Sunday, November 11, 2012

My Pashmina

It has been awhile since I posted on my blog.  Don't even ask where they days have gone as each went far too quickly.

Since my last post, we have had an election, changed the time and raced to another holiday season.  The weather has turned cool and darkness comes early these days.  Soon we will be tasting turkey and stringing Christmas lights.  Its a good time of year.  It makes the house feel cozy and warm even when its chilly.  It is indeed the best of atmospheres.

The cool weather has brought me to write about a lovely gift I received from my neighbor.  On one of my many coffee visits to her, I was surprised with a most glorious of gifts.  She handed me my very own Pashmina scarf.  I must admit, I did not know what made this scarf so special aside from the fact it was given by a dear friend.  Here is a purple version of what I received.

The day she gave it to me was damp and chilly.  One of those days that makes it hard to get warm.  I opened the packaging and pulled out a very wide powder blue scarf.  It was light weight to the touch and oh so soft.  As I wrapped the Pashmina around my shoulders, I was surprised at how quickly I warmed.  How could this light weight thin piece of material be warming me on this chilly day?

When I came home, I went to work on learning about this scarf and the material from which it came.  Thank you Wikipedia for some clarification and explanation of what made this scarf so special.

 To my surprise, I learned that my scarf came from mountain goats, specifically pashmina goats. The goat sheds its winter coat every spring. One goat sheds approximately 80-170g (3-6 ounces) of the fiber.

 The tag on the scarf said "made in India".  It appears my scarf came from pashmina goats raised at the higher elevations of the region between India and China.  To survive the freezing environment at 14,000 feet altitude, these goats grow a unique, incredibly soft pashm (inner coat) six times finer than human hair.  Because it is only 14-19 microns in diameter, it cannot be spun by machines, so the wool is hand-woven into cashmere products including shawls, scarves, wraps, throws, stoles etc. for export worldwide.  Pashmina is the name given to it as Iranians came to Kashmir via the routes of Drass Ladakh, and found it very soft and tough in quality.

Pashmina is the Persian (Farsi) word "pashm" meaning soft and silky, so we can compare the Ladakhi pashmina with original Nepali pashmina. Kashmir pashmina has been famous for centuries due to its quality and products like plain pashmina, woven jamawars, embroided pashmina, ladies and gents 6 & 7 yards. It is history that Mogul emperor king Akbar presented a gift of Kashmir jamawar to the Queen of England.  Now I have no idea what jamawars are but I'm sure if they were made of pashmina fibers, they were exceptional.

So now I know from where my scarf originated.  I understand why such a thin piece of material can be so warm and comforting.  From goat to my shoulders, I am grateful of each step and each contribution along the way.

If you do not own a Pashmina scarf, I highly recommend them.  As the chill of Fall and Winter set in, you will be glad you invested in this piece of material.  They can be found online from $6 on up.  Take time to shop around and get the best deal.  There are plenty out there.

Happy Fall Everyone!

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