Mohair

The Angora goat produces a long, lustrous white fiber called "mohair." The goat originated in the Angora province of Turkey, where it has been raised for thousands of years. The word mohair stems from the Arabic word for goat's-hair fabric, mukhayyar. In medieval times the fabric was called mockaire.

Mohair varies in length depending on the number of times per year that the goats are sheared. Mohair measuring 4 to 6 inches is sheared twice per year, and 8-to-12-inch mohair fiber is sheared once per year. It grows in uniform locks, but is relatively coarse compared with sheep's wool, making it less comfortable when worn next to the skin. Unlike wool it has no crimp or waviness in the fiber length. When mohair is obtained from Angora goats less than one year old, it is called "kid mohair" and is softer and finer than fiber from adult Angora goats.

Mohair fibers have a circular cross-section, which makes them lustrous to the eye. Mohair is much smoother than wool because of its faint scale structure, making mohair more resistant to dirt than sheep's wool. The fine scales do not allow mohair to be felted. The fiber has microscopic air ducts running through the cells, giving mohair a light, airy quality. Mohair fiber is very strong and has a superior affinity for dyes.

Mohair is used in knitted sweaters, upholstery pile fabrics, summer apparel, linings, coats, and imitation furs. It is a durable, long-lasting fiber. In the twenty-first century, Turkey, Texas, and South Africa provide the majority of mohair fiber for the world market.

See also Angora; Dyeing; Fibers.

Bibliography

Hunter, L. Mohair: A Review of Its Properties, Processing and Applications. West Yorkshire, England: International Mohair Association, 1993.

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Mohair