Mohair usually refers to a silk-like fabric or yarn made from the hair of the Angora goat. The word “mohair” was adopted into English before 1570 from the Arabic mukhayyar, a type of haircloth, literally ‘choice’, from khayyara, ‘he chose’. Mohair fiber is approximately 25-45µ in diameter. It is one of the oldest textile fibers in use. It is both durable and resilient. It is notable for its high luster and sheen, and is often used in fiber blends to add these qualities to a textile. Mohair also takes dye exceptionally well. Mohair is also warm as it has great insulating properties. It is durable, moisture-wicking, stretch and flame resistant, and crease resistant.
Mohair is composed mostly of keratin, a protein found in the hair, wool, horns and skin of all mammals. While it has scales like wool, the scales are not fully developed, merely indicated. Thus, mohair does not felt like wool does. Mohair increases its diameter with the age of the goat, growing along with the animal. This means fine hair from younger animals is used for finer applications such as clothing, and the thicker hair from older animals is more often used for carpets and heavy fabrics intended for outerwear.
The term mohair is sometimes used to describe a type of material used for the folding roof on convertible cars. In this instance, mohair refers to a form of denim-like canvas. Also, in Poland, mohair berets, which are particularly popular with elderly women, have become a symbol of bigotry and are usually associated with the ultra-Catholic Radio Maryja. Mohair should not be confused with the fur from the angora rabbit, which is called angora wool.
Uses of Mohair
Mohair is used in scarves, suits, sweaters, coats, socks and home furnishing. Mohair fiber is also found in carpets, wall fabrics, craft yarns, and many other fabrics, and may be used as a substitute for fur. Because its texture resembles fine human hair, mohair is often used in making high grade doll wigs or in rooting customized dolls.
Mohair is also used in ‘climbing skins’ for randonnee skiing. The mohair is used in a carpet allowing the skier an appropriate ascension method without sliding downhill.