For decades, cashmere has been my go-to sweater fabric for drape, hand, and longevity. My classic cashmere (some from the 1940s) has survived moths and machine washing — and come through with grace, style and not a bobble in sight.

But lately, even 100% cashmere pills like crazy. Last year’s purchases needed the sweater comb after a few wears. This year, the items are pilling on the racks before even escaping the store. Has anyone else noticed this, or am I ridiculously picky?

I’ve tried many expensive brands and the problem seems universal. I’m starting to wonder if it starts at the source: Perhaps cashmere producers have engineered a more productive breed of goat to meet higher demand?

Meanwhile, wool seems to be evolving in a brilliant way. I’ll be keeping my eye out for humane friendly mérinos — and would love some quality recommendations if you have any.