FYI… Fiber Properties

Image of undyed fiber

fine fibers & yarns – silk & silk blends
studio of artist/author W.J. Johnson


  • Silk is versatile and very comfortable.
  • It absorbs moisture (up to 11% of its weight).
  • Silk is naturally hypoallergenic.
  • It is cool to wear in the summer yet warm to wear in winter.
  • It can be easily dyed.
  • It is the strongest natural fiber and the only natural fiber that is as strong as steel—although it’s abrasion resistance is moderate.
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When blended with other fibers, silk enhances the overall strength and comfort of its partner fiber. Here are the properties of the other fibers that Saga Hill offers in our silk blends…


  • Merino wool is the finest and softest wool available. Merino Wool is much finer than traditional wool making it smooth against your skin and more comfortable to wear.
  • With many more fibres contained in the wool, it traps more tiny air pockets and locks in body heat, making it a super insulator. Merino wool is highly breathable because the individual fibres breathe as well as the fabric, and it wicks moisture away from your body, releasing it into the air. This helps to regulate your temperature keeping you warm in cold weather and cool in hot.
  • The natural anti-microbial properties of Merino wool make it odour resistant. It will absorb up to a third of its weight in water without feeling clammy and retains some of its warmth even when very wet.
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Established over 100 years ago in Australia, the Polwarth origins are a breeding of Saxon Merino rams and Lincoln ewes and take on the positive characteristics of both.
  • 23–25 micron fiber diameter (medium fiber).
  • Dense, strong, white fleece with a 5-7 inch staple length.
  • Retains many Merino characteristics in the fiber feel such as soft handling with good crimp and low prickle factor.
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(Leicester is pronounced "Less-ter".)

BFL is classified as a Longwool breed. It is one of the three Leicester breeds of sheep… the English Leicester Longwool, the Border Leicester, and of course, the Bluefaced Leicester.

  • 24-28 micron fiber diameter (medium fiber).
  • A longwool breed with a staple length of 3-6 inches.
  • Creates high-quality semi-lustre yarns with soft hand, beautiful drape, and excellent dyeing properties.
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  • Alpaca fibers have relatively high elasticity and strength, comparable with those of sheep's wool and other animal fibers.
  • The structure of the alpaca fiber makes it an efficient thermal insulator, useful in different climatic conditions.
  • Alpaca does not felt as readily as sheep's wool or other animal fibers.
  • The alpaca fiber has a structure which gives it a very soft handle, comparable with that of a grade of sheep's wool three or four microns finer.
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  • Angora fiber is finer than either Cashmere or Merino.
  • Angora fiber is hollow, giving it insulating properties. Because it is about seven times warmer than sheep's wool, it is usually blended with other fibers, such as wool or silk.
  • The finest quality yarn should be handspun with high twist to ensure minimum shedding.
  • When angora is blended with silk, its strength is enhanced.
  • Its fiber length varies by rabbit breed.
  • Angora felts easily.
  • It is easily dyed and retains dye longer than wool.
  • Angora is considered a fabric of luxury, from appearance to feel.
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  • A high moisture content allows insulation properties to change with the relative humidity in the air. This makes cashmere wool ideal for wearing in all types of climates.
  • Soft, silky finish and very light in weight.
  • Fiber length is typically fairly short (35mm).
  • Doesn’t stand up to hard wear on account of extremely soft downy finish.
  • Easily dyed.
  • A fabric of luxury, from appearance to feel.
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  • A soft, warm fiber brushed out of the undercoat of a baby camel.
  • Comparable to cashmere in its softness.
  • Has insulating properties that are greater than wool.
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  • Has 3 fiber types, with the softest being the undercoat (down) which is collected when the fur is seasonally shed.
  • Comparable to cashmere and merino wool in its softness.
  • Has insulating properties that are greater than wool.
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  • The bamboo in our Silk/Bamboo blend comes from an extruded, cellulosic fiber (manufactured from seaweed through a chemical process).
  • Bamboo fiber is exceptionally soft and light, almost silky in feel. This makes it breathable and cool to wear. It also absorbs more water than other conventional fibers such as cotton and polyester.
  • Bamboo is very sustainable to grow as it does not require the use of pesticides and grows very quickly in favorable conditions.
  • Bamboo fiber is more antistatic than other types of fabric and also tends to perform better when it comes to odors as it has a natural deodorizing property.
  • Bamboo fiber has a thinness degree and whiteness degree close to normal finely bleached viscose and has a strong durability, stability and tenacity. It withstands abrasion and possesses the qualities that make it perfect to spin.
  • Bamboo is actually a grass. Unlike a tree, which can take decades to grow to maturity, bamboo is ready to harvest within 4 to 5 years. To make bamboo fiber, bamboo is heavily pulped until it separates into long, thin component threads of fiber, which can be spun and dyed.
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When Flax is spun, it is called Linen.

  • Flax has a comparatively long fiber length.
  • Flax is renowned for its durability and long life. The tensile strength of linen thread is twice as high as that of cotton and three times that of wool.
  • Flax possesses rare bacteriological properties. It rejects dirt and is resistant to fungus and bacteria, therefore it has been found to be an effective barrier to some diseases. According to medical studies conducted by Japanese researchers, bed-ridden patients do not develop bedsores where linen bed sheets are used.
  • Flax does not cause allergic reactions and is helpful in treating a number of allergic disorders.
  • Silica present in the flax fiber protects linen against rotting—the mummies of Egyptian Pharaohs preserved to the present day are wrapped in the finest linen cloth.
  • Flax is highly hygroscopic as it is capable to rapidly absorb and yield moisture. Linen cloth can absorb as much as 20% of its dry weight. That explains why linen cloth always feels fresh and cool.
  • Flax possesses high air permeability and heat conductivity properties. Heat conductivity of linen is five times as high as that of wool and 19 times as that of silk. In hot weather, those dressed in linen clothes are found to show a skin temperature 3°–4°C below that of their cotton-wearing friends. According to some studies, a person wearing linen clothes perspires 1.5 times less than when dressed in cotton clothes and 2 times less than when dressed in viscose clothes. In cold weather, linen is an ideal warmth-keeper due to its ability to effectively conduct heat.
  • The more a linen is washed the softer and smoother it becomes. It has a smooth surface, mat luster, and feels pleasant to the touch.
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