Turning Mohair and Merino Wool into Fine, Quality Fibers
The sheep and goats are maintained in natural grazing systems supplemented with grains and hay relative to seasonal, gestation, lactation, and growth nutritional requirement.
Wool is shorn from sheep once a year, usually in Spring, before lambing. Mohair is shorn from Angora goats twice a year, usually in Spring, before kidding, and early Fall, so they can grow luxurious winter coats. The shearing is done in our shearing facility by a custom shearer who handles our animals with care. The animals are very calm and even get on the wagon voluntarily to come to the shearing shed!
Each fleece is bagged or tied separately and identified at shearing; later it is carefully spread and examined and foreign material (straw, burrs, chaff and matted fibers), stained and low-quality fiber are removed. The fleece is weighed to record individual animal production performance (for selection and breeding management,) and is evaluated and sorted for luster, fineness (softness) and staple length. All fleece can be used in some manufacturing process, even the stained and coarse fiber.
Fleeces are washed (called scouring) to remove dirt and natural oils (called lanolin, which also has important market value.)
Wire brushes are used to comb themohair and wool to align fibers in parallel (called carding.) This may be done by hand or machine. The fiber is then loosely twisted together into long, loose, multiple fiber strands, called roving.
Spinning then twists the roving more tightly, interlocking and binding fibers together to become strong threads or yarn. Different fibers can be spun together to create many different characteristics of color, strength, texture, body, elasticity, thickness, nap, sheen, weight and needed manufacturing qualities. Creative, knowledgeable yarn design can produce blends superior to any single fiber yarn or unique yarns for a particular use.
Yarn can be knitted to make articles like socks, sweaters, and knitted shirts or woven (criss-crossed threads) for blankets, rugs, and fabrics that are cut and sewn together for fine garments such as suits, shirts and dresses.
Natural Plant Dyes
Dyeing can be done anywhere in the process between scouring and the finished product. And mohair is well suited for use with natural dyes, lending its luster and permanent color retention to create uniquely beautiful and durable effects.