The raw material....
A single fleece consists of individual strands of mohair grouped together into staples that look like ringlets. The individual hairs are very fine in a kid, but gradually become coarser as the animal gets older. The staples also become less curly as the goat ages.
Fine, lacey garments that are worn next to the skin are therefore best made from kid mohair, whilst socks and sweaters can be made from young adult goats.
Most spinners prefer to work with clean fibre. Gentle washing with warm, soapy water, followed by rinsing and drying naturally in fresh air, brings out the shine and softness. Then it can be combed or carded to line up all the hairs in the same direction before spinning.
Bucks, does, yearlings, kids - which goats produce the best fleece?
Some people start learning to spin using a simple drop spindle, and even this method allows a comparison of different fleece qualities. Interesting textures can be achieved by blending the mohair with other fibres, such as wool, alpaca, or silk, either during the carding process or spinning itself. Balls of different fibres can be plied together to form multi-coloured yarn, or a rainbow effect can be achieved during the dyeing process.
Mohair has outstanding dyeing properties, and the fleece can be dyed either before spinning or afterwards.
The possibilities are endless....
These pictures show some of the yarns that W & W members have produced from the fleeces of their own angora goats.