Tuesday, January 12

More on goats and a little something on bunnies too

Angora comes in both rabbit & goat shapes...
Both goats and rabbits have breeds called Angora, I think this is because they are both originated near Ankara, Turkey.  Why we call the fiber they produce mohair for the goats and angora for the bunnies still remains a mystery.  I am lucky enough to have a good supply of both mohair and angora from my mom's little farm in Upstate New York.

I have been s  l  o  w  l  y  processing the first shearing of Elijah pictured in my last post.  It is really rewarding to go from this:

To this:

There are a few stages in between that don't make for interesting photos so here's a quick rundown of the steps

1. Acquire a beautiful unwashed mohair fleece, keep the fleece in a old pillowcase so the fiber can breathe
2. To wash the fleece I first lay out an old sheet (really old, you will NOT want to sleep on this sheet again)
3. You will need a plastic mesh basket (like you would have in a dorm shower) that fits into a plastic storage bin, pick through the fleece, making sure all locks are laying the same way pick them open & lay in the basket
****the more you pick the locks open the cleaner & shinier they will get***

4.Once your basket is full or opened locks fill the storage bin (or sink) with hot water & a couple squirts of dish soap - 
***I tried Castille soap first & it just didn't get the locks as clean***

5. Push basket of fiber into hot soapy water and let it soak for about an hour
6. Dump the water from the bin which probably looks like a disgusting tea at this point repeat steps 4 & 5 twice more and then continue changing water but stop adding soap until the water in the bin looks drinkable
*** I do not advise actually drinking this water***
7. Since I dye the mohair & it needs to be wet to absorb the dye I dye it at this point.  I put the locks into a crock pot (one dedicated to dying) , turn the heat on low
8. Pour acid my acid dye mixture on top, poking it into the fiber and let it simmer until the dye is exhausted & water in the post is clear.

All that's left after that is to spread it out on a sweater rack to dry and then I have dome what I think of as a "preliminary" carding on my Ashford drum carder.

I plan on eventually carding the mohair into with some of the angora from the aforementioned bunnies.

To be continued...

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