Kazakh nomads wore vests made from local goat hair to keep warm during severe winters on the Orenburg steppes. The goat hair was among the softest and finest in the world. When Russian settlers arrived in the 17th century, they used it to knit shawls in traditional patterns. Diaphanous and virtually weightless, these shawls are remarkably warm and durable.

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What is it about the yarn used to make Orenburg shawls that makes them so warm, light and transparent?

responded: Mar 31, 2010

Posted by Natalia Nekrassova

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The yarn is made from the Orenburg goat hair which is very long (up to 8 cm) and thin (about 16 micron). When knitted it creates a structure entirely pierced with hair. It looks and feels transparent and light but actually the lace holes are filled with the goat hair which makes it extremely warm and cozy.

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