In addition to wool and silk, a number of specialty fibers are obtained from animals. Animal Fibers are textile fibers obtained from animals. They are basically hair or fur or skin or secretions of animals.In most cases, animal fibers are similar to each other. They grow in two principal coats: the shiny and stiff outer coat or hair; and the undergrowth or fur. Hair forms a protective shield around the animal’s body against the elements; fur is closer to the skin and consists of shorter fibers than the hair that acts as insulation against heat or cold.Fabrics containing specialty fibers are expensive because of the difficulties in obtaining the fibers, and the amount of processing required to prepare the fibers for use. Unlimited combinations of specialty fibers with wool are possible. Specialty fibers may be used to add softness or luster to fabrics. They also enhance the insulating properties of blended fabrics.Animal fibers are natural fibers that consist largely of certain proteins. Examples include silk, hair/fur (including wool) and feathers. Alpaca fiber and mohair from Angora goats are very popular.
The animals are raised as fiber animals. Sheep, camel, goat, and rabbit are the commonly used animals for providing animal fibers which are very soft in texture; horse, cows and pigs give straight fibers which are less soft.The coarse, longer hairs, hairs of medium thickness and the undercoat are segregated, cleaned and they are sold as luxury fibers.
These fibers are then woven or knitted or felted to form beautiful Animal fabric and ultimately made into soft and warm jackets, ponchos, blazers, wraps, shawls, coats and other clothing and accessories. Carpets, rugs and blankets are made with rougher fibers.The animal fibers are of many kinds and are differentiated according to the animal it is taken from, their chemical structures, the way they are obtained and the fiber length. They are all made up of protein.
Production of Mink Fibres
Minks a carnivorous mammals in the weasel family native to North America. Their silky fur has kept people warm since at least the 11th century. “A mink coat is the coat to many women—and to growing numbers of men,” says Fur Commission USA, the United States’ primary fur trade organization. Mink are aggressive animals and must be handled with care. They bite readily and are handled with thick, leather mitts. Wild mink spend up to 80% of their time in their dens, sleeping, grooming, and eating food they have carried home.”
The mink re-grow their fleece about 3 times a year. To gather the fleece the farmers handle the mink with heavy gloves because minks are very aggressive animals. They cut the fibers by hand. Mink hairs are rather short, but very thick and soft.The mink fibre is cut and/or combed from live animals, like angora fibre from rabbits or cashmere from goats. The mink fiber is cut and combed from live animals and the animal is not harmed in the process. For the animal, it probably feels like brushing (similar to regular brushing for cats) or a gentle massage.
Adult minks yield about 25 g of fibre. There is a high percentage of fibre loss during the carding process etc. so it takes the fibre from two or three adult minks to spin a typical 50 g ball of mink yarn.
“The mink and cashmere fibres are woolen spun (a spinning technique where the fibres go every which way) leveraging the fibres’ natural lightweight insulating properties by trapping more air and creating a yarn with a signature ‘halo’ that is exceedingly lightweight, soft and warm – a yarn you want to pet.”The mink are brushed twice a year to harvest their treasure of superfine down. Mink fibres are unparalleled for their luster, softness and desirability.
This fiber is 100% mink fur which has been combed and is in top form. It is very soft at 15 microns. Best suited for lighter wear such as hats or scarves rather than mittens and sweaters. Or it can be blended with another fibre to give it more strength. It will work best spun into a two or more ply yarn. As it is combed there isn’t guard hair present and the fibre is longer than most mink you will find on the market making it a bit easier to spin.
You are buying 28 grams (1 ounce) in this listing. This is a natural light brown combed top form. Staple length is about 30mm (1.18 inches). It is available in creamy off white in another listing. The last photo shows both colours together.
(I also hand spin and sell this – look in other listings for some of the yarn)
To get the nicest fibre, the mink need to be well cared for. By shearing and de-hairing, or combing the fibre, this makes the fibre a renewable resource just like wool and angora rabbit fibre. Thus you can wear mink without harming the animal.
Properties of Mink Fibres
Mink hairs are short and thick, but very soft. Yarns made of mink are beautiful, extremely soft, and very delicate – mink fiber must be spun with another, stronger fiber such as wool or silk, or, if it is 100% Mink – we would suggest to combine the mink with another yarn to obtain enough strength in the finished project.
Yarns made of 100 % mink are available, but not practical. The short and delicate fibres break down easily in 100% yarns. Most mink yarns are a blend of mostly mink with some wool, silk or cashmere added to provide strength. A typical mink yarn will be about 70% mink.The mink yarns are very beautiful and soft. They have a unique feel that is unlike other yarns.
The natural colour of mink’s fur is a glossy dark brown. This is the colour most people associate with mink. Mink that are commercially farmed can have other colours. By selectively breeding the mink, lighter brown colours can be achieved, as well as pure white and black.
Run your hands through the fur on the outside of the coat. The fur should be soft and silky whether you rub with or against the grain. There should be two distinct layers of fur: the longer guard hairs and the shorter, thicker underfur. If the fur is spiky or in tufts, then it is not a good quality mink.
The mink fiber has a high value in worsted industry. The basic properties of the mink fibre are similar to the cashmere, while the warmth of the mink fibre is more superior to the cashmere. Because of the short length and high static, the spinning performance of mink fibre is poor. Considering all of these reasons, we take polyamide, tencel and viscose to blend with the mink fibre.
The mink fibres are gathered when the mink naturally sheds its fur and are later mixed with cashmere fibres to obtain a superbly soft and fine fabric, eventually treated with vegetable thistles to give the cloth the “sable effect” that adds sparkle and three-dimensionality to the surface.
Uses of Mink Fibres
Knittable mink fur yarn is produced by combining narrow strips of mink fur with silk or cotton yarn. Fur yarn is now used in myriad techniques including crocheting, weaving and knitting to produce soft, cozy apparel.
Lace Mint scarf are very popular. As for brands for mink yarn, I found a few. Great Northern Yarns(now MinkYarn.com) says it was the first company to bring mink yarn to market. Lotus Yarns makes a few varieties from fingering weight to aran/heavy worsted and from 100% mink to various blends. There iss also a company called Great Yarns! that sell their mink as Pure Elegance. Jade Sapphire also makes 100% mink and mink/cashmere blended yarns.
Blanket is made out of an exclusive Lanificio Colombo fabric, a precious mix of cashmere and mink fur and it comes in brown mélange. High technological manufacturing processes allow to combine cashmere with mink fibres, that are traditionally considered suitable only for fur clothing or accessories.
Dr. N. N. MAHAPATRA
SHREE PUSHKAR CHEMICALS & FERTILISERS LTD