Friday, April 10, 2015

Rooing

It has been pouring down rain here all day!  It is one of the many signs of spring around here, along with daffodils, tulips and dogwood trees in bloom.  For the Farmstead Studio this marks the first spring with a Nigora goat fiber harvest.  What I harvested last year wasn't mine to keep, but this year I have 3 full coats to roo.  The coat that I harvest from the Nigora goats is really their winter insulation, that sheds out like your family dog does.  I try to time my rooing, which is another name for plucking just right.  I have to wait until the fiber has let loose from the skin, but I want to harvest before the guard hairs start to let go.  I want as few guard hairs as possible in my fiber!

The first one to be ready a couple of weeks ago was my littlest one, Bert, my all white nigora wether.  I was taken a little by surprise at how early he was ready, and I didn't have my camera with me in the barn that day.  I got just over 5 ounces of fiber from him, I was very pleased with that!

  This week it was Kami's turn, I had combed her out last year, and she was definitely not happy with the situation!  She is not friendly like the boys are, and she may or may not have tried to bite me!  This year, I decided to try something different, I decided to roo instead of comb.

The first day, we worked on it a couple of hours, she was not happy at all!  (I had put her in the Stanchion, which holds her by the head and makes all things so much easier!)  She danced this way and she danced that way, and she fussed and fumed!  However, I really liked the fiber I was getting!  When you brush or comb out the fiber, it is all jumbled up  on the comb, and hard to distinguish one lock from another.
 With rooing however, I ended up with clumps of the most luxurious fiber you have ever seen!  What you can see if you biggify these pictures is the very fine downy fibers I want, in my hand and the guard hairs I don't want left on the animal.
After a couple of hours of rooing, it was time to go fix dinner and give poor Kami a break.  Next afternoon, I began again, determined to finish her that afternoon.  I got Kami back in the Stanchion, with a little bit of resistance on her part, but once there she stood really still, not once did she side step!  At one point during the two hours that it took to complete the task, she even began to bring up her cud to give it a good chew!  I was amazed!  The only thing I can think of is that she realized that life without that fleece was going to be a whole lot more comfortable!  We will see if that attitude holds over for next year. In all I think it took between 4 and 5 hours to finish the job and I got over 6 ounces of fiber!  That is a lot for this type of fiber!

In the next week or two, the rest of her guard hair fleece will shed out and be replaced with the new stuff, by fall you will be able to see the new downy fibers I love peeking their way through the guard hairs until all you can see is that lovely cloud of softness.

I have one more left to roo, and that would be Bert, the same little goat that gave me a surprise harvest last fall.  His coat grew out just as wonderful as ever, but I think that may mean he will be a late shed this time around.

Be sure to enlarge the pictures, especially the first one to get an idea of the differences in the fine fleece and the guard hairs.

Until next time, Happy Spinning, Knitting and Weaving, Tina