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Garnet Hill Fiber Guide

Green Cotton Fiber Story
Silk Fiber Story
Mohair Fiber Story
Linen Fiber Story
Down Fill Story
Cotton Fiber Story
Cashmere Fiber Story
Angora Fiber Story
Wool Fiber Story
Alpaca Fiber Story




Green Cotton Fiber Story

Committed to a total philosophy that less pollution benefits the earth and its people, Green Cotton incorporates environmentally friendly methods from start to finish. Carefully picked by hand, Green Cotton is a cleaner cotton that has been harvested without the use of chemical defoliants.

Throughout the dyeing and finishing process, pollution is minimized in both the environment and workplace by the use of sophisticated purification and monitoring systems. The award-winning result is outstanding, high-quality fabric that feels as good as it looks.

Garnet Hill has been selling products made of Green Cotton since 1994. Our customers enjoy the breathable comfort and softness it provides to our knit sleepwear, tops and children's clothing.

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Silk Fiber Story

Superbly soft and shiny, beautiful silk is actually an animal fiber spun by the silkworm while it constructs its cocoon. The fiber is similar in structure to human skin cells, but is also extraordinarily strong and resilient. It has been said that a fiber of silk is stronger than a fiber of steel.

Silk is temperature regulating; it keeps wearers warm in winter and cool in summer by transporting moisture away from the body and into the air. It is also a wonderful fiber for allergy sufferers.

Numerous silk textiles include silk charmeuse, knitted silk, and silk broadcloth for clothing. Silk is also used as an insulating fill for comforters.

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Mohair Fiber Story

The long, lustrous fibers of mohair come from the Angora goat. Soft, strong and resilient, mohair dates back to Biblical times, making it one of the oldest textile fibers known to man.

Although native to Asia Minor, the Angora goat is now raised in Turkey, Texas and South Africa. The goat is clipped two times a year, yielding about five pounds of mohair, of which there are, in turn, 50 different grades of quality. Kid goat hair is the finest and most desirable.

Mohair is an "all-season" fiber that can be densely woven for warmth in the winter and loosely woven for breathability in the summer. Mohair fabrics also dye beautifully and do not crush, mat or pill.

Blankets, throws, coats, hats, scarves and sweaters are among mohair's many popular variations.

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Linen Fiber Story

The oldest fiber known to man, linen has a history dating back to the Stone Age and was once in such widespread use that it became the generic term for many of our household items. Though it has since become less common, linen is still an extremely well loved, luxurious yet functional product.

Linen fibers come from the blue-flowered flax plant that grows mainly in France, Belgium and the Netherlands. The ancient Egyptians wrapped their mummies in linen strips, making full use of its incredible natural strength, which actually increases when wet (that's the reason linen washes so well and is so long lasting). In addition, linen is highly breathable and nonallergenic, has excellent color fastness and becomes even softer with repeated washings.

Linen cloth is made into clothing, bedding, wall coverings and upholstery fabrics. It is excellent for household textiles such as dish towels because it does not create lint when drying.

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Down Fill Story

Down is a soft, fluffy plumage that grows under the feathers of ducks, geese and other water fowl. This natural insulation warms the birds in cold climates, yet helps them to keep cool as they migrate south.

Down has become tremendously popular as a filler for comforters, pillows and outerwear based on its ability to provide warmth without weight. Down clusters create small air pockets that prevent the escape of body heat, while at the same time allowing body moisture to pass into the air, preventing the wearer from feeling cold and clammy.

The quality of down is measured by its "loft" and "fill power." Fill power is the volume that one ounce of down will fill, when measured in cubic inches. The higher the fill power, the more effective the down.

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Cotton Fiber Story

Perhaps no fiber is as familiar as the fluffy white product of the cotton plant. Cotton is actually a vegetable seed fiber grown in tropical and warm regions such as the southern United States, Egypt, India, China and Brazil. Of all textile fibers, cotton is indeed the single most important because of its versatility and durability.

Civilizations all over the planet have utilized cotton for centuries, enjoying how easy it is to dye and keep clean, as well as how extremely gentle the breathable fiber is on the skin. In addition, cotton won't irritate people who suffer from allergies.

Cotton yarns are made into textiles and clothing of almost every conceivable type, including blankets, flannel sheets, percale sheets, comforters, underwear, socks, curtains, towels and rugs.

Specific varieties include American Upland Cotton, Egyptian Cotton, Pima Cotton, Sea Island Cotton and Supima Cotton. Each has its own qualities, and each is made into its own unique products. (See our glossary for details on each of these kinds of cotton.)

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Cashmere Fiber Story

The most precious of natural fibers, cashmere is the fine, soft, downy fleece of the Cashmere goat, an animal that lives at altitudes of up to 16,000 feet. The Cashmere goat grows a dense undercoat to withstand its cold surroundings, though each animal yields only four ounces of hair annually. The cashmere is combed out by hand (never sheared), and then sorted by color and quality.

Despite being almost weightless, cashmere has enormous insulating properties because of the cylindrical shape of its fibers. But cashmere is renowned for more than its wonderful warmth; it has a sensuous softness and a luxurious hand unparalleled by any other fabric on earth.

Cashmere is made into highly prized blankets, throws, sweaters, socks, coats, and other clothing.

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Angora Fiber Story

The Angora rabbit, bred mainly in Europe and Eastern Asia, provides highly valued hair, which is similar to the Angora goat's mohair. White, fluffy, silky Angora is surprisingly warm in spite of its light weight; four shearings of the Angora rabbit each year provide only 10 ounces of hair.

Because it is so light and fluffy, Angora is usually combined with other fibers to create a more durable yarn. Angora yarn gives a wonderful softness to coats, hats, gloves and other clothing, and is especially popular in sweater form.

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Wool Fiber Story

Wool is the fleece that is sheared from sheep. It is warm, keeping body heat in and cold air out. It has the ability to absorb up to 30 percent of its own weight in moisture, making it naturally water and snow repellent. Wool is extremely durable - many wool products last for generations.

Virtually every country on earth raises sheep for the production of wool. Wool textiles have been around for millenniums; woolen cloth has been documented as far back as 3000 BC.

There are as many varieties of wool as there are kinds of sheep, Merino and Shetland being among the most well known (see our glossary for details). Lambswool is the first shearing of the lamb, clipped before the animal is nine months old. It is usually very soft and fine.

Wool is spun into yarn to make blankets, rugs, sweaters, and multiple fabrics for clothing, quilts, mattress pads and pillows. Wool fleece is used for slippers and coats.

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Alpaca Fiber Story

The alpaca is a domesticated cousin of the camel and a native of the Andes.

To withstand high altitudes and extreme temperature differences, alpacas grow thick coats of fleece, producing four to seven pounds of fleece every two years. Alpaca fibers are hollow, offering cozy warmth that is also amazingly lightweight.

Alpaca is significantly warmer than wool, and much softer too. It's nearly as soft as cashmere and is generally available at a lower cost. Prized for warmth and softness, alpaca fibers are favored for holding color and for an inherent luster that does not dull when dyed.

It gets better...

Alpaca fibers are extremely easy to clean, they do not tear easily, they do not pill and they will not create one of those fabulous flyaway hairdos we all love so much — a result of static charge. Plus, alpaca is hypoallergenic, making it a premier choice for people who suffer from allergies to wool.

Alpaca yarn is woven into blankets, throws and fabric for coats, and knitted into sweaters, hats, scarves and rugs.

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