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Pashmina - Cashmere Handknitted in Nepal
In the recent decades, pashmina has undoubtedly attained international success as it successfully achieves the desired balance of warmth and weight. Pashmina is wool, that is derived from the undercoat of the Cashmere goat of any breed. Sometimes referred to as Capra hircus laniger (wool-bearing domestic goat), these breeds are raised primarily at high elevations in Central Asia, particularly Mongolia. Due to the ongoing war in Kashmir, and with the die-off of goat herds in Ladakh, China has been able to dominate pashmina production for the past couple of decades.
'Pashmina' is considered to belong to Kashmiri cashmere products. Cashmere produced in Nepal is called 'chyangra pashmina' which means 'goat cashmere'. The term, 'Pashmina' and 'Cashmere' are synonymous with soft, fine, high-quality fibre. The ancient name of the precious shawls still made by hand in Central Asian regions is called 'Pashmina'. 'Cashmere' is the internationally accepted term for the fibre content designation on labelling cashmere products and goods. The production of pashmina involves a lengthy and careful process, which isn’t easy. The price of the pashmina will definitely differ with its quality.
Pashmina shawls are customarily quite large. The usual full size is 95 X 203 cm (36" x 80"). But even Asian women, who are typically rather small, wear full-size shawls quite comfortably; because of the light weight of the fabric, the shawls can easily be folded lengthwise and/or widthwise, so that the generous dimensions are never a liability. Various cashmere items can be found in the market such as cashmere sweater, cashmere scarf, etc. They can also be found with designs such as embroidered pashmina.
Pashmina is both Machine-loomed as well as hand-loomed/handmade/handknit. It gets softer with use, however people do not always understand this and so, producers use chemical softeners and some of them brush the pashmina to make it fluffy. Brushing weakens the fabric. A vintage pashmina from your grandmother's collection will still feel as lustrous as a new one.