In todays Wool origin series I want to focus on CamelHair.
In the camel family there are 2 types of camels, the dromedaries (1 hump mainly in middle east and north-africa), and the Bactrian camel (2 hump native to the steppes of Central Asia).
Camelhair is produced by the Bactrian camel, which has an soft undercoat and a course outer coat (guard hair), both are strong fibres. I have to add that depending on the breeding method of the
dromedaries, there are some that grow enough hair to also be incorporated (be it on a smaller scale) into fleece production.
The prized fibre is made from the soft undercoat and this is obtained by a process called de-hairing, this process is slow and expensive. The Younger the camels the softer their fleece, that is why the baby hairs are more expensive than from the older camels.
The countries that have a significant production of camelhair are: China, Mongolia, Iran, Afghanistan, Russia, New Zealand, Tibet and Australia.
The camel hair is collected during late spring/ early summer, this is when they naturally start shedding their hairs. The shredded fleece is handpicked in this instance. Another way to harvest this fleece is by combing or sheering.
A camel produces around 8-10 KG’s of fleece per year.
Depending on the colour of the camels their fleece can be White, light cream, darker cream and in some instances even black.
The fibres have similar properties as wool and it keeps you warm in colder weather.
This fleece can accept dye just as well as wool fibre though the majority of time people prefer to use them in a more neutral/ natural state.
Some cute camel young: