarn dyed; or if dyed after weaving or knitting, it is called piece dyed. Mohair fabric can also be printed by screen or roller methods. Because mohair is a protein fiber, color tints are absorbed into its core to give rich and lasting hues.

4. Carding - Carding blends the various types of mohair fibers, removes vegetable matter, and straightens the fibers so they will lie in the same direction. This is done by passing the mohair through a system of rollers covered with wire teeth that form the fibers into a thin web. If the fiber is to be spun on the woolen system, the web at this point is gathered into narrow strips that are joined to form the roving or silver.

5. Combing (Worsted System Only) - If the fiber is to be spun on the worsted system, the mohair card silver is then combed to remove the short fibers (noils) and to further straighten the long fibers for production of fine yarns that are smoother than woolen systems yarns. The result is a thick strand call "top".

6. Drawing (Worsted System Only) - In the worsted system, after combing, the number of fibers in the top is reduced by a series of processes called drawing. The drawing silver is taken directly to the spinning frame where the roving is twisted to produce yarn.

7. Spinning - The spinning process, which follow either carding (step 4) or drawing (step 6), is the twisting of the silver into singles yarn. When two or more of these yarns are twisted together, they form ply yarns, which are stronger than singles. Yarns vary in size, twist, ply and novelty effects and are a part of the plan of fabric designing. After spinning, the yarn may be either knitted or woven.

8. Weaving - Woven fabrics are made on looms by interlacing at least two sets of yarn, either woolen or worsted, at right angles to each other. The lengthwise yarn is the warp. Threads running crosswise in the loom are called weft or filling. As warp thread passes through the loom, it is raised and lowered by a wire eyelet through which it is threaded. Filling thread is passed through the openings created in the warp to form the woven fabric.

9. Finishing - As the fabric comes from the loom, it is inspected for defects. The fabric can then be napped by a metal brushing process or sheared to give a smooth uniform appearance. Various chemical finishes can be applied to obtain such advantages as mothproofing, stain resistance, and wash-ability.

Mohair Care & Helpful Hints

Mohair is truly an exquisite fiber, and with its delicate appearance it is often a surprise to discover just how durable and hard wearing it can be. Like most luxury fibers, mohair requires proper handling, but when treated in the correct way it can last for a very long time.

For hundreds of years, the teasel has been used to raise the "nap" on mohair and records indicate that in Ancient Egypt a natural teasel was used to comb mohair cloth worn by pharaohs. Teasels are still grown in certain areas in England but nowadays it is more practical to use a small brush to groom both knitted and woven garments. It is very important that mohair be treated with extreme care - gentle coaxing rather than firm strokes is advisable to ease out tangle and create the lovely fluffiness for which mohair is renowned.

Mohair upholstery velours usually do not attract a great deal of dirt, as they are anti-static, and an occasional brushing of the pile will maintain its luster, but stains such as fruit juice and coffee need to be treated immediately with a dry foam cleanser or mild detergent. Liquor and spirit stains should be treated with pure alcohol, and when cleaned, the fabric may be rinsed in cool water, dried and carefully brushed in the direction of the pile. Any irregularities in the pile may be solved by steaming, using either an iron or the spout of a kettle, held approximately 6" away from the fabric.

Follow these simple guidelines and your mohair, whether knitted or in fabric form, will provide many years of enjoyment:

  • Wash in tepid water and mild "hand washing" detergent.
  • Gently squeezed out - never pull or wring.
  • Lay flat to dry.
  • Garment may be tumble dried in a pillowcase as long as a low and gentle program is used.
  • Store garment in a cool dry place - Do not store in plastic.
  • Do not spray perfume directly on garment, especially if it is white.
  • To reduce shedding, place in dryer on "Air Fluff" setting and tumble dry for 10-15 minutes.
  • Try to avoid friction spots such as shoulder bag or armrests.
  • Do not keep knitted mohair garments on hangers - Fold and store on a shelf.
  • To fluff up garment, lightly shake or gently brush down with hand.