Main advantages of hand-made products:
Hand-made products are usually much warmer than the factory-made ones.
If you compare products from the same line. Of course, a dense shawl produced at a factory will be warmer than a hand-made lacy shawl. But if you compare two dense shawls or two lacy shawls, then a hand-made variant will be warmer.
You can find two hand-made shawls that might look similar, but they'll never be identical!
Natural and eco-friendly composition.
The high content of goat down (usually not less than 80%) is a distinctive feature of hand-made downy products. Knitters choose either cotton or natural silk thread as a base for making downy yarn. Downy hair gets woven onto this thread and stays there.
This yarn is soft, delicate and pleasant to touch.
A craftswoman spins downy yarn by hand and doesn't let the base thread twist. Thin and soft yarn is very pliable, it is easy to work with and create a product of nice texture. A shawl gets a bit fluffy already in the knitting process, when it interacts with knitter's hands. A craftswoman needs to be in a calm and inspired state in order to make good yarn and then knit a nice shawl. Each hand-made shawl keeps a bit of love and soul of its creator. The result is a very soft, warm and fluffy shawl that will reliably serve you throughout all your long life. And, most likely, will become a family treasure passed from mother to daughter, just the way old traditions required.
Main disadvantages of hand-made products:
They might shed fluff..
At first, fluff might stay on clothing. Constant wear makes this effect disappear very quickly.
The pattern of a shawl cannot be seen as clearly as that of a factory-produced item..
This is due to the fact that hand-made items are much fluffier than their factory-produced counterparts. Over time, the layer of fluff becomes so thick that the product pattern becomes difficult to see. The shawl, however, becomes only warmer.
The cost is sometimes higher than that of similar factory products..
And this is well-justified. Manual labor has always been valued above machine work. Just think - a knitter might spend up to 8 weeks on making a single downy shawl; 8 weeks of effort, time, and skills. Each shawl has a bit of her soul in it. Such product cannot be cheap.
Main advantages of factory-made products:
Factory-made shawls preserve the clarity of their patterns virtually for the whole period of their service. The layer of fluff covering such products is almost absent, thus making these shawls look more pleasing in terms of aesthetics. Due to the fact that ornamental patterns of almost all factory products are very intricate and developed by professional technologists, such items appeal to the eye and bring aesthetic pleasure.
Factory-made shawls and scarves are most often cheaper than hand-made ones: they are an example of a mass product, and their production is much cheaper than the creation of unique hand-made items.
They shed very little fluff (almost none)..
This is due to the yarn production technology, as well as to specific downy thread composition. This downy thread is twisted by machines, it is more rigid and holds goat's hairs better. At first, some shedding of the so-called "dead" down might appear, together with small technological waste that would fall out of the product and would not appear in the future.
Main disadvantages of factory-made products:
All factory-made shawls are the result of machine work; they are all knitted according to certain templates. One should note that these templates were developed by professionals and correspond to the canons of composition accepted for true Orenburg downy shawls. But there is no guarantee that you won't meet someone wearing the same shawl.
Almost all factory products cannot compare to their hand-made peers in terms of down content. Besides, factory products often use artificial synthetic materials as a base thread - for example, viscose and polyacrylic (abbreviated PA). It is worth noting that expensive factory products might use silk thread as a base, but, unfortunately, the percentage of down in their composition usually doesn't exceed 60% (compared to 80% of down in hand-made shawls).
They are rougher than hand-made items.
This is due to the fact that factory-made shawls are manufactured from machine-spun yarn. Therefore, the tension of a thread is controlled not by a human hand, but by a soulless machine. Then this yarn is sent to other machines that knit a product out of it. One has to understand that here we are not talking about the quality of factory-made shawls - we are only comparing them to hand-made ones. Factory-made downy shawls are more aesthetically pleasing and delicate than other kinds of shawls manufactured by machines.
Not as warm as hand-made items..
Factory-made products are definitely warm, because they contain goat's hair that gives Orenburg downy shawls their legendary properties. But most hand-made items of the same type are much warmer than similar factory products. It's all about the percentage of down content in the products, the way downy thread is spun, and the shawl production technology.
We tried to give a fair portrayal of the main differences, pros and cons of hand-made and factory-produced shawls. Which shawl to choose is up to you. Each kind has its own clear advantages, yet it has no actual disadvantages - because all the above-listed "flaws" are seen only in the shawls' relation to each other. Any Orenburg downy shawl will be several times warmer, more natural, more environmentally friendly and more beautiful than any modern product made from acrylic and other synthetic fibers. Orenburg downy shawls are the impressive synthesis of legendary goat down, age-old traditions and skilled craftsmanship.