Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Nigora Fleece Harvest 2014 / 2015

The harvest of the Nigora fleeces has been done for about a month or 6 weeks, I was unsure exactly how to proceed with them though.  I hadn't found any information on how to wash them, and I was a little afraid to spoil the whole lot.

I ran across someone on Ravelry that raises Cashmere goats, Cashmere Annie, and I contacted her.  She was super friendly and oh so helpful!  I began washing the fleeces, but discovered that unlike Cashmere, Nigora, also known as Cashgora, has a waxy like substance on it, and needs a stronger wash than the Cashmere to get rid of it.  Once the fleece is washed, unlike wool, you have to immediately start fluffing it or it will dry in one big lump.

 I only washed a couple of ounces at a time, because you have to work with it so much, and since I worked out on the porch a stiff breeze would blow the drying fibers away, they are really that fine!  I hope you can see the three different colors of fluff that I have.  The fleece on the lower right has more shine than the other two, does that mean it is the elusive type B, that i have been trying to define for 2 years?
Nigora is the undercoat of the Nigora goat.  When you pluck the fibers in the spring, many of the guard hairs come with it.  You do not want the guard hairs in there, so the guard hairs have got to go!  I began removing guard hairs as soon as some of the fleece was dry.  I worked for about a week every spare moment and a couple of full days.  It isn't unpleasant to do at all really, it is just that after almost a week, I had barely 1 ounce done! 

I began to reevaluate, and I contacted Cashmere Annie once again.  She has a machine that does the guard hair removal for you.  It is a bit pricey, and I have the fleeces packed up and ready to go to her, but I am really having second thoughts.  I don't know what I am going to do,  I'm not in any hurry really, but she does send it back in neat 1oz packages, which would make it easier to sell.  Anyway I am on the fence here, I may take one of the smaller fleeces and try it again, now that it is super clean, it may go quicker.

Stay tuned, this year it was 4 fleeces, next year it may be 9!   As my Dear Husband said last night when I told him I might be picking up another goat wether this week, "What's one more goat!" 

With the arrival of the buckling next month, that will bring my total to 9.  I have 3 females, that can each have twins in the spring.   I come up with a possible 15 fleeces for the following year  (though my friend Karin may be taking a couple of the wethers off my hands soon.)

All this fun on a mere 1.15 acre!

Happy Spinning, Weaving and Knitting, Tina

1 comment:

  1. Such lovely fiber! Have you knit with it yet???