The long hair of the angora goat (not to be mistaken with the hair of the angora rabbit), is silk-like, fine, soft and very durable. The word angora is derived from the Turkish city Ankara, and mohair from the Turkish muyhar, meaning ‘the best selected fleece’. Indeed, these goats and their fine fleeces were so prized and well guarded that all exports out of Turkey were banned until the 16thC; then the first exports were to France and Spain, then to the Americas in the mid 1800s and Australasia by the early 1900s. Today sixty per cent of the total world production comes from South Africa.

Unlike wool it is not itchy, has a delicate lustre and non-felting qualities. Mohair grows rapidly at 2cm per month, meaning the goats can be shorn twice a year. For reasons of cost and drape, it is often mixed with other fibres-usually other wools, or silk. The resultant knitted or woven cloth is very soft with characteristic surface fine strands of mohair. Blankets are often woven in checked patterns, and because the fabric is long, the lines are slightly fuzzy and undefined.

+ Insulating: the fibres are hollow, making them poor conductors of heat, they are good insulators, even when wet.

+ Durability: the most durable of all animal fibres, it can be twisted and bent without damage.

+ Comfort: it does not irritate the skin, even for those who are sensitive to wool.

+ Strength: given equal diameters, it is stronger even than steel

+ Shrinkage: the smooth fibres don’t felt, meaning it does not have the same shrinkage problem as other ‘wools’.

+ Elasticity: it can be stretched out to 30% and still spring back to shape; mohair garments resist wrinkling, stretching or sagging.

+ Moisture: it easily absorbs and releases moisture, removing perspiration from the skin, making it comfortable to wear in every climatic condition.

+ Lustre: it is able to take even the brightest of dyes, and resists fading by time or hard wear.

+Lightweight: its smooth fibres make up into fabrics with a cooling effect, ideal for summer garments.

+Non-flammability: it will not burn unless exposed to a direct flame.

Mohair blankets are light weight and very warm, perfect for the garden at night, evening operas and picnics, extra bed- throws and knee warmers for the elderly.

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