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

Saturday, June 6, 2015

New Nigora Pics

 Lou Ann came out and snapped a couple of pictures with her camera.  I think she got some good ones!

Ellie and Mae were one week old Nigora doelings at the time.  They are inseparable right now!  Ellie is the blonde and Mae is the brunette.  I will get a cream colored fiber from the former and probably a soft brown, from the latter.  I will be bringing in a black buckling this year, and from him I expect to see a silvery grey undercoat.

 I am in the process of separating the coarse guard hairs from very soft undercoat of the Nigora type C harvest from this year.  It is very time consuming but the resulting cloud is incredible!  I had sent this years harvest off to be de-haired at a well known mill, but the people at the mill said that the fiber was so fine that they were afraid that I would lose too much to the de-hairing machine.  They wanted to combine it with wool, but I am set on keeping it separate this year so that I can sell it as a blending fiber.
Lots of resting and growing going on right now in the barn.  This next week I will slowly introduce the other members of the flock, one at a time so that Mamma can put them in their place with regards to these new ones,  then by the end of next week, I hope to have them all together during the day, but still separate at night.  then finally full time together.

It is time to decide whether or not I will milk this Mamma.  As with most decisions there are pros and cons to consider.  Kami is a very nervous doe, and I know I would have to be up for a fight.  I'm not sure I am!  However, the brunette doeling Mae is going to be a very good candidate for the milking parlor.  She stands stock still when I am messing with her, closing her little blue eyes and just enjoying the moment and she comes up to me all the time when I am out in the barn.

That is it for the barnyard update, I'll probably check in next week with some new pictures, Tina