80/20 Fine Merino/Cashmere Blend Top
It can be a bit daunting spinning with ‘cashmere’ as you have this overwhelming feeling that you will end up felting it, this blend spins beautifully; not even a hint of felting in the hand whilst being spun.
80/20 Fine Merino/Cashmere Blend Top as a worsted yarn
It was a lot easier to spin a worsted yarn with the blend (80/20 wool cashmere) than the 100% cashmere, this was due to the merino fibres being longer than the cashmere and it tends to carry the cashmere fibres with it when being spun. Therefore you have a drafting zone of approx 6-7 cm instead of about 2cm (100% cashmere), which makes the drafting of fibres flow a lot quicker. The top drafted beautifully, making any pre-drafting or splitting of the top unnecessary.
The yarn was spun across the top, so I was careful when pinching and drafting forward to not just take the tips of the longer merino fibres and leave the cashmere behind. I made sure to go back into the fibres to get a good mix of the two.
The worsted skein ended up being a 5ply weight yarn with 89g, measuring 309 metres and spun with a medium twist. In terms of its use in knitting, I would be inclined to use it in a garment where it isn’t going to be rubbing all the time (i.e. a jumper) as you will get pilling. It would look beautiful woven as it would best display the yarn's natural lustre.
80/20 Fine Merino / Cashmere blend top as a woollen yarn.
Spinning it from a hand carded rolag was effortless - really quick. The resulting yarn itself is a lot finer (lace weight)- more raps per inch. It 'wanted' to spin that fine without any concentration required.
The woollen spun yarn is still a strong yarn but has less strength than the worsted spun yarn. It has a pearlescent shine and is more matt in appearance than the worsted spun yarn. A 36gram skein of the 80 / 20 Fine Merino / Cashmere blend made 247 metres of woollen spun yarn. Spinning the blend as a woollen yarn almost doubled the amount of yarn produced for the same amount of effort and resulted in a light lofty yarn.
I highly recommend to anyone who wants to dip their toes into the world of cashmere to start with the 80/20; it is a blend that has the familiarity if merino and a halo and extra warmth of cashmere. Once you have become familiar with the little quirks that it does have go onto 100% cashmere because it is a beautiful product.
As a worsted spun yarn: 2/5
As a woollen spun yarn: 2/5