I recently came across a tidbit of info that finally made it clear to me why I can't afford a complete cashmere wardrobe.
Cashmere yarn is spun from the softest underbelly hair combed from Cashmere goats, bless their hearts, and one Cashmere goat can only grow about 4 ounces of this luscious fiber per year. On average, it takes about 32 ounces of fiber, or eight goats, to produce one medium-sized adult sweater.
Just take a second and let that sink in.
Eight goats, lovingly fed, watered, tended, and combed. For a whole year. For ONE sweater! To be more realistic, I calculate a sweater for me would take, kindly estimated, say, twelve animals. Well, no wonder!! And no, I don't have the time, land or unique goat whispering skills to tend my own herd. Don't think I hadn't thought of that... briefly.
This is why I will be ever and eternally grateful for the dedicated people out there who have taken it upon themselves to retrieve Cashmere items no longer wearable, and painstakingly deconstructed these items in order to reclaim perfectly wonderful yarn for reuse. The task is not for the faint of heart, as any yarn addict will know, and the effort, IMHO, deserves our highest praise and our cash whenever possible.
Because it seems, in fact, that the word about how wonderful Cashmere is has been getting around. An increasing worldwide demand for very soft clothing is causing no small overgrazing problem in China, where the majority of Cashmere goats live. Please know that in no way do I begrudge any goatherding family its fair share of the economic pie. My philosophy is that all humans deserve the opportunity to make an honest living and provide for their families. However, I also know that it'd take a heck of lot of goats to supply anywhere near the full demand for this fiber. I mean, have you groped a hank of Cashmere lately, people?!
SO. Here's what I do, and what I hope to inspire you to do, when you have a project for which only Cashmere fits the bill. Look around in your local yarn store and/or online, and purchase reclaimed yarn. I'd consider it a personal favor, too, if you'd consider the distance the yarn might have to travel using fossil fuels to get to you and buy from as close a location as possible. Though still dear in price, you will be doing a small business, yourself and the Earth a world of good.