Spotlight on Yarn: Baby Camel Hair
CAMEL HAIR FACTS
• Camel hair is 100% natural and undyed
• Luxury yarn due to its quality and scarcity
• The hair used is from the baby camel due to its softness and fineness
• Camel hair is the result of many years of selective breeding
• The hair is brushed from the underside and only the soft down hair is used
• The fibre staple length is long and strong meaning pilling is reduced
• Spun in the Yorkshire Dales, England using the finest methods
• Under-hair fibre is 19-24 microns
• Outer-hair can be between 20-120 microns.
BABY CAMEL HAIR BENEFITS
BABY CAMEL HAIR STORY
Camels are native to Middle East, North East Africa and Central Asia. They have adapted to the extreme conditions of the desert and they can go without food or water for long periods of time. Their humps are vast deposits of fatty tissue, which keeps them cool by redistributing the fat away from the rest of their body and as this fat metabolizes it generates 1 gram of water per gram of fat.
The camel's coat also has thermostatic qualities it keeps the camel warm in the high mountains and cool when trekking across the desert. Also, the colour of the coat changes throughout the seasons and reflects the sun keeping them cool. These qualities are transferred when camel hair is made into garments. Native desert people wear camel hair garments to protect themselves from the intense heat of the day and bitter cold of the night.
Whilst there are 6 different kinds of camels it is the two-humped Bactrian Camel, native to Eastern and Central Asia, that provides the natural product called camelhair.
A camel’s coat consists of two parts; the coarse, strong outer-hair (guard hair) that tends to be used for carpets and insulation, and the softer under-hair that is used in textiles. The outer-hair is coarse and can be up to 37 cm in length with a diameter of 20-120 microns. Whilst, the under-hair fibre varies from 19-24 microns and between 2-5 and 12.5 cms in length. Variations can occur due to climate the camel lives in.
During the moulting season, the farmers collected the hair by shearing or combing the young camels. When camels moult they do not lose all the hair at once, but over a period of six to eight weeks. Each camel can naturally produce up to 5 pounds of hair every year.
The hair is then sorted according to shade and age of the animal. Colour varies from reddish to light brown. White fleece is most valuable but is quite rare. Once collected, the hair is sorted and the wiry guard hairs are separated from the soft, fine hairs. These soft hairs are then washed before they go on to be spun into yarn and used for weaving and knitting.
Camel’s produce long fibres that are soft and strong with superb insulating qualities. Camel hair garments are warm and breathable.