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A skein of Cashair
Jaeger Cashair once knitted up
click each image to enlarge

Yarn Profile: Jaeger Cashair

First Impressions
Note: Jaeger discontinued Cashair in spring 2005. We mourn the loss of this fine yarn.

Warning: If you love luxurious yarns and have a shaky willpower or limited budget, you may not want to read any further. Perhaps your refrigerator needs cleaning, or a houseplant needs repotting?

Cashair is a new luxury yarn from Jaeger composed of 65% cashmere and 35% merino. The fibers are blended together and then knitted into a plush, lofty tube of yarn. It is by all accounts the softest, most luxurious yarn of its gauge and type that I have yet to review. Unfortunately, at $19.95 per 51-yard skein, it is also one of the most expensive.

Cashair colors are limited to eight muted shades of tan, pink, blue, grey, brown, and deep green. For this review, I used Gull (074).

Knitting Up
I consider Cashair like a fine wine -- it should be sipped slowly and thoughtfully, every moment savored to its deepest potential. Unfortunately, left to its own devices Cashair knits up with lightning speed and ease.

If you don't watch it, you'll be done with one skein before you know it. And at almost $20 per skein, that's a pretty fast bang for your buck.

Knitting by touch alone was a breeze. I only encountered one snag during all my swatching. A gentle tug pulled the snag back into place perfectly.

My swatches had the consistency of supersoft yeasted bread dough. Stitches were perfectly even, swatches square without a hint of bias.

Blocking / Washing
My thick swatches took quite a dousing before they were fully saturated with water. I could detect no bleeding or fading, although the yarn's muted color could have been a factor.

The swatches retained perfect shape, fiber blooming to form a cohesive knitted fabric that was even more flat, smooth, and plush than its un-washed counterparts. There was no change in gauge whatsoever.

Wearing
Cashmere is a luxury fiber that should be treated accordingly. Even with the addition of merino, and even in its knitted tube composition, the yarn easily snapped with a modest tug.

With great angst, I began to put my beautiful, pristine swatches through their paces. A fair amount of agitation produced tiny, easily removed pills, but otherwise the swatches remained intact. The more friction I applied, the more the surface softened. But the pills still remained small and infrequent.

I was pleased to see that the swatches did not lose their shape, body, or overall attractiveness even after a significant amount of thrashing. If you're going to spend this much on a garment, it's nice to know it'll last a while.

Cashair has more bulk than weight, meaning that a Cashair garment will have only medium drape. Seed-style stitchwork might be too bulky, although the yarn does illustrate cables beautifully. (Buyer beware, elaborate stitchwork requires more yarn than stockinette.)

Even those with sensitive skin will be able to enjoy Cashair -- it has no scratch in it whatsoever.

Conclusion
Now that I've sold you on Cashair, it's time for the bad news. A basic medium women's sweater in Cashair may run you 18 to 20 skeins, which -- at $19.95 a skein -- is a fairly daunting investment.

Fortunately, the yarn is ideally suited for many other items besides sweaters. Jaeger's JB22 pattern leaflet features several intriguing hat and scarf patterns, as well as some sweaters. Some of the scarves are sized more generously than most people's budgets permit, but you can always reduce the length and width to conserve yarn.

Jaeger also provides a simple oversized turtleneck pattern -- called Christie -- that I suspect would feel as close to heaven as one can get here on earth. But for the time being, I plan to take my test swatches and sew them into a small pillow that I can pull out and touch any time I need a little comfort or reassurance.

 
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