Picture us, the editorial team at Shinbone Alley, passing around the most luxuriously soft scarves we’ve ever felt and asking each other, “How can we possibly describe how soft these are on our website?” Not only that, but how can we explain what goes into making these scarves so our shoppers appreciate the value they get with each purchase?
“You’re the wordsmiths,” our boss told us. “Figure it out.”
So, here we go — join us on the journey that begins high in the mountains of the Himalayas, travels through the nomadic herding villages, and makes its way to the looms of master weavers, fabric dyers, and incredible artisans that create the super-soft, luxurious scarves in this featured collection from “From The Road,” and its founder Susan Easton.
Let’s start with the Chyangra goat, who generously supplies the cashmere that is ethically sourced from 3,000 meters above sea level in the Himalayas.
How Cashmere is Harvested (and Why It So Expensive)
Cashmere comes from goats, and the quality depends on where the goats live and how the fibers are sourced. We are committed to supporting artisans that ethically source materials from all over the world.
For example, the finest, softest cashmere comes from the Chyangra goat, which dwells more than 3,000 meters (1.86 miles) above sea level in the Himalayan Mountains in Nepal. The locals collect the rare fiber from the goats when they naturally shed in the spring; the softest fibers come from the neck and underbelly. Shearers run a fine comb through the goats’ coats, and then it is hand sorted to remove coarse hairs before it is spun into fine strands that will be woven into scarves, wraps and other luxurious items.
Susan Easton, who founded the From The Road brand, seeks materials and products that honor traditional hand-made techniques, such as the weeklong process and 16,000 strands of hand-spun fibers it takes to create one of their scarves.
Heavenly Soft Cashmere Scarves
- ‘Ardra’ 100% cashmere scarf (3 colors)
- ‘Sava’ two-tone cashmere-merino wool blend scarf (2 color combinations available)
- ‘Yana’ over-washed cashmere-merino blend scarf (4 colors)
- ‘Parvana’ ombre scarf (2 options)
- ‘Rakta’ scarf of handspun wool and cotton
- ‘Nikara’ linen gauze scarf (2 options)
- ‘Sevana’ tri-panel scarf (2 options)
- ‘Tanta’ silk-cashmere blend scarf
- ‘Kavas’ scarf in cashmere-linen blend (2 colors)
- ‘Vara’ 100% merino wool scarf
- ‘Tanu’ 100% linen scarf (2 choices)
- ‘Vayu’ 100% cashmere scarf (2 choices)
Dyeing and Weaving Cashmere and Wool
Local weavers in the Himalayas follow a centuries-old natural dyeing process that uses colors from earth, rather than chemicals from a laboratory. They use items from nature — plants, herbs, shells — to create vividly colored fabrics and textiles, which Easton uses then to create her scarves and items for the home.
The result is beautifully dyed fabrics that preserve the softness of the cashmere and wool fabrics. The only way we can describe it: “heavenly soft.” When you wrap a scarf around your shoulders, the cashmere is so lightweight yet warm, you won’t want to take it off.
We also offer a collection of gifts for the home that follow the same hand-woven and hand-dyed processes to deliver super soft pillows and throws that keep you warm and cozy.
Soft Cashmere & Wool Pillows & Throws
- Merino wool pillow (4 colors) from Kyrgyzstan
- ‘Natha’ 100% cashmere wrap and throw
- Khullu (yak hair) striped wrap/throw
- ‘Padra’ 100% cashmere wrap/throw from Tibet
- ‘Asama’ cashmere-wool blend wrap/throw
- ‘Turi’ cashmere-wool-cotton blend wrap/throw
Finding High Quality Scarves, Wraps and Throws
We “wordsmiths” hope we’ve taught you a little about cashmere, wool and the traditional shearing, dyeing and weaving techniques that started 3,000 meters above Nepal and landed on our shelves, waiting to find their home with you or the scarf-lover in your life.
The scarves, pillows and throws are perfect gifts for any occasion — bridal shower, wedding, birthday, Christmas or just because. And you or whoever you give these to will appreciate the heritage techniques that are used to make these products. Shinbone Alley selected this collection because the weavers, dyers, and artisans use ancient techniques that are in danger of disappearing.
About the Artisan
Susan Easton is the founder of the home and fashion brand From The Road, which sources products from craftspeople all over the world. They collaborate with makers who use techniques that are slowly becoming obsolete and replaced by mass production and machines. Easton travels the world herself to meet the people who create the fabrics that she uses in her products. She chronicles her travels in her blog From The Road.