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How do I Choose the Best Cashmere Yarn?

By Sheri Cyprus
Updated Feb 16, 2024
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Of all the yarn types, cashmere is especially valued for its softness and rich, natural colors. Cashmere yarn is the ideal choice when special, luxurious super-soft knitted pieces are wanted either for the knitter or to give away as a gift. Cashmere yarns make the softest and most elegant looking hats, sweaters, shawls and more. Since cashmere yarn is expensive, make sure you get the quality and softness you pay for by dealing with a yarn shop you trust.

Compare the prices of cashmere yarn between shops, but also read labels closely to be sure the quality is the same or better. It’s best if you can shop in person to feel the texture of different cashmere yarns, but if you’re shopping online, you may be able to convince the company to send you a few yarn samples. There are many different blends of cashmere yarns. For example, some have silk added for extra softness.

It’s a good idea to knit smaller projects such as hats so you can try out different cashmere yarns before knitting larger projects such as sweaters. This way, you’ll be less likely to be disappointed with the outcome after the cost and time invested in a larger knitting project made with such high-quality yarn. If you work with different cashmere yarn weights, you’ll also get an idea of which needle size you prefer to get the looks you want.

The best cashmere yarn for thinner, silky socks is often fingering or baby weight. For super-silky socks, try using cashmere yarns with silk added. Cashmere tweed fingering weight yarn often makes the best classic men’s dress socks.

Cashmere goat farms that raise the animals to shear off and process their hair into yarn often sell high-quality yarns. Natural cashmere colors range from ivory and taupe to sand and gray. Many beautiful knitted pieces can be made from just these colors alone. Natural colors may work best for a classic keepsake such as a cashmere sweater.

Beautiful hand-painted cashmere yarns are also available. Many of these are multicolored, so the resulting look can be quite beautiful. The best knitting patterns for these one-of-a-kind yarns may be those with minimal stitch variations since the color may provide enough detail in the piece. For example, a baby blanket knitted in one or two stitches with hand-painted multicolored cashmere yarn can make a stunning shower gift.

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Discussion Comments
By stolaf23 — On Dec 11, 2010

I can't imagine anything more luxurious than cashmere for simple projects, for example cashmere sock yarn. The idea of cashmere socks makes me want to save my pennies big time.

By panda2006 — On Dec 11, 2010

@helene55, you bring up a good point. Cashmere/ wool yarn is very different from fully cashmere yarn, and both are very different from cashmere/cotton yarn. While they all maintain some of the softness and look of chasmere, they work differently in knitting and are good for different things.

By helene55 — On Dec 10, 2010

For knitters on a budget, cashmere yarns with an additive are great, such as silk or wool, or even acrylic or cotton, depending on what you want. However, it's important to make sure that the blend maintains the yarn weight and thickness you want, and also that it is still the softness you want; some poorly blended yarns end up being scratchy, poorly dyed, or prone to pilling too much.

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